All too often we hear about how awful the service is at that corner store down the road, or how crappy the new mailperson is because they didn't bundle the mail properly. The guys that come with the recycling truck missed a couple of bottles, or the city workers are making your commute worse because they still haven't finished the road work. We hear these complaints all the time. Oftentimes we are the ones doing the complaining.
But how often do we commend those same support staff and labour workers? Do we ever sit back and think about the days that they have without any thanks? Come to think of it, do we ever thank those people for the services they provide or the work that they do?
Ã‚Â After weeks and months of reading rants about various services and support people around town on a local website, I was beginning to get discouraged. I worried that we as a society had lost our ability to be grateful, and forgiving even. Grateful for what these people do, forgiving for the odd time that a mistake is made or something takes too long. Then, I had a conversation with a friend about an encounter she had with a lovely bus driver, and it made me so very happy.
Seems this particular friend was having a rough morning with her son who, being close in age to my own spawn, was likely pushing every button she had as she was endeavouring to get them both out the door, fully dressed, at least half way fed and with some semblance of order. This can be particularly hard with a child that age, and when struggling out in public, there is always someone that is giving you "that look" and making you feel lower than the smallest amoeba. Thus, dealing with said hellion becomes harder and you pray for a big black hole to open up in front of you or for a friendly person to just offer the smallest of smiles and send telepathic messages to you saying "It's ok, really!"
On this morning in question, my lovely friend managed to get herself, her school books and her child to a bus stop with her sanity still somewhat intact. Bus arrived, friend and child hop on and the bus driver was one of the regular ones. The lovely man offered her a smile and a friendly comment. Perhaps this is because she bribed him with chocolate, but regardless, he made her feel a tad bit better. After being bribed with said chocolate, he offered a good luck message and they carried on. Suddenly, the struggles with the child, the upcoming classes and the worries of the morning don't appear quite so large on the stress radar. All because one person, one our city's support staff (for lack of a better description), took a moment to smile.
I can't help but wonder if perhaps more people might have these pleasant exchanges if we all took a moment to think about what the other person's story is. What are they going through? What are they having to deal with in their own lives right now?
So, this is a shout out to Stan, the bus driver who made my friend's day that little bit better.
This is a shout out to the support staff of Victoria, B.C. for all you do to help this city run better, no matter where you work or what you do.
Thursday, January 17, 2008