Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Friday, March 23, 2012

Getting to Know People

     For the last 2 nights, I was at a resort in Chicago where I was doing some business.  While it was a nice place and the service was good, I had a few problems with my room.  When I first checked in, the room felt uncomfortably warm.  I noticed that the thermostat said it was 79 degrees.  Chicago was in the midst of a strange warm stretch (in the 80's in March!), and I don't think the heat had been turned off in the room.  I put on the AC and went out to dinner.  When I returned, the temperature was up to 80, so I called the front desk to get some help.  They sent an engineer named Doug to look into it and he was able to reset the compressor to get things working.
     Well, the next day I noticed that the toilet kept making noises every few minutes as if it kept leaking and refilling itself.  To be more accurate, I noticed it the first day but kept hoping it would stop on its own.  When it didn't, it was once again time for Doug to come to the rescue.  As he was replacing the flapper inside the tank, I started to ask him some questions.  I came to learn about his family in Ohio, about his work with Brunswick bowling alleys maintaining their mechanical equipment over a several state region, about his second job doing quality control at an eyeglass company.  I learned how, as a child, he loved to take things apart to see how they were put together.  He seemed pleased that someone would take a personal interest in him and he was glad to talk.
     While some people are more extroverted and are naturally quick to engage strangers,  I'm not.  I'm usually much more comfortable being in my own little world, and while I'm perfectly cordial to strangers, I'm not likely to be curious and interested enough in them to spend the time getting to know them better.  This is particularly true with workers like Doug.  It's an area of kindness of which I'm trying to be more conscious.

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