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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Starbucks (almost) Always Works

     When I left home earlier this week I had intended to bring a few of my gift cards with me.  As you may remember, over the past few months I've bought a handful of $5 gift cards to Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, and McDonalds.  These come in very handy for spur-of-the-moment decisions to make someone's day.  As it turns out, I forgot to grab them out of my car where I usually keep them, so I'm traveling "naked."  
     When I arrived back at O'hare today, I noticed a Starbucks near the baggage claim area, so I decided to pick up 2 gift cards I could have at my disposal.  I noticed that I felt like a little kid!  I had liquid gold in my hands and unlimited possibilities of people to give one to.  I intended to give a gift card to a worker I saw sweeping the floor in the men's room at the airport, but he disappeared before I had the chance to give him one.  Not to be discouraged, I chose to give one to a very friendly man who was working the exit booth at the car rental agency - you know, the guy who checks your documentation before you leave.  Anyway, he had an interesting first name so I chatted with him about it and then handed him the gift card, telling him to enjoy a coffee on me.  He smiled broadly and thanked me, sharing that he had a good friend who worked at a Starbucks.
     One other observation from the last few days:  I've noticed that the vast majority of people traveling through the airports seem to be reasonably happy, and so many have been genuinely kind.  Whenever I've seen someone struggle with a bag, several people have quickly offered to help.  I've seen lots of people move seats on buses to make it easier for other passengers.  If someone drops something, strangers are quick to pick it up for them.  Yesterday through several flight delays due to mechanical issues, most people seemed much more patient and understanding than I would have expected.  I don't honestly know whether people are becoming friendlier or I'm just tuning in to it more, but it's a good thing nonetheless.

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