Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Little Nice Goes A Long Way

My coworker came into my office once expressing concern for a tornado that had hit a remote town in our part of the county. She worried, "I hope Jim’s son is okay." I did not know a Jim. She thought it was very rude of me not to know that "Jim" was the name of our UPS delivery person who we saw on a daily basis. It had never occurred to me to learn the man’s name; I just smile politely, and sign for packages so as not to delay his progress. I expressed surprise that she knew not only the man’s name, but also his son. She said that she had never met his son, did not know Jim outside of work, but at some point in the distant past, she remembered a mention of a son who lived in that tiny town 60 miles away. It was quite impossible for her to work and so she lingered near the mailroom on the watch for the UPS man, her vigil for the man’s son’s well-being had been her foremost concern since first she heard the weather report. All this angst for a man she had never met, and yet it was nothing to her that corporate was breathing down our necks, expecting results, checking in our progress on a pressing matter for which we were drawing wages. We definitely have a different style of prioritizing. I had often said that while she had no place in our line of work, she would make a brilliant door greeter at Walmart. I am convinced that within 6 months she would know every customer, their employer, and their family lineage.

As bewildered as I was by the unnecessary gesture, I did learn that while the UPS man did like to be free to go on his way after delivering our shipment, he also appreciated the fact that I learned and used his name. I think we got better service, and got moved to an earlier slot on the route as a result of being shown extraordinary personal interest. It worked on the FedEx guy too when our company switched services. Delivery people also like to be offered bottled water on hot days.


  1. Of course it's true! Everyone feels that what ever they is the most important part of the process! Most of the people r self-centered in their mind ... So, these people may seem abit out of the range of our daily routine jobs ... but we are their most important part of the job!

  2. You know a simplest kind gesture reaps appreciation and kind favors in return ;)

    ness here...


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