If you knew you could make someone’s day, would you do it?
I’m not even talking about someone you know. It could be a complete stranger – someone you will meet once and then never see again. Would you still do it?
It’s really easy. All you have to do is the opposite of what they’re expecting.
I went through the Taco Bell drive-thru earlier today and, upon reaching the menu/speaker, I was greeted with this – “How are you?” I know, no big deal. Every Taco Bell employee asks this question when you pull up. What usually happens, though, is I reply by saying, “I’m fine, how are you?” and receive an answer that consists of silence followed by “Order when you’re ready.”
Today, the answer I got was a real one. I actually laughed a little bit because I was so surprised. Upon hearing this, I immediately knew who was on the other end. It was the manager of another Taco Bell in the area (Front St, Harrisburg, if you’re familiar) who had been transferred (to the Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg). He had stuck out in my mind previously because he seemed to actually give a crap about the people on the other end of the speaker. And now here he was, at a completely different store and still the only Taco Bell employee I’ve ever met who has answered the question, “How are you?”
After this, I went to Target to pick up a few items (a new whiteboard, printer ink amongst other things). I chose to forego the use of a cart on this trip, since I was only picking up a few things. After finding everything, it was clear I should have used a cart. I walked up to the checkout and heaved my items onto the belt, looking quite dumb in the process. “In hindsight, a cart would have been a really good idea,” I said. The checkout girl, who was looking somewhat bored, laughed and agreed. From then on, she seemed a bit more lifted, and all it required was a little bit of me picking on myself.
I know work and other routine tasks can seem a little bit monotonous, but they don’t have to be. Imagine that every single person you interact with is having a bad day and it’s your job to cheer them up. Even if they don’t make it obvious, you are probably making their day just a little bit better.