Nothing But Blue Skies: Bringing Balance to our Moods
As I entered the store, drizzles pelted my head. An all encompassing grey sky foretold hours of wetness. When I exited the store, less than thirty minutes later, the sky was brilliant blue with a dusting of soft white clouds. Not a rain cloud in sight. I marveled, "I guess it just needed to get it out of its system."
I have moments like that. When life is too much to bear, when I just want to be left alone for a few minutes to have a good cry - or scream. Then I can carry on. But sometimes instead of getting it out of my system, I walk around stormy for days.
My last errand of the day was a routine stop at Sonic. I love that place. So much so that most of the workers are familiar with me and greet me warmly. Not today. The lady who waited on me was new. She served me only once before. She was lackluster that day, too: she doesn't make eye contact and lacks any sign of enthusiasm. She seems overwhelmed, confused and hurried.
Maybe the multitasking of the drive-thru window is sensory overload for her. Perhaps she is technologically impaired - I sympathize. Whatever the reason, a simple order is a complex task for this woman. The customer behind me ordered a Sprite. The employee had to come back on the intercom three times to process this information. Hearing wasn't the problem, it was a comprehension issue.
The line really wasn't that long - only three cars in front of me. But overwhelmed and confused added up to slow as molasses, which is probably why she is so hurried...always feeling like she is behind and trying to catch up. On any given day I could have really been in a mood by the time I got to the window...having waited that long only to be treated with indifference by the employee who made me wait. But today my wait gave me food for thought.
First I thought about how her indifference detracted from my overall experience. Altruistic, I know. Then I pondered what could make her this way. Why would a 40+ year old woman take a minimum wage position at Sonic? Did she need a diversion from empty nest syndrome? Did she need extra income following a divorce? Was she trying to bolster family finances after her husband got laid off or demoted? Did she have a family crisis -illness or unexpected expense - that had to be funded with supplemental income?
Whatever life change landed her at Sonic, I decided it couldn't have been a pleasant one. How would I treat customers if I was in her shoes? How would I want customers to treat me?
For a few seconds in this woman's day, I could decide to be a rain cloud or a beautiful blue sky. I was a beautiful blue sky. She didn't look up to see it in my smile; maybe she heard it in my voice.
What will you be? Go to a private place and get all the rain out of your system, then spread blue skies wherever you go. Your employees deserve it. Your clients certainly deserve it...they are paying for it! Your family deserves it. And you deserve it!