The food court kebob joint was backed up. After placing my order, I was immersed in the impatient, receipt looking, foot tapping vibe, radiating from those awaiting their meal. The food looked good and smelled wonderful, but we struggled as the nearby burger, salad, and taco joints quickly delivered their bounty, in mere seconds.
We waited as the flames slowly cooked the skewers of protein. The staff hustled to prepare the plates of salad and rice while avoiding eye contact with the restless customers.
A reluctant mother dodged glaring looks and pressed her way to the front of the pickup line. Her young daughter recognized the young woman behind the counter, from her neighborhood and wanted to say "hi." This pint-sized, etiquette-breaking little girl, was oblivious to the building anxiety and was determined to acknowledge her grownup friend.
The tension evaporated.
Laughter and hand waving spread through the staff in response to the little visitor. Her smile and enthusiastic greeting reminded the gallery of hungry witnesses that those behind the counter are fellow friends, neighbors, and humans.
How quickly we forget our equality with others when separated by a laminate counter top or thin telephone line.
We celebrate the baristas rise to stardom on American Idol, yet unaware of the humanity of those preparing our latte at the corner coffee shop. The odds of meeting the next Idol are slim, but greeting those that serve us every day are guaranteed.
I told the cashier and helper at Costco that I was grateful for their speed and dedication to keep the line moving amid the daily chaos. The assistant beamed. She mentioned she is rarely acknowledged or thanked for her work, and appreciated my encouragement.
How have we arrived at a day when time-saving conveniences abound, yet we fail to reinvest a fraction of our savings into a sincere connection with those we meet?
My default is to ignore those around me during my daily activity. It is time to adjust my system settings and enable awareness.
When do you sincerely engage with those that serve you?
What is the name of the person that hands you your dry cleaning, morning coffee, or evening Uber? What do you know about them?
What stories have surprised you as you engage with others?