The Cost of Kindness

Growing up, manners wasn’t something I learned. I remember waiting in the cafeteria line at school becoming more and more nervous as each of my peers asked the lunch lady for their choice of the day.

“Can I have chicken nuggets, please?”

“Of course dear.”

“Thank you.”

Please, thank you. These words made me incredibly uncomfortable. I had never said them before and now here in this elementary school cafeteria I knew if I didn’t say them, I’d be rude.

So I’d wait for the lunch lady to start to talk to a coworker or for her to turn her back and then I’d go through the line with less attention. I only bought lunch on Fridays so at least I had another week to mentally prepare myself.

During the week? I only bought milk. But I didn’t. I just took it.

At church, I’d sprint ahead of people trying to walk into so that way I could walk in without needing to hold the door or I’d walk incredibly slow so that way I was too far back to hold the door for. OR the easiest answer was go in with my family.

Through being a passive observer, I began to realize the impact these words could make. At some endeavors, it was simply routine-thanks, your welcome, thanks, no problem, but in others the thank you was so genuine. It would make both individuals smile. I soon began to hear the, “how was you?” Sometimes just good good. Sometimes not even answering each other just, “how are you?” “How are you?” But other times, it was a moment that sparked a connection to another individual they never met before.

I wanted to be that individual. I wanted to be an individual who made connections with others and made them feel happy. By not learning through verbatim of manners, I gained a more profound lesson.

And so, I began saying please, thank you, you’re welcome at all times. As I grew older and it developed into work situations and guidance. Sometimes what someone really needed was just to feel appreciated. I realized when I didn’t receive those words, my feeling of appreciation wavered as well.

As humans, I think we need validation. Not always, but sometimes. Some people more than others. I will work on a project for hours and not care about being appreciated, yet as time goes by and more and more projects or situations that I go out of my way to handle occur, my thoughts of appreciation arise. Is this right? Should I need a sense of a verbal or physical reward?

Why not. To me, it is being human. We expect others to treat us with respect. For me, it is more about respect. I want to feel respected as an individual and seen as capable.

Through myself learning, I also learned early on to be nice to everyone. Everyone. Work wise, you are respectful to all employees and all jobs. You take the few seconds to say good morning to everyone you pass. I don’t care their position. I don’t care.

I’ve learned and met some of the most compassionate people I know through the initial conversation. Through this small words, I have found individuals later telling me how it made their day to feel noticed.

Don’t we want that for everyone?

So stop sprinting through your work place door. Look up from your computer once in a while. Stop cleaning and say hello to your customers. Smile even if you are rushing to bag and have a huge line. Say Hello. How are you.

& Smile.

Be nice to everyone you meet. It doesn’t cost a penny to be nice. It only cost a few seconds of your time & for me, those seconds are a “cost” they are time well spent.





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