I was talking with a friend the other day who used to work as an administrative assistant in a very busy corporate office. Her job was part receptionist, part office coordinator, part gopher, part copy machine expert, part coffee maker, and part person-who-knows-where-everything-is-kept. She often ate lunch at her desk because it got too annoying to answer the calls at the nearby cafe from frantic office people who needed help with something RIGHT NOW!
She really enjoyed her job–it was challenging and fast-paced–but sometimes she couldn’t help but notice that everybody hurried by her each day, only stopping to speak with her if they needed something. In fact, she was certain that a few people didn’t even know her name, even though she helped them several times with various tasks. Everybody was always in such a hurry that as soon as she got them what they needed, they were gone.
It made me think–who do we hurry by each day? Who do we run to in our moment of urgent need and rush off without a thank you? Is it the administrative assistant at the office? The nurse in the doctor’s office? The school secretary? The barista? The doorman?
Stop. Say thank you. Call people by name. Acknowledge their help. Ask them about themselves and their lives. Life’s too short to keep hurrying by, don’t you think?