I love my job, but I don't always love the "customer service" aspect of it. My job is working as a library clerk at a public library. I love so many things about it and I'm really happy with the niche I've worked out over the past five years there, and the projects I get to do. About half of my time each week is spent working at the public desk where I check out books, take fines, help with reference questions, etc. A million and one things to do. And people are not always happy. I'm an introvert myself and I find it difficult to speak to so many strangers every day, but it's part of my job so I do it. I get talked down to, yelled at, sworn at, and treated like basically any other person people think is below them.
Saturday was like that. After three people all in a row who were very unhappy - one I had to call a supervisor out for, and two just generally miserable people - I was feeling fairly unhappy myself. I've heard everything about how they must be having a bad day, but I don't take it as an excuse. No one needs to push their bad day onto someone else, and making someone else feel bad does not help anyone feel better.
Towards the end of the day, I was still feeling pretty down, but just trying to get through. Then an older lady came to the desk, talking away, chattering on about this and that; she wanted a library card. I got her signed up for one, and she kept chattering. I couldn't really hear her very well, so I smiled and nodded, and tried to listen as best I could. She told me about always losing her wallet, how she was going to the movies with her sister, and how her sister was insisting they go out to eat and she hardly ever goes to restaurants anymore. Then she said, "Oh, there's no charge for a card? Well, at least let me give you this."
We can't take tips and the majority of what patrons give me is either trash (without a word of explanation!), candy, or religious brochures or cards trying to convert me. This wasn't, though. It was a simple little poem printed in the same design as the business card she had handed me that showed her address on it. (A lot of winter visitors or RVers have business cards printed up with contact information to pass on to people.)
I liked it a lot and thanked her, and she told me I have a great attitude and a wonderful smile.
It was just what I needed to hear that day and I put the card up in my cubicle.
Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of kindness and it helps someone feel so much better.