Excuse me, did you just compliment me???

The modern world has become so busy and hectic that most of us are running from pillar to post all day long trying to get everything on our to-do lists checked and crossed off. Who has the time to stop and say something kind to fellow human beings?

The importance of paying a genuine compliment was brought home to me a few days ago when I was in a queue at a sport & recreation centre, waiting to pay the fees for my kids’ sport activities. There seemed to be shortage of staff because just one, slightly flustered young woman was running around doing zillion things all at once. She would answer the relentless phone, then swipe gym members in and finally rush to the counter to answer queries from those in the queue. I watched her for a long time, expecting her any minute to scowl or snap. I felt sorry for her. People were sighing heavily, tapping their feet impatiently and staring pointedly at their watches. I doubt she would’ve missed any of the cues.

I glanced at my watch and realised I was running late for my meeting. Just then, the woman in front of me moved away and I stood there face to face with the girl who looked young enough to be my daughter. She looked flushed, pale and exhausted. BUT….she smiled! Her eyes sparkled. Even as the phone rang in the background, she asked me politely, ‘Yes, ma’am, how may I help?’

I was so touched and impressed by her demeanour. In her place, I’m not certain I could have been so graceful. She quickly went through the registration process and gave me a few forms to take home. As I thanked her and turned to walk away, something stopped me. I couldn’t just go away without saying something. So I turned around and said ‘You’re doing a wonderful job. Not many left like you in customer service these days.’

I’m not exaggerating when I say her face transformed….lit up….At first, she looked startled. Then grateful and finally delighted. ‘Oh, thank you. Thank you. You’ve just made my morning.’

As I walked to my car, I realised how simple it is to share joy and love in an otherwise troubled world. The power of a simple compliment. It doesn’t cost anything. But it means so much to the person receiving it 🙂


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