Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Attitude of Gratitude

Admit it, you'd love for someone
to make this for you !

I'm weird.
I do weird things.
I've accepted it.
Moving on . . .
I had taken my three-year-old granddaughter to The Mall.
The big mall. The one that covers many city blocks and holds many, many stores and attractions.
And several hundreds of thousands of people.
It is bright. Entertaining. Noisy.
And, at times, crowded.
Kids love it there.
Parents tolerate it.
Older people ignore the enticement of 'modern shopping gone mad' and use it as an indoor track.
'People-dodging' has become an accepted, even sought for work-out.
With all these people and attractions vying (real word) for our attention, it is only understandable that some . . . gentility might get lost.
Let me explain . . .
My granddaughter and I were waiting for my son to finish an interview.
We were hungry.
The choices were, truly, endless.
She chose McDonald's.
We ordered from a smiling young man. Chicken pieces for her.
Salad for me.
We found a booth and started eating.
Now, I should point out here that, for the most part, I like McDonald's food.
Not gourmet, but tasty and satisfying.
Even with those expectations, my salad was a very pleasant surprise.
It was good.
Really good.
In fact, probably one of the best salads I had ever eaten.
Crisp where it should be crisp. Cheesy where it should be cheesy. Olive-y where it should . . . you get the picture.
I looked at the brightly illustrated billboard to recall what I had ordered.
Ah. Mediterranean salad.
I finished.
And licked the bowl.
Okay, not quite, but I have to admit that I was certainly tempted.
My granddaughter finished her meal.
"Come with me, Sweetie." I took her hand and walked back to the counter.
A young woman was standing there, smiling brightly.
I went up to her. "Hello. May I please speak to the manager?"
Her smile . . . slipped . . . somewhat.
"Umm . . . yes?" She started to slide down the counter away from me.
I followed. Finally, "Are you the manager?"
She nodded hesitantly, by now, her smile all but gone.
"Oh, good. Well I have to tell you that I just ordered your Mediterranean salad," I pointed, "and it is probably the best salad I've tasted in my life. Thank you."
She stared at me. Finally, my words must have sunk in, because, suddenly, her face lit up.
Really. With the biggest smile I had ever seen.
"Oh, thank you!" she said, rather breathlessly.
The boy who had served us our meal suddenly appeared from the 'food' part of the establishment, where it would seem he had been hiding, and presented me with an equally large smile.
"Thank you!" he said.
I smiled at them and left.
I have to tell you that this isn't an unusual thing for me to do.
It started when I saw the movie, "Heaven Can Wait", with Warren Beatty.
In one scene, he gets up from the very formal meal, served by his army of servants, and pushing open the kitchen door, hollers, "Thanks for dinner!" or something like that.
Now I had been raised to always compliment and thank my mother, or whoever had prepared my food in ours or someone else's home. I had just never taken it to the next level.
Thanking and complimenting someone you haven't even met. 
Or seen.
I decided to try it.
With amazing results.
I've now been doing it for years.
Almost without fail, I receive surprised, but enthusiastic smiles.
And gratitude.
It's a simple thing.
A smile, a compliment, and a thank you.
It might put some much-needed sunshine into someone's day.
I know it did that day, in that crowded mall.
Into mine.


  1. You're just one of those sick optimistic bouncy do-gooder happyface bright smiley positive uplifting aliens from the planet Sunshine who insists on afflicting us normal humans with your baggage.
    Keep up the good work!


  2. I've found the same works with cranky tellers or cashiers, as well. My mother always chats with people waiting on her, and so do I!

  3. It is so nice to hear about someone else doing this. I worked in retail through highschool and college and we would rarely get compliments. I will always tell someone when they do a good job. It's sad but they rarely hear it.

  4. I am sure asking for the manager brings fears into the heart of anyone behind the counter:) I should probably do this more often myself:)

  5. What a wonderful story with such a great lesson for us all to learn and apply into our lives. I know that I appreciate it when others say nice things to me so I try to do the same. I'm sure I come away feeling as good as they do when I realize my compliment may have just made their day a little brighter. A little kindness goes such a long ways!

  6. Diane, what a great story! I've thought about this but almost never taken the time to actually do it. Shame on me! Thx for the kick, and I'll be sure to do it next time.

    BTW, thx for linking up to Meditation Mondays. Hope to see you back next week.


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