The Power of Appreciation

Tossing the sea of clothes aside, I changed my focus to beyond the curtain of my changing room.

I could hear a shop assistant complimenting a lady in the room opposite mine. Words of light encouragement, kind direction and laughter resounded. I could hear in the customer’s voice how at ease she felt with the assistant helping her, and I too felt really comfortable to be in such a friendly, light atmosphere. I peaked through the gap of the curtain and saw the shop assistant.

‘She’s doing such a great job’, I thought to myself.

So I decided to tell her.

‘Excuse me, this is a bit random, but I just want to tell you how good you are at your job’, I said boldly upon the exit of the happy customer.

A shocked expression then grew into a smile on her face as I then gave her examples of why she was so good at what she does; how confident, smiley and approachable she is, and how this makes us feel as customers. With tears in her eyes, she thanked me and said that no-one has told her these things before. (This shocked and annoyed me – why aren’t some people encouraging others?!)

I popped into the shop last week and I was served by her at the till. After a joyful and warm”hello!”, she immediately complimented me on my hair. It looked quite lion-esque at the time, so I mentioned to her that my fiance had recently been calling me ‘Nala’. So the assistant then said, ‘Ah awesome! Well, I’m going to call you Aslan from now on!’

After much joviality and conversations about her family, (such fun!) I checked the receipt she’d just given me.

‘This is much less than I thought it would be!’ I noticed checking through my purchases. Then, unexpectedly, she said this…’Ah, yes, well, I’ve put you through my Friends and Family discount, because after all, you are my friend now’. She then came from behind the till and gave me an almighty hug and waved me off saying, ‘Byeeee Aslan!’

And there she was; my first new friend made from showing random appreciation.

Another of my exploits was two months ago at a popular restaurant with my fiance, Scott. Our waiter was HILARIOUS. An Italian chap with a creative, cheeky flair served us and made us laugh so much. After our meal, I went onto the restaurant’s feedback page on their website, told them the name of our waiter, why he was so brilliant and how he’d made our experience so great.

I went back today with my Mum, and the hilarious waiter came over to me. He put his hand on my shoulder and asked if I was the person who had sent in the review. After confirming that it was me (and almost forgetting as I’d done it after my last visit two months previously!), he got down on one knee, kissed my hand and thanked me. He said that my review had been sent round to all of the restaurants in the region and it had been “very good for him professionally” that my review was so positive about his personality and service. Once again, unexpectedly, he asked the staff to give me 20% off our meals. As we were leaving later on, he high-fived me and then kissed my Mum’s hand!

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to tell people how good they are at what they do. Give feedback on websites or, if you have a moment after your meal or coffee, ask to see the manager and tell them why a certain member of staff was so good. Imagine if your manager came up to you and told you that a member of the public had recognized your strengths. Imagine how special and appreciated you’d feel.

The shop assistant at the clothes shop had told me that I’d made her day. The waiter in the restaurant was beaming and was so thankful that his efforts had been recognized.

So my challenge to you is to bless strangers in the service industry. It’s easy. It’s simple. It goes such a long way.

Wherever you are – your favourite coffee shop, a pub, a restaurant, a clothes shop, a shoe shop, a florist…anywhere! Remember your server’s name, go on their feedback page/see their manager and give encouragement. 🙂

Appreciation goes a beautifully long way.