Author Chris Smith
I was at a baseball game, at a major league park, waiting in line at a concession stand for a steak sandwich. There were about 4 or 5 people ahead of me. Some thing had happened to the grill and the 3 women working it were having a tough time. The people in line were pissed and let the women working the counter know it. One of the workers was practically in tears. Eventually they got the grill working and people got served.
After I got my sandwich, I thanked the workers warmly and went straight to the nearest ATM and withdrew some cash for a huge tip. I went back to the counter and discreetly (so I thought) slipped the cash into the tip basket.
As I was going back to my seat one of the workers, who had apparently seen me slip in the tip, came up to me and thanked me profusely. She said “you’ll never know what this means” but I think I do because I’ve been in that situation. Overwhelmed, overworked, stressed and under appreciated and underpaid.
I like to think she and her coworkers felt a little bit better for the rest of the workday. Maybe they went home and had fun with their kids, or talked more with their partners, or just felt better about themselves. Whatever. It takes so little to make the world a better place. In my case it was a kind word and some unexpected cash. But it really wasn’t the money. It was a recognition that those women at the concession stand were people, that they were doing a job, and that they had value.