The KEY is GRATITUDE every day.

Recall a time when you received poor service from a waitress (or waiter). You probably left a low tip, if any at all; left in a gruff thinking you’d never return to that place again … or something like that. Now roll time back a bit to the moment you entered that establishment and your first encounter with that waitress. Can you remember what that encounter was?

Were you so occupied with your life that you unconsciously took the menu, responded with “water” when she asked if you wanted something to drink, placed your order and never thought a moment about the waitress? Or, did you take a moment out of your life, look at the waitress, possibly called her by her name or asked for her name, smiled and thanked her – just for bringing you the menu, or a glass of water, or just for showing up to serve you.

Recently, I was staying at a big expensive brand hotel, but the hotel was undergoing construction in the restaurant areas. The restaurant had been relegated “off the beaten path.” One of the employees was assigned to watch for people walking in the direction of the restaurant and make sure everyone ended up in the right place. She stood outside, just waiting. As I approached, I saw her looking at me.  While still 50 feet away, I smiled at her and greeted her saying, “Thank you for waiting for me!” Her reaction was a big smile. I learned her name and for the 3 days I was at the hotel, I could call her by name every time I saw her. Even when I saw her away from the restaurant area, I took a moment to say “Good morning, Lupe” just so I could see her smile again.

This woman had been assigned to serve customers, I being one. But I’ll bet she felt better when she saw me coming because she saw a friend approaching, not just a stranger who took her presence for granted. I didn’t take Lupe for granted. My encounter with Lupe resulted in creating a relationship in which both of us could feel good. If Lupe had been having a bad day, I may have added a little spark to her day and turned her attitude just a bit.

After all, I am a lawyer. I have an important job. People look up to lawyers. People listen to lawyers. People watch lawyers. It’s even more important that every encounter I have with every other human being results in that person feeling that I have treated them as a fellow human being. If that person is doing a job that is designed to “serve” me, then I must be thankful even before the service begins. By being grateful for this other person who has chosen to do something that actually makes my life a little easier in that moment (even if it’s just filling up my glass with more water), I create the world I intend to live in. I impact those around me and affect their behavior by altering their mindset.

If I’m faced with being a recipient of bad service, my first question to myself is: “where did I fail to effect this situation so that the results could have been better for everyone concerned?”