I truly believe that every person should have to work in the service industry. I think everyone would be a whole lot more understanding, and kind to their fellow latte drinkers, if they had to make a few thousand beverages themselves.

The morning of my 16th birthday, my charming mother came barging into my bedroom at 6 am, (no joke) She rolled my lazy behind out of bed and took me looking for a job. Our first stop was Safeway on Massachusetts.

I remember walking in and asking for the manager, (I don’t remember whom I asked, maybe Agnes?) But I do remember being pointed toward the back of the store, and told to ask for Al.

I met Al Squires for the first time as he walked through the meat department (before the remodel). I introduced myself and asked for an application. He immediately told me they weren’t hiring, and that I could try again another time. I thanked him for his time, already thinking that I was off the hook, and I could go home and go back to bed, and as I walked toward the doors, he suddenly told me to wait for a second, asked what days and what times I could work. I told him what I guess he wanted to hear because he then handed me a white collared shirt and a clip-on blue tie and told me I started training that next day.

In my time at the Big Red S, even as a young punk, I learned a lot. The biggest takeaway was how much someone else’s mood affected my own. If someone rolled in happy and well-mannered, how much that helped my disposition. And of course, that needle swings the other way as well, if someone rolled in that was rude beyond belief, and didn’t have a lick of manners, I know my feelings toward my fellow man were not good.

What I am trying to get to here is, during the hustle and bustle of the season, remember people in the service industry. Whether it’s someone bagging your groceries, making your coffee, taking your dinner order, or whatever. Show them kindness and use your manners (your mom will be so proud). I think you might be surprised how much a simple “how are you today?” (and waiting for a response), means to people, especially when they might get looked over a lot of the time.

Make sure to show so love for our mail carriers and delivery drivers too. My neighbor is a driver for UPS and I swear he works like 20 hours a day, it’s crazy. Tell people you appreciate what they do. You will be shocked at how much it means to people, and you’ll be surprised how good it makes you feel in turn, even if they put your eggs on the bottom of the bag.

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