My old-faithful Honda conked out last week, right outside my office at the end of a long day when I was leaving late.
I needed to leave in the morning for a meeting some distance away, so I arranged with the dealership to rent a car at a special rate for Honda customers. When I called the rental company, though, I had to jump through hoops to get the rate, including calling Honda again. When I called the car rental company again, I got a different person. I explained the what had happened and he surprised me by saying, "How does $30 a day sound?"
Since that was $5 lower than the price I was expecting, I said I was happy. He said he just wanted to make up for the trouble I'd gone through.
Later on, I thought of how little it took to turn the experience of customer service around. He could have just given me the right price, and the price he offered was only $5 less than that, but the gesture made all the difference.
A few days later, on Friday evening, I dropped by our village post office with some posters advertising a fundraising spaghetti dinner my work team and our church are organizing for this coming Saturday. Laurie, the woman who runs the post office was outside, sitting in the sunshine, having a smoke break. She goes to a Ukrainian Orthodox church in the village, and when she saw that the focus of the fundraiser was the needs of children with disabilities in the Ukraine, she said she'd put one up in her church too.
My next stop was up the road from the post office, where every Friday evening, the ladies of her church (St. Catherine's) sell pies at the side of the road as a fundraiser for their church. I intended to buy half the pies I needed for the spaghetti supper and help them with their cause at the same time. When I told the ladies why I was buying the pies, one of them said, "How many more do you need? We'll make them for you--our church will help your church!" So the ladies of St. Catherine's Ukrainian Orthodox Church are making us 5 more pies this week. Their spontaneous generosity made my day.
That evening, Paul and I decided to drive into town for supper at Cooke's Bay Fish and Chips. As we sat waiting for our fish and chips to arrive, I spotted a small bucket full of umbrellas. Above it was a cheery sign with a smiley face, that read, "Take one when it's raining and please bring back when it's sunny." Their trust in their customers was refreshing.
Just like one of those umbrellas, the warmth spread by the kind acts of the past week, will act like a shield against the odd puddle of negativity that may cross my path.
The Power of Nice.