I was in Costco yesterday picking up a few things. I had the rare opportunity to casually cruise through the store while making a list for a bigger trip later. I had been up since 6 am and hadn’t really eaten so I was hitting the sample stations one at a time. Each time, I would come up with my cart and at least 3 or 4 people would rush or push in front of me in order to get there first and literally swiped up whatever sample was there to be had without even a thank you. The fourth time this happened, the attendant was an elderly woman about 3 inches shorter than me with the typical white smock and hair net. She was beginning to look fatigued. I made eye contact, smiled, and said “thank you” as I took my sample and pushed my cart off to the side just out of the way. While I snacked, I watched her as she refilled her tray. I struck up a conversation with her by mentioning the “vultures” I witnessed. She smiled with a sad understanding and said that what I just witnessed was “mild” compared to most. Curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, “How many people are like me verses like that?” and nodded in the direction of someone else who just swooped up another sample without a “thanks”. “Honestly?” she paused as she thought, “People like you are probably only about 20% of what I see daily.” I was shocked. And yet, looking around at my fellow Americans right now, not really all that surprised. I shook my head with shame and then smiled at her. “I am sorry. Thank you for what you do and experience.” She returned my smile and stood a little taller and I could feel the gratitude pouring out of her as she thanked me. I couldn’t quit thinking about this experience and it made me want to write about it.
I now want to challenge anyone reading this to step into the 20% of the population. Instead of rushing to be first, let’s take a little more time to be courteous to others. Say “thank you” instead of expecting. We all have shit to do. Let’s do so with a little gratitude instead of attitude.