9 People to Be Thankful For
We have wrapped up another Thanksgiving Day weekend and it’s common to hear that we are all thankful for all the special things in our life including our family, our health, and our friends and colleagues.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge 9 people in our lives that often go unnoticed or are under appreciated (particularly over the holidays). It’s funny how you can reward yourself by recognizing others.
- The trash guys – Sometime this week the trash guys will pick up the trash in front of your house. The lumpy gravy that never got used, the half- eaten bowl of sweet potatoes, and the carcass of your turkey is now sitting at the bottom of a large black trash bag creating an unrecognizable hideous pool of ooze. And yet that bag of trash will disappear in a timely fashion as it does every week. The next time you see your trash guys, thank them for what they do every week no questions asked.
- The folks at TSA – USA Today estimates that 24,600,000 folks flew over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Everyone had important places to be and sometimes they traveled with an attitude. Now imagine that you had to say a couple of thousand times a day ‘take your shoes and belt off and stand like this’ to a bunch of weary travelers that could care less. It’s easy to forget that they’re doing their job and trying to keep us safe. Next time you’re passing through airport security, I suggest saying “thanks for all you do” might go a long way.
- The FedEx and UPS drivers – FedEx estimates it will handle 317,000,000 packages between Black Friday and Christmas. Drivers are the tip of a very long ‘spear’ that most of which we will never see. While we will never see the aircraft pilots or the package handlers at the distribution centers, sharing your personal appreciation to the delivery driver that your package ‘made it’ can’t hurt.
- The toll taker – Pick any bridge or turnpike in the country and the tollbooths were absolutely slammed with travelers this Thanksgiving weekend due, in no small part, to reasonable gasoline prices. I submit it wasn’t a fun weekend for both automobile travelers and the toll takers. People waited in long lines ‘wasting’ time to give someone money. This is a situation not conducive for exchanging pleasantries. That said, nothing prevents you from taking the high moral ground and wishing them a joyful Thanksgiving or happy holidays. Give it a try next time.
- The Salvation Army Bell Ringer – Most of us tend to cruise by contemplating whether or not we want to drop a quarter in the red bucket. These men and women stand outside on their feet, freezing their butts off, and ringing their bell until the clapper falls off. How long would you or I ‘tolerate’ those working conditions? The mission of the Salvation Army is to fulfill human needs without discrimination. Next time you see a Salvation Army bell ringer stop and thank them for what they do and acknowledge the service they provide. Throwing a dollar in the pot would be the frosting on the cake.
- The drive-up window folks – We all go to fast food restaurants for one simple reason, we are in a hurry. That doesn’t excuse us from being gracious. That guy or gal at the drive-up window is probably making minimum wage, living paycheck to paycheck, and you don’t know them from Adam. But if you truly appreciate your cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to start your day or that you’re grateful that you could get a double cheeseburger, a large fry and coke at midnight, say so.
- The Walmart Greeter – What a novel marketing concept that a company would place a greeter by the front door to thank patrons for shopping in the store. And yet, once again, most of us proceed right by the greeter with little or no acknowledgement. Now just imagine for a second if you had that job. What response would ‘make your day ‘from someone entering the store? A simple “Hi, how are you doing?” would go a long way. You could even extend the opportunity further by inquiring for directions to a specific section of the store. Try it, you might like it.
- The shuttle bus driver – Most of us have had an opportunity to use a shuttle bus from the car rental center or from the long-term parking areas at the airport. These drivers pass quickly through our lives loading and unloading our luggage, each of which weighs exactly 49.5 pounds so that we are not overweight when checking into our flight. Again over the holidays, these drivers are overwhelmed with pickups, drop-offs, and hauling luggage. Next time, rather than just having this person simply pass through your life, acknowledge their busy work schedule and thank them for taking good care of you.
- The deployed military personnel – it is important to acknowledge and thank this special group of brave men and women albeit difficult for you to do in person. As you begin to decorate your Christmas tree and you smell the cookies baking in the oven, remember that there are sailors on a nuclear submarine patrolling the Pacific Rim and that a platoon sergeant is preparing to take his unit in harm’s way somewhere in the Middle East. Being away from your family is an enormous challenge and particularly tough over the holidays. Reach out to the local service areas in your community and explore if they have any campaigns to ship care packages to the troops overseas or if there is a way you could send holiday cards as well. It will mean more than you could possibly imagine.
Ok, now it’s your turn. Who in your life, often working behind the scenes, deserves some acknowledgement?