As I joined the queue for coffee, the line was snaking round the counter. Argghh. Should have come earlier, I curse at myself. Thumbing through my emails and Instagrams, I patiently wait my turn. Suddenly I see a movement out of the corner of my eye. I look up, past the till, over to where the baristas are lined up – churning out flat whites, barking names and frothing milk. One barista catches my eye and mouthes ‘Coffee?’. Are you kidding??? I nod furiously. He smiles and turns back to his gleaming machine, expertly twiddling knobs while the beans grind noisily beside him. As the queue slowly clears I reach the till. Before I can even place my order, he is there with my coffee, just how I like it. A big smile is exchanged and I thank him profusely, pay the order taker and breeze past my workmates still waiting for their morning fix.
I don’t know his name, he is the guy at the coffee place. But I always thank him, I always make eye contact, I always smile. He has probably saved my life some mornings with his coffee (OK slight exaggeration, maybe), so surely the least I can do is say “Oh, thanks so much, how wonderful.”
There is a lot to be said for manners. For being polite. For treating people like people. So many times in cafes and restaurants I see customers being so rude to the wait staff, or even just ignoring them like they are invisible. How would you like it if you were treated like that? The same goes for checkout staff at the supermarket, or the parcel delivery person at the office.
It costs you nothing to treat others the way you would like to be treated, and sometimes they will go the extra mile for you in return, unasked. Because they are just doing their job, like you are, and they appreciate it when someone notices.
Try it sometime. It might just make your day.