In my early 20s, I decided that to think something good about somebody and not tell them is one of the saddest things going. I made a commitment to myself that I would not let these positive thoughts about others sit idle in my own brain. I rolled up my sleeves and started developing skills at saying good things to other people.
This quest to say good things to people has remained￼ a central theme in my life. When I recently worked for four years as a cashier in a grocery store, I became known for trying to find some interesting, creative – preferably honest – good thing to say to each customer as they went through my line.
I even taught a class in customer service skills at the Earth Fare Westgate store in Asheville, North Carolina ￼- that was all about validations. When, after taking a year off from that position, ￼I went back to try to get my job back, Brandon the store manager – when he interviewed me – reminisced about that class.
He remembered it quite vividly￼: “Yeah, validating the customer – a core part of good customer service￼.”
I think I’m quite a hotshot at this skill. But this morning, some Appalachian guy made me see how timid my verbal appreciations of others may actually be.￼
(The little white car in the middle of the picture – currently maybe blocked in by the Coca-Cola truck – is the vehicle on which some Appalachian guy wrote “BEST WIFE EVER!” in soap on the back window of his wife’s car. What a guy!)￼