Your attitude is a choice.
“Don’t let someone else’s attitude dictate your response.”
We should always be careful how we treat people. One morning very recently, I had to travel to New Orleans for work. I called and scheduled an airport shuttle the day before to take me to the airport several hours early. The morning of the flight my bags were packed and ready to go. I had eaten breakfast, taken a shower and all that, and I was sipping on my coffee. I noticed the shuttle hadn’t arrived yet so I took my bags back inside the house. I got a call from the dispatcher saying that the shuttle would be there in about 15 or 20 minutes. As my wife and I were talking I got a call but the person on the other end hung up. I assumed that it might be the shuttle driver so I went outside and saw he had pulled off from the curb in front of the house to turn around. (there is a cul-de-sac at the end of my street). When he pulled back in front of the house I told him give me 2 minutes to grab my bags. I was still sipping my coffee, and the driver immediately became irate and started yelling, “You should’ve been ready already! I’m 25 minutes late and you’re out here drinking coffee!” He had apparently called my phone and left the phone on because later I had a message that I heard repeating the same thing about him being late and me drinking my coffee. I have retainers and I take them out anytime I eat or drink anything and I’d left them in the house. I put my bags in the van, and my wife yelled out the door, “You forgot something!” The driver again yelled, “My job is to get you to the airport and I’m already late!” I said I’m sorry let me just grab my retainer case. My wife had sent my son out to bring the case to me, and as he was running to the van, the driver yelled, “My job is to get to the airport! I’m going to leave you!” Talk about terrible customer service!
I had a moment, where I thought to myself, “Should I let him have it?” And it was at that moment, that I realized I had two choices. I could spend my time and energy and waste it on letting this guy get what he deserved, or I could CHOOSE to use that same energy on something positive. I didn’t say a word on the drive over to the airport, and I was smiling the whole time. We had another person to drop off, so once we dropped her off, I leaned over to the driver and I said, “I realize that your day may not have started off the way you wanted, and I just want to help.” Since the shuttle ride had been paid for and I didn’t have any cash, I asked him could I leave him a tip by card. He looked at me with this confused look and said, “No, but I appreciate it.” He told me I could go back and add it later, and it was split with the company getting a large percentage of the tip. I said I wanted him to have it. At the end of the ride when we got to my terminal, I got out and with a smile, I told him, “I hope you have a great day sir.” His whole attitude had changed and he helped me get my bags out of the van.
I chose not to let his rude, bad attitude affect my day. I replied with a smile and genuinely wanted him to have a good day. I thought about the fact that a large percentage of Americans go to work every day, and they hate the work that they do, and they are just trying to get bills paid. Maybe he had a death in the family. Maybe he had an argument with his wife, or kids, or any number of things that could make a person’s day start off bad. Any time I used to be late, everything seemed to frustrate me even more because I was already ticked off that I was late. I realized that we are all human. I had even had an earlier thought about reporting him to his supervisors, but I digressed. I also realized that the people he had to serve for the rest of the day would benefit from my positive attitude, and maybe they wouldn’t get the rude service I had received. Sort of like a pay it forward type of deal.
Here is the other thing about being careful of how you treat people. I’m a writer and I’m sure he didn’t know that. But everyone out there knows you don’t piss writers off. They will write about you and blast your name or company and let the world know that you suck. Bad move Chuck. But again I digress. I felt great for the rest of the day, and that also gave me material to write about (this blog post). I am saying that your attitude is a choice. Don’t let someone else’s negativity outweigh your positivity.
There are many benefits to choosing not to participate in a person’s negative behavior. I bet those people who took rides in his shuttle for the rest of the day were served better than I was. It’s not always about having the last word, or returning the bad things that you get. Lots of people make withdrawals, but don’t give enough deposits. Let’s deposit some good will, and good attitudes because the world needs it. When you stoop down to a person’s negativity, it brings you to a negative place as well. It gives your situation power over you. I refuse to let that happen. I used to be like that. I told myself never again. Now, people always ask me, “Why are you so happy?” Because I have yet another opportunity to pursue my dreams, kiss my wife, and see my children. It is yet another day I can be as great as I aspire to be, and I can help folks along the way.
That’s a few reasons to be positive each and every day. Some people don’t get that opportunity. Some people in other parts of the world wake up in slavery, or poverty, and I don’t. Aren’t those reasons enough to choose to have a great attitude about life? So what you don’t like your job. Some people don’t have one and are struggling just to eat everyday. Some people did not make it to see the day you’re choosing to complain about. See how when you change-up your optimism, your outlook on what you have changes?
On the flip side of that coin, if you run a business, work in customer service, or deal with people on a consistent daily basis, be careful of how you treat others. And if you’re in charge don’t allow folks with toxic attitudes to ruin your relationship with your customers. Needless to say I’m not sure I will be using that shuttle service again. I can spend my hard-earned dollars with someone else who has excellent customer service.
One last note, I don’t ever let something darken the sunlight in my day. Only a death in the family could probably bring me down like that. And I don’t even think I’d look at it as others do. I made a choice a long time ago that I would decide to have a good day. Car tire flat? That’s life. I have full coverage so it’s going to be a free tow for me. And I can spend that time observing God’s creation. Just taking in the beauty of the day. Work isn’t going the way you planned it? Make the choice to take what you get, and turn lemons into lemonade. Being positive and optimistic will help you see things in a different light. I know it has for me.
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