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Kovar Systems
Point to Ponder

Bring Value to Your Relationships

By Dave Kovar

“I Bring Value to All My Relationships” serves as a reminder of the importance of empathy, respect, patience and service. In theory, very few people that I know disagree with this concept. But I have learned many times, theory and application are two different things. I   want to share a story with you that I believe demonstrates this very thing.

One Saturday just before Christmas, I found myself in Walgreen’s where I was a part of  an  extremely long line at the checkout counter. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was doing some last minute Christmas shopping. It was a big store and it was filled with lots of customers but for some reason, there was only one person working the cash register. I was  about nine people back and the tension was so thick, you could almost see a gray  aura  of  negativity  gushing  out  of  the line, making its way towards the undeserving cashier. I would like to say that I was above this negativity, but the truth was I had become a part of the “Mob” mentality that was brewing. I caught myself thinking, “Can’t she hurry up? Of all the nerve, I don’t have all day ya know.”

I tried to make some eye contact with the lady  behind  the  counter, hoping that she would  sense my indignation.  Eventually, she did glance up from the register long enough for our eyes to meet. It wasn’t long, only a fraction of a second, but it was long enough for me to completely change my perspective. With just that quick look, I saw her as  a  conscientious  but  overwhelmed  person  who  was  doing  her  best  under stressful circumstances. She was trying to get through the day, working as hard as she could at her job.

This  brief connection made me even more aware of the  negativity  being  sent  her  way by  the  impatient  crowd.  However this time, I was no longer a participant in the drama. I’d had become a spectator. Better yet, I found myself wanting to help her, to bring her some much needed compassion, to make her smile.

Amazingly when my attitude changed, the line suddenly was moving faster. When   I   reached   the   cash   register   she   looked   up   and   the   forced   a   smile, undoubtedly  expecting  me  to  give  her  the  same  energy  I  had  a  minute  earlier.  I smiled at her and hoped that I could find the right words. I jokingly told her that she was personally responsible for not only the long line in the store, but for the traffic outside as well. She flashed me a relieved smile. You could almost feel her tension dissolving.  I  then  thanked  her  for  being  so  patient  with  all  of  us  grumpy customers  and  told  her  how  I  thought  she  was  doing  a  great  job  and  that  the store  was lucky to have  her.

As I was leaving the store our eyes crossed and she mouthed me a “Thank you”, and then happily turned back to the next person in line. I  knew  she  felt  better  and  so  did  I.  It is amazing what just a bit of kindness can do for everyone involved.

I’d like to tell you that I always handle situations in the same thoughtful and compassionate way I did that day, but the truth is....I don’t. I wish did and I really try to. But it doesn’t always happen. What I’ve found though is that kindness is an addiction. Once you taste a little, you want more. Now this is one addiction that is good for all of us. So won’t you join me in some random acts of kindness? But be careful because as you probably already know, it’s contagious.

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by Dave Kovar