I have always been the person who makes friends wherever she goes. Whether I'm standing in line at a store, with the baristas at my local Starbucks or in France on vacation (not even kidding on this one). I just seem to collect friends along my way. These friendships have often garnered more than just amazing conversations and lovely friendships - sometimes people repay your kindness with kindness (aka "perks"). For example, the kiddos at Starbucks - I would bring them in treats that I baked. One Christmas Day I brought in two trays of cookies and bars that I had baked for them all - I thought it's the least they should get having to work on a Holiday. I would often sit down and chat with them while they were on break and get to hear their stories. I'm still friends with a couple of them today (although we have all moved on from the locale). In creating a bond with them I often found myself on the receiving end of discounts and free drinks. But nothing beat how I was greeted with smiles and hugs when I walked in or the lovely things they would write on my drink cups. Whenever I was feeling down at my job, I would walk across the street and they always uplifted me. We often would just sit and vent to one another about our lives, jobs and relationships. It was my "Cheers".
Throughout the years, I've always made a point to befriend suppliers, vendors, customers, caterers, event staff, etc - I wanted them to feel appreciated. I've sent personal cards for holidays I know they celebrate, and spent time chatting on the phone with them. I've taken them out to lunch, or purchased small gifts for them. I'm not an executive. I'm not a manager. I'm not even a supervisor. I'm the Executive Assistant (in the past I had been a receptionist, a part time employee, and an Administrative Assistant).
I write about this because Monday is my birthday. I won't be going to a restaurant. Or having cake and ice cream with friends/family. Due to COVID, I would be at home with my cat eating pizza. Just the two of us. However, I received an email from an event manager asking what I was going to do for my "big day"...I told her my plans. She offered me a staycation at the hotel she works at for a very affordable price. I jumped on it. So, starting Sunday, I will be staying in a hotel for a few nights. Just me, some LVP Red Sangria, room service, face masks and other "spa" essentials, and a gigantic bed. All because I made a connection with someone. Her kindness was the little bit of magic I needed.
The quote I try to live by is "Practice reckless kindness"...simply because I know what a random act of kindness has done for me over the years - I want to spread that magic of kindness to others. We all do things for our friends and family - it's just who we are. How often do we let our business contacts or the service workers in our lives know that they are appreciated? Sometimes it's the smallest gesture that means the most. I'll never forget the hugs and smiles from my baristas...those were the best "perks" this gal could get.
(P.S. As I was typing this I received a phone call from my primary care doctor's nurse...she just called to wish me an early happy birthday...and the smile on my face is GIGANTIC. Like I said - it's the small gestures.)
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