There are two little magic words that can open any door with ease
one little word is “Thanks” and the other little word is please
Since we now have a thirteen month old GC (I’ll just abbrieviate “Grandchild” so I can resist declining into obnoxia braggadocci , which can be fatal to the hearer), I travel more than I normally do. And I am having to watch all sorts of media and sing songs that were long forgotten. My wife’s fav is “A helper I will be, a helper I will be, stop what you’re doing and clean up nice-ly” to the tune of “Farmer in the Dell”. We have a luscious video of our GC slinging toys down as fast as her Mom can pick them up while Mom sings (in vain) “A helper I will be…”
Anyway, the one I led off with today was from Captain Kangaroo. I heard Bob Keeshan live once at a Christian ethics meeting in the 80s on the family. He and Jerry Falwell spoke on the same day, and that didn’t ever happen again, far as
I know. Where were those ping-pong balls when you needed them? (you only get that if you’re old enough to have seen the Captain).
Traveling a few weeks ago on a quick trip that included hanging out with my youngest daughter, doing a wedding and speaking at a seminary, I (not surprisingly) found myself in the usual rush travelers encounter. It was discouraging. Maryland is the only state I’ve been to with a sign that warns that “video surveillance used to monitor agressive driving.” No kidding. Those were the meanest drivers I have EVER been around. EVERYONE drives like me.
Anyway, I had a great, if busy weekend, and headed home on Sunday to the airport in Baltimore after dropping my daughter and a friend at the train station in DC. I was cutting it close…too close…and you know how it is–getting out, sttacking your luggage, hurrying to get on the bus, and in my case, warning the short guy next to me of the danger of putting his face too close to my armpit while holding the rail.
Made it, cleared security (dawg-GONE it, another nekkid picture. The TSA agent was Doris again. What’s with that?). Get to the gate, after redressing, and suddenly realize CAN’T FIND MY PHONE. Search my carry on. Sinking feeling. Go
to the agent at my gate, give me the numbers to the Alamo car rental center–which I cannot call, of course, since I don’t have a phone, but they direct me to a courtesy phone. It is only hooked to one phone somewhere in Jersey, so I go to the pay phone and make a ten dollar credit card call and only get the recorded message. Sigh. A woman named Shirley said leave your name and number etc. etc. So I did.
To make it worse, our land line was out back home. We were changing over from one thing to another thing and still had nothing. So we are majorly out of commish. Well, I think, that’s that. With so many customers coming and going, I had little hope of getting my phone back. I didn’t even know whether it had fallen under the seat or whatever. It was a black phone in a black car with a black interior.
So, I called my insurance carrier for the phone–for some reason my wife insisted on getting insurance only on my phone– and had already arranged for a new one to be sent. At that moment, my wife got a a phone call from Shirley, informing us that the phone had been found and would be sent by overnight mail. She was staying late to get it in the mail.
While I certainly could have replaced it, it would have meant considerable work and trouble. My phone arrived the next day in the morning. I know that lost and found is what Shirley does, but I took a few minutes and wrote a thank you letter on church stationary. I told Alamo car rentals that Shirley did a great job and THANK YOU. They would see me next time.
I got this email (name left out)
Dear Mr. Furr:
Good morning! My name is —– from the Administrative office of Enterprise Holding in Baltimore, MD.
I wanted to let you know that we received your very kind letter regarding the assistance of our very own Shirley —– for Alamo at BWI. It’s great to know that Shirley was able to find your phone and get it back to you in a timely matter. I sent your letter to Shirley and also to all of the upper Management at BWI as well as our General Manager. I am sure they will all be just as pleased as I was to read your kind words.
Thanks and again and we look forward to serving your rental needs again in the future.
So I wrote back and said, “Thank you —– I mean every word. “Thank you” is pretty important in life”
And then she wrote ME back. “Yes it is and I don’t think some people realize how much those “two” words really mean! Have a fantastic day and THANK YOU :)”
I know you’re thinking, “Man, you need to be doing something productive.” Is anything more productive than appreciation? In his book, The Four Most Important Things: A Book About Living, Ira Byock has this quote at the beginning of Part Three, which is, appropriately, “Thank You.”
“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread”–Mother Teresa.
Perhaps the most tragic cost of our pace of life is the slow terminal illness of appreciation, stamped out by the rudeness of being too hurried and important to pause and say thanks. I’m a multiple offender. I’m trying to do better. My deficit is worse than the national debt. But by golly, I’m going to try.
If an attaboy can ricochet three times and end with a smile emoticon from a car rental headquarters, there is yet hope for us all.
Write a thank you today. You have time. Your mother will be pleased, wherever she is.
Byock, Ira (2004-03-02). The Four Things That Matter Most (Kindle Locations 1092-1093). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.