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Go the Extra Mile

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Go the Extra Mile

Saying thanks uplifts our hearts.
David R. Hamilton Ph.D.
David R. Hamilton Ph.D. More by this author
Feb 22, 2010 at 09:00 AM

My partner, Elizabeth, and I were recently driving to visit our families in Scotland when we stopped at a restaurant to have breakfast. We were both a little tired because we’d left really early in the morning and, due to being very busy in the few days leading up to our trip, we hadn’t had very much sleep…but the fatigue left us when we encountered the woman who served us. She was working behind a long counter and got us our order before we moved along down the line to pay. She greeted us with a warm smile and some friendly comments, and her genuinely kind and positive attitude was like a refreshing shower. I think she could tell that we were feeling tired because she gave us an extra large portion of breakfast to accompany the big portion of joy, which was just what we needed. Within a few seconds, Elizabeth and I were feeling much better, and we hadn’t even eaten yet!

When we got to our table and tucked into our meals, I noticed a feedback form featuring a new initiative being run by the restaurant that was called “Go that Extra Mile.” The form gave customers the opportunity to comment if a staff member had gone that extra mile in providing good service. Since we had just experienced great service, we happily filled out the form.

However, when prompted to include the staff member’s name along with the time and date, we realized that we hadn’t noticed the woman’s name. We went back to the counter and tried to read her name tag—the problem was that the restaurant was filling up and she was quite busy, so we just couldn’t see her name.

At this point, I have to admit that we thought of leaving, because it was a little bit uncomfortable to be standing alongside a line of hungry people, some of whom thought that we were trying to cut in. But in life, love often stretches and presents us with opportunities to burst out of our comfort zones. We either act on these opportunities and grow a bit more, or we walk away and wait for another one to present itself.

I decided to shout across to the woman and ask her name. I told her that I was filling out the feedback form and that we were really grateful for the way she’d made us feel when we had arrived earlier. Right then, her face just glowed and her smile almost stretched the full width of her face. I suddenly felt inspired to point out the form to some of the customers in line, too. I said, “Doesn’t she have a lovely smile? What a great way to be served…with a smile!” And before I knew it, they were all smiling.

Then, as fortune would have it, the woman’s manager appeared. I was on a roll now and had no intentions of stopping. I told her what I’d written on the form, right in front of the woman and the customers. The manager’s smile suddenly broke through, too. And none of the customers seemed to care that I was momentarily keeping them from their meals. This was a little moment of magic, and everyone was participating in it—I don’t think anyone wanted to interrupt.

The manager said it was a great pleasure to receive some positive feedback; apparently we had been the first. She said that all they’d received so far was complaints, so it was really special to receive positive comments, especially in such a personal way.

I’m sure that many customers had been pleased with their service in the past but hadn’t bothered to say so. Isn’t it funny how most people reserve their feedback until they have something negative to say? How many individuals do you know who send a card to a restaurant when they’ve had a nice meal, just to say thanks? But how many complain when a meal doesn’t meet their expectations?

In the absence of some form of positive feedback, people don’t realize what a great job they’re doing or what a gift their job is to others. We deprive them of knowing this, and I think it’s up to us to tell them.

I’ve said on many occasions that those who complain have the loudest voices. Too often, things are changed to suit the minority because those who frequently make their displeasures known usually create a big fuss. I think it’s about time that we start to show more gratitude in the world. Let’s make a fuss about the good things. Let gratitude have the loudest voice so that things change for the better. I feel that we could make a huge difference in others’ lives, and our own, by going that extra mile to say or do something really nice for someone. Don’t wait until something bothers you before you offer feedback.

And have you ever noticed how good it makes you feel when you do something nice for another person? After that experience in the restaurant, I felt on top of the world. Amazing, isn’t it? One simple act of kindness had the power to radically change Elizabeth’s mood, my mood, and how we felt about the world; it also inspired good feelings in a staff member, her manager, and a whole line of strangers as well.

About Author
David R. Hamilton Ph.D.
David R. Hamilton acquired an honors degree in biological and medicinal chemistry, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry before working as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry for several years. His research into the mind-body connection ultimate Continue reading