Monday, 24 May 2010

I was given a lesson yesterday

in just how important it is to thank people.
I was doing 'door duty' for an exhibition. It involved sitting at a table and taking a coin from people who wished to enter, providing information and answering queries.
There were supposed to be two of us on throughout the day at hourly intervals. I was down for the first hour and expected my co-worker to be a little late because she has a very young child and has some distance to travel. As we knew that the first hour would not be very busy that was not a concern and she did arrive about ten minutes late.
By the end of the hour things were picking up but our replacements had not arrived. Eventually she had to leave and I stayed on. A little later a friend of mine who is not a member of the organisation arrived. I had planned to take her around the exhibition, particularly the history section. Seeing I was alone she promptly said,
"Well, I can help until someone else gets here."
She sat down and proceeded to greet visitors with a pleasant smile, a thankyou for their attendance and took their coins as I answered queries and directed people. It was very welcome assistance.
One of the workers who was supposed to follow me arrived almost an hour late, an accident on her usual route had cause a major traffic jam and she was then slowed by roadworks on the alternative route. She was apologetic and thanked my friend profusely. We told her to go and get herself a cup of tea before she took over.
What happened next was unfortunate. Another worker came out and saw my friend sitting there waiting for the other woman to return. Instead of perhaps inquring what was going on she told my friend she could not sit there and asked, "And have you paid?"
I hastily explained but it made no difference she was adamant that my friend should not be sitting there. My friend was naturally and visibly upset.
But then, everything righted itself again. The woman who had been late came back with not one but three cups of tea, separate milk and sugar. She turned to my friend and said,
"I wanted to say thankyou properly. I hope you do drink tea. I didn't know about milk and sugar."
It had been rather cold by the sliding doors and the tea was very welcome in more ways than one.

5 comments:

Rachel Fenton said...

Despite some people's determination to prove otherwise, there are - thankfully - still more helpful and thoughtful people in the world than not. Cup of tea would do me grand, thank you very muchly :)

Amanda Acton said...

Woweee, I do love what a "power trip" can do to some people. I'm glad it got diffused with the arrival of the tea. It proves, of course, that tea has magical super powers and is far superior to coffee. :P

catdownunder said...

There is definitely something about a cup of tea....

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Im impressed you kept your cool!

catdownunder said...

With difficulty Vanessa, with difficulty!