Have Another Piece of Humble Pie?

“I bow before no man but am humble before all.”

This is one of my new favorite quotes and one of my favorite philosophies. Though I have heard similar quotes, I don’t recall hearing this exact verbiage. I based it off another favorite quote and my absolute favorite philosophy in life.

“Respect isn’t given but earned.”

I was inspired to think about this after discussions about interactions between individuals. I am extremely affable, out-going, and try to greet all that I pass. I was raised to do it as a sign of respect and to especially greet those individuals whom I know. Most return the sentiment. Two of my favorite individuals I interact with at work are on the custodial staff. We will call them Kim and Sherry. Both are extremely friendly and always ask how my day is and how things are going. Kim always greets me with a smile and wishes me a good day and a good weekend. Sherry will tell me about her weekend plans and how things are going with their staff. I genuinely enjoy standing and speaking with both for a few minutes.

One day, as we were speaking, both randomly thanked me. I was perplexed and asked why I was being thanked. Sherry informed me that I am always so friendly and always speak and smile when I pass them in the hall. Kim then told me that I am one of the few who does. I asked them to further explain. They told me that they greet everyone who passes and many will lower their head, or pretend like they didn’t hear them. It was obvious to me, and which they proceeded to share with me, that this was done because they are part of the custodial staff and I guess what others would consider not worthy of their attention.

This wasn’t a shock to me because I have witnessed this behavior myself. Imagine that. Ignoring someone on the false pretense that one is of higher social-economic standing and missing out on an opportunity to get to know a wonderful person. Their loss. Where does this sense of entitlement come from? Is it some sort of measure to hide one’s own insecurity in an attempt to make one feel better about themselves?

I told the ladies not to worry about it and that they didn’t need to thank me for acting civil. It was my pleasure to speak to them. These people who treated them in this manner, ironically, likely aren’t worthy of THEIR time.

So here is to you Kim and Sherry! Thank you for all your hard work, diligence, and dedication to your job. And, lastly, thanks to always putting a smile on my face and giving a kind word to brighten my day. It is always appreciated – especially on those tough ones!

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