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Catch someone in the act ... of doing something well

By DONNA CRONK - dcronk@thecouriertimes.com

Here’s what I know: When working with the public, you will likely hear complaints more often than you do compliments.

Here’s what I know as a member of the public: I am no different. I will speak up when the product I ordered is inferior and needs to go back, or tell my husband or friend when there’s something that bugs me about mankind – or about the state of Indiana roads.

Recently I waited in line to check out groceries. The line was long but I had used this cashier before and knew she was worth the wait. She’s a talker, yes, but words don’t slow her in the least. Once I overheard her say that she has customers who time their shopping with her working schedule so they can use her line. She is proud of this; proud of doing her work well.

One day I overheard her talking about a brother who had been promoted as a heating-and-cooling professional. It was a hot day, and that’s how the topic came up. She told the customer ahead of me that he was good at what he did, and as a result, in high demand. He had an offer to work somewhere else but his employer asked him what it would take to keep him. He got a raise and a promotion.

When it was my turn to check out, I watched this woman work. She not only rang up my items quickly, but skillfully loaded them into my cloth bags, making sure they were not too heavy, yet full. Her work was equal parts experience, talent and caring about doing her job right. I complimented her on her expertise.

“I want to be the best,” she said of her work. “I look at it as a puzzle.”

The dried-goods boxes were arranged almost as art. The colds placed together, the canned goods dispersed just right, the breads fluffy, the eggs unbroken.

I wanted to get home and put everything away, but first, a detour to the service desk. I wanted to compliment this clerk on her service in an official way, and let her employer know how much I appreciated her bright outlook, work ethic, speed and skill.

The clerk there was happy to give me a form to fill out and I was happy to complete it. From there, I have no idea what happened, but something good, I hope. Maybe it was a supervisor’s compliment, or a kind word from the store manager letting the line clerk know she had been caught in the act of doing something well.

I would like to meet the mama of this clerk and her brother. I’d say she did a good deal right in raising them.

Several years ago I had an above-and-beyond experience at the bank drive-thru window. I had turned off the engine and when I went to start my van, nothing happened. The female teller told me to hold on, that she had jumper cables in her vehicle. Out she came, pulling her truck around to my van – and jumped it! Soon I was on my way, destined for a new battery.

I called the bank’s main office to report this amazing teller’s work in saving the day, not to mention saving me a service or even towing bill.

Sometime later another bank employee told me that because of my call, the teller I reported was given special recognition and a special meal for her effort. That made me happy.

Today I challenge you to catch someone doing something right. And report them for it!

We’re each a member of the public. So it’s on us to help make our corner of the world a better place to live, work and be a human being. And wouldn’t it be nice to make someone’s day in the process?

Donna Cronk is Neighbors Editor at The Courier-Times. She also edits the quarterly her magazine for women.