Just a reminder: be nice to service people

I was walking in a mall in Makati, on my way to meet my friends, when I heard a loud voice from one of the fancy restaurants. A man was shouting at a waiter. I walked a little slower to eavesdrop but I couldn’t figure out what happened because the man was just shouting obscenities. I found it tasteless since the man was reminding the service crew where they are, while he screamed curses that would better suit a kanto than an upscale mall. His family was just sitting there, presumably embarrassed.

Here’s a reminder that shouldn’t even be a reminder: be kind to everyone, especially service people.

These are the people who have to work long shifts while receiving low pay. Many of them are contractual so they don’t have access to government-mandated benefits like 13th month pay and medical. Worse, they don’t know where they’ll be if they’re not renewed.

On top of that, they have to deal with a wide mix of customers. Some will be nice, but there will be others who see them as nothing more than the help. And then of course, there are the rude customers like the one I saw in the mall.

Sure, some service crew can be a little grumpy but we have to increase our patience, especially during the holidays. Mall hours have been extended, there are more people eating out and shopping, and they have been probably asked to work longer shifts. Let’s continue to be nice even if they don’t greet us with a smile or our orders take a little longer.

There are benefits to being nice to people working in the service industry. Once, at a fastfood restaurant, the crew gave me a cup of gravy usually given for a bucket of chicken even if I only ordered a two-piece (I confirmed this when I tried to ask for the same cup the next time I was there and was served by someone else). At another chain, the crew requested for a thigh part even if I didn’t ask for it. In the same branch, I saw another crew member look at the pieces of chicken ready to be served, then went to the kitchen and came back with a thigh part. At the food kiosk I visit after I go to the gym, the crew member always gives me extra sauce without my asking for it.

It’s important to remember that we should be nice not because we want stellar service or because we want bigger and better servings. We should be kind because we’re kind and because we know we are all equal. Just like us, they’re working hard to provide for their families. They put up with so much during the day, let’s not add to their stress. We can make their lives a little easier by smiling, greeting them a good morning, and saying thank you.

I don’t know what happened to set the guy in Makati off. Maybe his order came late? He got the wrong dish? Whatever happened, the waiter didn’t deserve that kind of treatment. No one does. So this Christmas, the best gift you can give everyone is kindness. It costs nothing and means a lot to the receiver. More importantly, we should do this every day of the year.






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