Monday, February 10, 2014

Good Works by Gratuity

Because I only made a couple of shopping trips for the holidays, I missed the chance to carry out a personal tradition of "a dollar in every kettle" for the Salvation Army bell ringers. I only remember seeing three kettles, so they benefited by my whopping $3.00 holiday contribution. Others could give more, I'm sure, but every time I see a volunteer ringing that little red bell people seem to be scurrying to avoid the opportunity. Why is that? Are we all just too shy or embarrassed to be seen giving back? 

GiveBackFilms recently made a series of short videos about the benefits we get when giving and receiving. From waiters, to hotel maids, homeless and more, the stories are brimming with hope. Who wouldn't be elated to discover hundreds of dollars where they might have wished for one or two. My question to you is, why do we have to see such astronomical examples of charity when we have chances all around us to do good in smallish increments? When was the last time you ordered takeout food, sat at a restaurant, had your bags carried by the shuttle bus driver? Sure, you could give these entry level workers a dollar or two, but how about five or maybe ten? Is there something you could give up this week in order to make an minimum-wage worker's day a little brighter? 

Last week, I was in Salt Lake City celebrating the birth of my granddaughter Evie and I took her auntie, my middle daughter Meredith to lunch. We paid for our lunch at the counter, and the servers would then deliver our soups and salads to the table. The manager was a little dazed when I asked him to re-print my receipt. "I need to add a gratuity," I said. So he complied and presented me with the receipt, to which I added a tiny ten percent gratuity for counter service. He looked at me surprised and said, "Thanks so much!" After our food was brought to the table, Meredith commented to me about the restaurant's notoriously bad service. I told her that I made an extra effort to tip the counter help and she wondered why I would tip for poor service. Just then, the restaurant manager came out with a free plate of macaroni and cheese with fruit cup for my three-year-old granddaughter Braelyn who was with us. She had already eaten at a previous stop, but was really happy to have her own plate and consumed it even on a semi-full tummy. She felt important, and I could see the restaurant manager still beaming from my small acknowledgement. I told Meredith that's why we pay it forward, because when people feel appreciated they generally do a much better job and both parties benefit. 

All four of my children, who are now grown, have worked part-time and sometimes even full time while attending college and/or career training. Those measly paychecks don't begin to cover expenses, nor do they reflect the arduous labor these young people contribute to the economy. Next time you eat out, pick up take-out food, have your bags carried, or receive service from other entry-level workers' efforts, consider dropping a dollar, five or ten. This will show your appreciation, and as a "pay it forward" good work you'll encourage these helpers to do their best--everyone wins!      

No comments: