Did you play it forward today?

Did you randomly smile and say thank you? Did you wait patiently for the Sandwich or Pizza Artisan at your favorite takeout restaurant? Did you thank the Barista who quickly and calmly filled your order while being overwhelmed by inpatient customers?

Is it a sign of frustrating times economically or socially? Does the milk of human kindness, camaraderie, or co-existence often get lost in your day?

This brings me to a time about 20 or 25 years ago while on assignment in Panama City Beach, FL. Friends who lived there took me to the local Miami Sub® Restaurant and advised me to watch my sub in the making by a true Artisan. The older man in the kitchen was very quiet and so intense. My friends told me that he was emotionally challenged, had been homeless, and the owner of the shop hired him with few questions asked. This gentle man, who should have been retired and lazing on the beach, made each sandwich a challenge and His Master Piece. Each layer of the ingredients and the condiments were place as if the roll was a canvas and he was a master painter. Sure he took a bit longer than the average worker, but when he was done and handed it to you, the pride of a job well done in his look was both humbling and overwhelming.

I carry this experience with me to this day and try to use it in managing both crew members and projects. Whether I am at a fast food restaurant, a casual or formal sit-down restaurant, or a vendor’s manufacturing floor, I remember my sub and the man who made it those many years ago.

When I first ventured into the field of Quality, my supervisor assured me that it is harder for a person to do a job wrong than do it correctly and professionally. Yes, a person might be stressed out, harried, or just plain tired, but the likelihood of a serious mistake is slim. On rare occasion an individual might be so disturbed that sabotage occurs, I agree. But we should discount that extreme and just play it forward every day.

Who knows what a smile, hello, or thank you might do for a stranger?

©Donald Crusan 11-Nov-14

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