A while ago my husband fell sick and as a treat I promised to buy him his favorite pasta for dinner. The place that makes the pasta actually allows you to pick the ingredients of your pasta by telling the chef as he cooks what to add. Therefore it all depends on what you pick and how cooperative the chef is.
As I queued in line to order the pasta I noticed the man in front of me having a hard time ordering his pasta because it seemed the chef was really uncooperative with him. He asked for a number of additions to his pasta and the chef just seemed not to give him what he asked for. So at the first glance I assumed the chef was being nasty but as I closely observed the man was actually making horrible remarks to the chef and was still insisting on adding more ingredients to the pasta despite his unkind behavior.
Initially I assumed that the chef would treat me unkindly too since it clearly seemed he was not in a good mood and that I would end up with a lousy pasta. Then I shifted my mindset. I put myself in his shoes and imagined if I were him. The chef may have been going through a bad day, his job my not have been giving him what he needs, maybe even he was going through some family problems. On top of that a customer was being unkind to him. Why would he go the extra mile for someone like that. I did not know the man but for all I knew he was the one in need of kindness and I wanted the perfect pasta for my husband.
As I started the order, I asked the chef how he was doing. I asked and asked kindly about the way the ingredients were prepared and praised the chef for ensuring its freshness. I ensured the man had a smile on his face before I began my order. The chef just went over and above the expected when it came to preparing the pasta I was ordering. That pasta was one of the best pastas we ever tasted and my husband really did get a good treat.
So what I realized is the following:
– Sometimes we expect certain results based on appearances but we can be wrong
– An act of kindness – even a smile – can go a long way
– People are nice but they need to be treated with respect before they show respect
– We can get a lot more if we only thought a little bit more about what others needed
Co-active Coach (in training)