I’m here in beautiful Santa Monica, CA for the next few days. I’ll be shooting videos with an awesome company called MindValley, and then will be on Nancy Grace on Monday (omg) talking about mental health.
Yesterday when I landed at LAX airport after a three hour flight, I took a shuttle to the AVIS rental car location where I needed to pick up my car for the week.
The line was LONG. Like out the door long..
And if you’re anything like me, you get exhausted from traveling.
I was contemplating going with another company but I figured since this was a busy time of day that there would be lines everywhere. I saw a man wearing an AVIS shirt standing outside. His job, I imagine was to pull the cars around for customers. I went up to him and started asking him how long the line would be, and if there was another option for me—perhaps paying a little extra to get on the “AVIS Preferred” line where I could avoid the wait.
Normally, I don’t mind lines at all. It gives me a good opportunity to check emails, people watch, and sometimes just BE and watch what’s going on around me and within me. But that day, I was hungry (more like HANGRY= hungry + angry) and extremely tired, as I am sure everyone else on the line was too.
I struck up a conversation with this man (Reggie) and was telling him how I was literally going to die if I had to wait because I was so hungry and tired.
Before I tell you what happened next, you need to know that when I went up to him, I had absolutely no attachment or expectation. This was just me talking to another human being.
To my utter surprise, he leaned over and said, “Give me your license and credit card and let me see what I can do for you.”
So I did. He went inside and within a matter of minutes he pulled up with my car. He also threw in a free GPS which would normally cost $14/day to rent.
I went to give him a tip and only had a $20 so in my mind, I wasn’t about to ask him to break a $20—given the fact that he so generously helped me out. So I gave him the full amount of what I had.
As he was helping me set up my GPS I was curious and asked him, “Reggie, what made you help me out so graciously?”
He said, “Ma’am, people are so rude and disrespectful to me every day. They treat me like I don’t exist and I’m just here to serve them. I really appreciate your style and the way you approached me. It felt good to help you out.”
I shared this story on my Facebook page and received a few private messages. One of them was someone saying that I was “pretentious” and an “elitist” for thinking I could cut the line. Another message questioned me and my intention and stated “What made your circumstances warrant his (Reggie’s) action at the expense of others?”
I paused when I read these messages. A part of me felt ashamed. Another part of me felt like I did something wrong. Did I do something wrong? Was it wrong of me to essentially cut the whole line?
And then I remembered that kindness and generosity is a choice. When I went up to Reggie, I had no intention of cutting the line. I was talking to him like I would talk to a friend. I was simply stating how tired I was.
The fact that Reggie chose to help me was entirely up to him. He had no idea I was going to tip him and my gut tells me that even if I hadn’t tipped him, he would been okay with that.
It is so easy to overlook people who are in the service industry. I’ve witnessed on numerous occasions people yelling at customer service reps at the airport, people like Reggie who are simply there to assist, cashiers, housekeepers, and hotel staff.
To me, that is unacceptable. We’re all human and we all want to be treated with respect and dignity.
What happened yesterday wasn’t a coincidence or some act of manipulation.
It’s quite simple.
When you treat everyone with respect and kindness, regardless of their “status” or position in life, you feel better about yourself.
And hey, once in a while, you might just be able to surpass an entire line of folks waiting for a rental car. The perk for me wasn’t to get my car in five minutes (even though that was pretty damn awesome).
The perk for me was knowing that my way of showing up with another human being ignited the kindness and generosity in him. That to me is priceless.
There’s a great opportunity here to practice being kind no matter what, and not expecting anything in return. You might just be pleasantly surprised at how the Universe gifts you with moments of generosity when you least expect it.
Hope this inspires you to keep being your kind and loving self.
Have a great weekend!