There we sat like knots on a log, two late-40-something men bored and useless at one of the tediously never-ending Junior Auxiliary fundraisers, when my buddy offered a dubious reading recommendation.
“That new Truett Cathy book is pretty good. I think you’d enjoy it,” he said, staring off into space toward the luxury porta-potties apparently necessary for this particular outdoor charity event at the “ranch.”
“Chick-fil-A?” I responded, silently scoffing at the likelihood of some fast-food propaganda promo and how I might benefit from it.
“That’s him,” he said.
“Okay, I’ll check it out,” I lied.
“Hey, did you check out those porta potties?”
“Yep. Sweet. Very sweet. I think I’ll go back in and pee again.”
Two days later he shows up at my office Monday morning with his used, dog-eared copy.
Trapped. Great Caesar’s Ghost.
But I read it. And something stuck.
Truett Cathy was a fine man. He did a lot of good, instilled much goodwill, set an example for the kind of life to which I aspire. He had his haters. Who doesn’t these days?
But Cathy founded his business with good people. From corporate execs to the janitorial staff, everything was/is personal. And he successfully created an environment that makes people happy to work at Chick-fil-A. He wanted people to give customers heartfelt service with a genuine smile – the kind that comes naturally.
The next time you run through a Chick-fil-A, listen for a key word.
What do you hear at the speaker greeting? “Welcome to Chick-fil-A. It will be my pleasure to serve you. Order whenever you’re ready.”
Need ketchup? “It will be my pleasure.”
Soft drink too flat? “It’ll be my pleasure to replace that sir/ma’am.”
Cathy created an environment making it a pleasure for his employees to work there, and they pass their pleasure on to the customer. However you may feel about their public positions on certain issues, rarely will you have a bad experience at Chick-fil-A.
Civility’s rapid decay during the last two years has on occasion made me physically ill.
Through modeling from public figures of the highest profile, by way of mass media, the entertainment industry, the lingering effects of a recession from which some will never, ever recover, and the slow, drip, drip, conditioning it creates in a very numb society, it’s now easier to treat others with incredulous disdain than with kindness. We’re almost unconscious in our rude behavior.
The Resistance??? There are may things we need to resist now, and the players in and around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue may be our least worries. We must resist becoming void of all kindness and civility. The hard part is, no one can do it but you.
I made a decision in October than I will not bow to civil decay. That requires an intentional, conscious effort every day in taking responsibility for myself. Add to a plan of a balanced diet, exercise and spiritual well-being, this:
Intentional gratitude. I’m pausing for it several times a day now.
As I focus on what’s good, (especially people in my life) it actually requires less and less effort over time. It makes it much easier to take my eyes off myself and look outward.
Truth is, it makes almost everything a PLEASURE. Regularly, throughout the day, and with no force of thought I find myself in conversation regularly saying …
“It’s my pleasure.”
“The pleasure is mine.”
“It couldn’t be more of a pleasure.”
And I’m laughing as I write this, but I mean it. Things are much more a pleasure now than they were when I paid attention to all the garbage. I’m not going back into the mire. That behavior is unacceptable. I reject it. This is my Resistance.
And so in everything I now pursue, it’s become an unintentional mantra, and I wasn’t even going for that.
El Gusto es mio…
AND THAT’S A PLEASURE!