Over the last few days of vacation, I’ve seen a Delta stewardess speak with arrogance (an exaggerated display of one’s own importance) and a Grand Canyon bus driver shout instructions with anger.  Their tones bordered on abuse. Their voices were harsh.  Why?  What was it that caused them to act irresponsibly toward those they had been asked to serve?

Differing in tone and voice, I’ve seen Elyse for 2-3 hours answer questions from clueless tourists ( myself being one) on a 3 mile hike in the red rocks of Arizona.  And, I’ve enjoyed the kindness of Louise, a checkout clerk in a local health foods market.  I also learned that she won employee of the quarter because of her joyful disposition toward those for whom she bagged groceries.

Why?  What was it that caused these lades to force good attitudes for the benefit of others?  We’ll never know for sure.  Actually, I really don’t know if their attitudes were forced despite what might seem like silly questions, hot weather, and demanding people wanting two less plastic bags for their purchases.

A stewardess, a bus driver, a hiking guide, and a cashier – hardly occupations people think about when finding heroines or villains.  Which brings me to just what is a heroine (or hero)?

The dictionary I have on my Apple MacBook says for heroine, “A woman admired or idealized for her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” Well that’s Elyse and Lousie.  They are heroines in everyday life.  The ones we meet with noble qualities.  Back to the dictionary I find that their “noble” qualities are “fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.”

So, did Elyse and Louise find the motivating root of their good qualities in money, pride, or recognition – don’t think so.  These ladies seemed to find meaning from being a certain way (see Seth Godin’s book Linchpin).  And, that way was kind and warmhearted.  They rose above their situations and those of their customers to remain the persons they were – considerate, patient people.

The unnamed villains?  The stewardess and bus driver – individuals responsible for harm or damage – villains according to the same dictionary.  The question to ask is, “What did they harm?

The stewardess harmed Delta’s image and one passenger’s flight.  She also provided other passengers within hearing range a graceless moment of travel.
And, finally she reinforced a habit ingrained for future offenses.  The bus driver ruined a memorable and small part of enjoying The Grand Canyon.  And, while his tone was not directed at me, I wanted to fight him (my wife stopped me) with words of restraint – which is a kind way of saying I wanted to ‘lay into him’ and protect the passengers he abused.  If all the drivers and service folk behaved with outstanding tone, I’ll bet that revenues from concessions, etc. would increase at the Grand Canyon.
So, the tone and character of those of us who serve and sell to people matters.  Deeper, it’s significant what really resides in the moral fiber and hearts of ourselves and the people we hire.  This makes a profitable difference in the quality and financial return of a business and its sales and service forays.  Be different.  Be a hero.  Be a heroine.  You can.  Lance.

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