Derek is a clerk at the gas station closest to my house. I patronize it for gas and food items weekly. I am not a patient person and going to the store is an errand that needs to be accomplished as quickly as possible. The experience should be efficient and routine:
I walk in grab a gallon of milk checking to make sure it has the best date on it. Set in on the counter and grab my card.
“Do you have a rewards card?”
“No,” as I slide my card through the reader.
“Debit or credit?”
“Credit” as I wait for the transaction to go through.
“Do you want a receipt?”
“Have a nice day.” or some other meaningless greeting as I am already heading toward the door in less than two minutes from the time I entered. When I get in my car if the same song is still on the radio I know that it was the perfect experience for the task driven person that I am.
The first time Derek ran my transaction was different. While I waited for the card to go through he said
“Free high five?” while holding up his hand.
He continued undeterred, “fist bump?” pointing his fist toward me.
“No thanks,” smiling but still too uncomfortable making contact with a stranger.
“Elbows?” as he held out his arm towards me. I politely refused, but left feeling happy and truly appreciating his enthusiasm in what most people consider a boring job.
Every time I buy milk I find myself hoping Derek is working. I am still in a hurry, but I do give him “knuckles” now. I also have noticed that some of the other clerks are friendlier and seems like his enthusiasm has rubbed off on them. How many people look forward to seeing a store clerk?
I have a student who gives me high fives sometimes. She asks for them. Just for fun and it is her way of being cheerful. I have started giving them out to other students. It is a simple act, but they like it.
As the year winds down I find myself nagging some students to stay on task or finish work that they need to get done to earn credit. It is for their own good I tell myself, but it is not effective. It makes interactions with me unpleasant. This week I am going to give more high fives and encourage students to get stuff done in a positive way.
Like me, some students might say “no thanks” the first time, but I will keep it up to encourage them to finish strong and bring a smile to their face.
This video also influenced me in regards to this post. It is worth ten minutes of your time if you haven’t seen it.