The Housekeeper and the Hand ShakePosted on Dec 7, 2013
As I returned to my room after the Young Farmer Luncheon on Friday, I saw three ladies from the Galt House Housekeeping staff in the hallway. As I walked closer, a lady that was wearing a Farm Bureau Annual Meeting nametag exited her room and made her way toward the three women. I expected she would ask for an extra towel or bottle of shampoo. But instead she gave me the inspiration for my final guest blog this week.
Nearing the ladies, this Farm Bureau member handed one of the employees some money. “I’m not sure if we will be leaving tonight or in the morning, but I wanted to give you this and say thank you.” Tipping housekeeping is nothing new, though I think we don’t do it as much as we should. But usually we leave a few dollars on the desk in our room. This lady took the time to hand the money directly to the person who had made the beds and wiped down the mirrors during her stay. This direct expression of appreciation took the Galt House employee by surprise. She expressed her thanks multiple times and the sincerity in her voice was evident. I walked passed them with a huge smile on my face, because witnessing moments like this are priceless.
During the President’s Reception on Friday night all the State Directors lined up inside the doors and greeted those entering the beautifully decorated ballroom. As we shook hands and wished Merry Christmas, we were allowed the chance to show how much we appreciate the people who are the backbone of this organization. While each moment was a brief encounter, the exchange was genuine with every smile. The members may have come for the food, but I hope they left knowing that the entire Board values the time and effort they give at the county, district, and state level, and that we consider them all friends.
We don’t get to see enough face-to-face expressions of gratitude. Technology has made life easier on many levels, but sometimes we lose the feeling that can only come from saying thank you directly to someone. You can email a thank you, but you can’t look them in the eye and truly show your appreciation through a computer message.
This week Kentucky Farm Bureau spent time saying thank you. You heard it during President Haney’s speech as he thanked the Federation and Insurance staff for their dedication to their work. Commissioner Comer encouraged everyone to thank a farmer for the great year we have experienced in Kentucky agriculture. Outstanding Farm Bureau Youth contestants said thank you to parents and teachers in their presentations. Sponsors who gave money and gifts to contest participants were recognized in signage and during meal functions. And all year long county Farm Bureau’s host events to thank community supporters for all they do.
Farming is largely an occupation that favors those who are independent. Farmers are self-starters; they don’t mind to do a job themselves, and they don’t have to gather a committee together to make every decision (trust me, as a government employee, I can’t tell you how much I envy that one). But farmers appreciate when a neighbor comes over to help get up the cows, bring in a load of hay ahead of the rain, or watch the farm while they are away. And when the work is over they say thank you sincerely, because the assistance was given sincerely. No money is exchanged and no record is kept as to the hours donated, but when that neighbor needs a hand, they will be there to return the favor.
One of the great values we teach in agriculture is the appreciation of others. Regardless if it is a close friend or a complete stranger, taking a moment to acknowledge others’ efforts is part of who we are. While we call it good manners, it is so much more. These moments are when we tell people we recognize what they do and the way in which they do it. And the person sending and receiving this exchange both benefit. We like to let others know when we notice the pride they take in what they do, as much as we like hearing other tell us the same.
I hope as you travel back home that you will resolve to do more thanking and to live life where people will do the same for you. The holiday season brings out the best in the human spirit. We donate toys, take baked goods to the nursing home, and put some extra cash in the offering plate. But what about December 26th? Imagine if we brought the compassion and gratitude we show during the holidays and made it common every day.
Going back to what I witnessed in the hallway yesterday. As the lady returned to her room she stopped, turned to the still slightly shocked housekeeper and said, “And have a Merry Christmas.” The response back was simple, “Merry Christmas to you too.” Five seconds. That exchange took less time than it takes to turn on the television, but I guarantee you the impression remains. I hope that you will always show those around you know how much their efforts mean to you. Truly, the things that don’t cost us a dime carry more value than anything else we can give.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And remember to pick up some White Castles on the way home for the kids…