Well-raised individuals are instructed from an early age to say it. It can be heartfelt or empty ritual. But rarely do we think of saying “thank you” it as a form of self-expression, like an unbearable itch that has to be scratched. Not merely an obligation but a primal urge to convey one’s feelings.
We should recognize that “thank you” can be fraught with so much meaning from time to time. And such instances aren’t engendered only by surgeons who save our lives or soldiers who do our fighting.
This came to mind tonight as I popped into Starbucks to get one of their free Pick Of The Week apps for my young son, which are normally displayed next to the cream, sugar, napkins, etc. No sooner did I realized that none were on display that a barista called out to me from behind the counter.
“May I help you?” he said. I explained what I was looking for and he had one of his colleagues assist me (it turned out they didn’t have any at that time).
What impressed me wasn’t so much that he volunteered his assistance so much as his lack of hesitation. He was like the person who doesn’t wait to see how much someone struggles opening a door before lending assistance.
I returned to my son impressed with this barista but also feeling the need to express to him my gratitude for his proactive approach.
Sometimes thank you should represent more than a friendly way of saying “this conversation is over”. More, even, than “I’m grateful to you”. Sometimes “Thank you” should mean “There’s something I have to tell you”.
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