Kind or

Hello in there—I trust you’re staying well. One day recently, a young server (I’ll call him Kevin) asked me kindly, as I was waiting for the food, “So how are you doing in this crazy world today?” I told him—because he seemed genuinely interested—that I got to have a Zoom meeting that morning with two of my grandkids, who colored most of the time. I told Kevin it was the most minimalist Zoom meeting ever. “You watched your grandkids coloring; that’s so cool,” he said, telling me he stays pretty busy all day with work plus deliveries but enjoys getting online with friends and family after that. A few minutes later, he actually bowed as he handed me my box of food, which made me feel like a princess. With dismay, though, I notice (this is the third time it’s happened in the pandemic) there’s a new ubercool thing done to me by other servers. It suddenly seems okay to be snarky to me, a customer who has just looked the server in the eye and said, “Thank you so much for being here.” In a rapid-fire under-the-breath retort, the server rhetorically asks, “Do-I-have-a-choice?” Then as if putting a stamped foot on the question, the ubercool cashier smiles ironically, leaving me to wonder, Did I hear that correctly? It’s so rude, so unnecessarily mean. I want to tell them, “Actually, you do have a choice. You can be kind, or you can be snarky. I know it’s hard being here in this crazy world. But you can be like Kevin with a little more effort. Or not. You can change a life today, either way. What’s it gonna be?”
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