Lasting Impression

There was a small and hungry group of us at a restaurant one pre-pandemic night asking the usual menu questions of a good natured young waitress. I don’t recall what I’d ordered or much else about the evening for that matter but I remember the impression made on me by our server. She had perfected a blend of friendly attitude, lighthearted sense of humor, and attentive service. Her responses to our party never betrayed an ounce of impatience with our copious and likely annoying requests.

We were from out of town and in need of a meal at a decent restaurant, simple as that. But our server’s mere presence set a pleasant tone, thankfully offsetting the usual complaints of one of our foursome. She took it in stride as she managed our needs along with those of the other diners seated in her station.

At the end of the night when our check arrived I thanked her for her attentive service—even going so far as to tell her that she was the best server I’d ever encountered—at any restaurant I had ever been to (true to this day). With a hand to her heart and eyes welling up with tears she said, “Thank you so much, this was my first day.“

Her first day?

Its not often that our one-time encounters become game changers let alone any kind of memorable occurrence for others. And yet our tone, our attitude, our demeanor has the potential to leave a lingering impression. The potential is there to create a “moment.”

So I ask you, who will you brush past in the next day or so that might be lifted by your well timed smile, your silent but knowing acknowledgement, your respectfully maintaining a good social distance or other thoughtful gesture?

Even our smallest considerate actions may leave a pleasantly positive impression on someone we meet. We may lift someone’s spirit for a moment or a lifetime. For some it may come as second nature. For some it may need to be cultivated from mindful intent. Sometimes it will come from being honed over time and then sometimes it will come on our first day.