This is easy, makes people feel INCREDIBLE – and nobody does it

Walking into the food court, I looked over at the Greek place and saw that the man wasn’t even there. Relief flooded my chest.

That solves it, I thought – but then, I noticed him. Not behind the counter but in the kitchen area at the back.
As I passed, I could tell he hadn’t seen me. Pushing my way into the dingy washrooms, with the grip of anxiety in my chest, I began my internal battle.

Don’t bother. He doesn’t even know you’re here. You’re scared of talking to strangers, and it’s not a big deal.
The tension released a little.
But, Marsh, it’s the nice thing to do. You’d like it if you were him. And the tightness came back.

Three days before, my mum and I had been in the same food court.

She was on a work trip to Montreal, and I’d taken the five hour train up to join her for a few days. We were staying in a hotel and most evenings, had dinner plans with her colleagues. The one night we didn’t, the two of us were wandering around the Old Town. Browsing in the Christmas shop, I asked where we should go to eat.

She screwed her face up, “Maybe we shouldn’t go out for dinner. Maybe we should just stay in the hotel?”
“Ooh!” I squeaked – there are few things I get more excited about than staying in on holiday. “We could get take out and rent a movie off iTunes! We could rent Room!” We’d both read (and loved) the book. It was settled.

Wandering up Rue Notre-Dame, we came across the food court. Inside, a Subway, a Starbucks and – gold! – a Greek take-out place. As we walked up, the owner – a short, cheerful, bald gentleman in his fifties – called, “Bonsoir! What would you ladies like?” Growing up, my ma and I had taken almost yearly trips to Greece, and his accent was comfortingly familiar.

My mum chose the moussaka and I got a Greek salad. We spoke the little of the language we knew (“Ka la? Efharisto!”), and he asked where we were from.

That night, we sat up in bed and ate from our laps, watching the movie.
“Oh my God!” I kept saying. “This is DELICIOUS! Greek salad is NEVER this good from takeaways!”
“Mine too!”
“I’m SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW!” I cried, and squeezed her hand. “I’m SO glad we didn’t go out for dinner!!”

Three days later, my mum was at work. I’d come back to the Christmas shop to get an ornament that had been calling my name since our first visit (Remember how i LOVE Christmas?). And now, I was going for a wee in the food court toilets.

Coming out of the washrooms, I passed by the front of the Greek takeout. The man was still up the back.

Marsh…

I took a breath, and walked up to the counter. Small grip of fear in my stomach. For all my talking on stage and being on videos, I have a crippling phobia of talking to strangers – and virtual strangers.

He came out from the back and stood behind the glass of the food covering, no recognition on his face.
Bonjour Mademoiselle! What can I get you?”

I pushed through my discomfort, “Hi! I’m sorry, I’m not here to buy anything.”
He frowned and tilted his head, and I continued. “I just wanted to say thank you. My mum and I came here the other night, and got food from you to take out. I just wanted to tell you that it was so delicious, SO good.”

Suddenly, everything about him melted into warmth. His eyebrows shot up, and a huge grin spread across his face. He walked to the counter, where we could see each other better.
“Please come here!”

I did, and he stuck his hand out. When I reached mine in response, he took it in his soft, giant ones, a warm, doughy clasp. 

Thank you.” I felt like he was looking into my soul. “Where are you from?”
“London. But I live in Toronto.”
“And how long are you in Montreal for?”

It seemed clear that he wasn’t even particularly interested. He just wanted to give me something in return.

I told him, then said, “Anyway, I have to go. But I just wanted to say thank you SO much. Your food was really lovely.”

He grinned again. He looked a bit like he might cry. “Thank you.”

I smiled, let go and started to leave. Then, turning around, I called “Efharisto!” – and he laughed a joyful little laugh.

I walked out into the afternoon sun, beaming.

 

I wholly believe that all anybody truly wants in life are two things:

First, to be seen and heard and truly understood – and that’s what to be loved is.

And secondly, to feel like they’ve been of service. They’ve justified their existence on the planet, by leaving it better off than they found it.

By taking the time to thank someone – by taking the time to tell them that they helped you, or made you happy, or gave you comfort, or brought delight into your life – you’re giving them the gift of making them feel like they’ve been of service.

This, in turn, is an act of service. Which is why it feels so good.

My request: please thank someone today, who didn’t know that they made your life better.
It could be for something tiny. Drop them an email. Send them a card. Post on their Facebook wall. Text them.

It’ll make a huge difference to you both.

People LONG to feel like they made the world a better place.
Thank someone today. Tell them they did.

(TWEET THIS HERE!)

If you’d like to, report back in the comments below. Or you can just let me know what you think about this – whether or not it’s something you do already.

Thanks so much for reading! If you know someone who you think would enjoy this story – maybe even the person you’re thanking! – you can share it with them using one of the round buttons below. Or click HERE to share it on Twitter, or HERE to share it on Facebook.

If you’d like to use stories from your life to explain your requests to your readers or listeners – or to show them the power of the methods you teach – then I’d love to help you. Have a look how, here: yesyesmarsha.com/storycoaching

You rule!

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

 

 

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Photo Credits: subliculous and LeonArts.at, both via Compfight cc

6 Comments

  • Kellie Sharpe

    Reply Reply June 8, 2016

    Hi, Marsha! This is a great post! I have a personal rule that every time I leave the house (or wherever I happen to be staying) I MUST find at least three ways to compliment or acknowledge someone in a personal way. If it’s nothing more than a compliment on nail polish color or telling someone they have a bright smile, it has the power to change their day for the better.

    People just need to be seen, to know you looked at them, not through them.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Kelly, you are a constant delight, and this new fact about you makes me like you EVEN MORE.

      So happy you exist.

      xxxyyM

  • Alli Parfenov

    Reply Reply June 8, 2016

    Marsha! So so awesome. Picturing you walking around Montreal brought me right back to my visit there last year too, yay! Old town is so so beautiful, our own piece of Europe right in North America (actually much of Montreal felt like that to me). Before reading this post today I’ve received two magical thank yous and I totally agree that we all desire to be seen, heard and of service. I hadn’t thought about it quite like that.

    As I think about putting this into action it’s interesting how thanking someone for a seemingly everyday thing is actually different than telling someone I admire them in some way. Will be tuned in to the details as I notice the difference! Thank YOU for pointing it out. :)

    (Y) End credit reader, all the way!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Alli!

      It’s SO European, isn’t it? I felt like every two steps, I was gasping at yet another beautiful building.

      And I think you’re absolutely right on how the everyday thing compliments are different from the big gun ones. I guess it’s saying to someone, “Just from the way you move through the world, you make it better”, which shows them they don’t even have to make a supreme effort to be magical.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! DELIGHTED to have you not just in the Yes Yes Family, but in End Credit-Reading Inner Circle (YYF,ECRIC!)

      xxyyM

  • Ros

    Reply Reply June 8, 2016

    Marsha, what a wonderful post!

    My usual morning routine is to make myself coffee then start sorting my emails. I usually glance at the first few lines, sort what action to take then move to the next.

    Well, I did that with yours but then read a few more lines and then I found myself wanting to know everything. I read every single word, yes right through to the final credits. My day now has a totally different feel. I was dragging my feet, not wanting to start my day’s work but now am starting it with a smile.

    THANK YOU MARSHA! You are fabulous!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Ros!! What WORDS!! You’ve just made MY day!

      Thank you so much. And thanks for taking the time to let me know, it really means a TON!

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