Courtesy: Anything But Common
By Kendyl, age 17, Tennessee
I wear a pastel T-shirt covered with stains and eyes that are perpetually glued to the clock. My fingers drum across the pink countertops, and I try to keep my eyes away from the several cameras in the room, despising the feeling of being watched. When the tiny bell above the glass door tinkles, I jump to take the customer's order, desperate to do anything to pass the time, even if it means constructing another banana split.
The man badly needs a haircut and has a beard that makes me think of a bear. I perkily trill, "What can I get for you?" He looks startled and mumbles a request for a strawberry banana smoothie.
Little did I know that one seemingly innocuous smoothie would result in my termination.
You see, this man found my smoothie to be unacceptable. He returned to the shop thirty minutes later to complain of its lack of smoothness. We gave him a refund, but he filed a complaint online, which went all the way to corporate. A few bad words from a customer and I was gone.
I promise that I'm not unnecessarily ranting about what happened to me. I have a point. I see more and more what a rude society we have become, particularly teenagers. We tend to forget those around us and focus solely on what's going on in our own lives. Common courtesy is threatening to become extinct.
I'm far from innocent myself. Before I got my job, I'd complain about mistakes in my order and needing refunds just as much as anyone, but it's crazy how upset and disrespectful people can get over ice cream of all things.
Look back on how you've treated people. Did you sneak out of the restaurant without tipping because you didn't feel like spotting a couple bucks? Did you snap at the worker at the register because you were in a hurry? Or did you file a complaint over something little just to get someone in trouble?
I needed that money. Scholarships can only get you so far, and I was saving up for college. Nowhere else in my rinky-dink down was hiring. That guy won't know how he hurt me, but I will never hurt a stranger the way he did.
It's not my place to give anyone a moral spanking, but few of us truly realize how we affect others. A simple compliment can make somebody's day. So rise above the masses and just be nice. It might go further than you think.