Respect, everyone wants it. Everyone deserves it. Just because someone doesn’t have as much money as you do, as much status in their role at work, or even as nice clothes doesn’t mean that they are less deserving than you are. Many times it means quite the opposite. There are a lot of hard working genuine people in the world. They have a lot of dignity, and they treat others with kindness.
The crew on our boat this past week were the quiet hardworking folks. Our captain and the first mate always kept the boat and the zodiak on course. The cabin steward kept the place clean, made up our beds, always had coffee and food served perfectly (he even folded the napkins just so!) and was ready with a joke. The engineer fixed everything with a smile. And the cook. Oh man, Eddie wasn’t just a cook, he was a chef – the food he prepared was superb. He was professionally trained in Columbia. He used to own a restaurant but gave it up because he couldn’t find good help long term. He decided to cook on a boat.
Eddie also is diabetic, that’s a hard sentence for a chef to bear. So is my husband. Apparently blood glucose testing meters and strips are not the norm in Ecuador and he noticed we brought one and asked to be tested. To make a long story short, after a week of talking to Eddie through a translator, and through pantomime communication and lots of testing we made a close friend. It makes me smile just thinking about him wishing me a good morning and asking me how I was doing. Midway through the trip my husband gave Eddie his spare blood glucose meter and enough testing strips to last him over a month. He educated Eddie in how to test his glucose and about keeping his blood sugar stable.
As for the rest of the crew, for Christmas we packed some chocolate treats to share. I made sure to share them first with the crew before the other passengers. These guys were working over the holidays. They weren’t on vacation like the rest of us. Feliz Navidad. As the week progressed, we pulled out more “American” snacks – and always put them out for the crew first.
All of this didn’t seem like much to me. We could easily afford it. It was the right thing to do. Neither one of us expected anything in return.
Some of our vacationing shipmates seemed to think otherwise. Instead of connecting with they crew they barked orders at them. “Get me coffee!”. “We didn’t like dinner – we want beans and rice tomorrow”. Where was the “please” or “por favor”? Where was the “thank you/gracias”? It wasn’t forthcoming. Our guide made a point of pointing this out to them. It fell on deaf ears. For some people on our trip, our crew was relegated to the role of the invisible servant.
At the end of the trip, the crew presented me with a Club Deportivo El Nacional Team jersey. I was floored. I wasn’t expecting anything in return. All of the crew had the same jersey. I have some terrific photos of me with some of them all dressed alike. The funny thing is that these same folks who treated the crew like servants kept asking why they gave me the jersey. I suspect that they thought they would get one too. It was obvious to me – clear as the nose on your face.
My question for you: how do you treat your office manager, your secretary, your support personnel? Do you bark orders at them? Do you really appreciate what they do? Do you try to connect with them? If not – why not? What could it hurt? I am sure that it would help.