Luther’s Lament: It’s not cruel to be kind

by Kirk Luther, Publisher, The New Irmo News

I stepped into a local restaurant this morning to grab a cup of coffee and watched an interaction between a customer and one of the waitresses.

The waitress was as nice as could be while trying to explain to a customer that there were napkins already in his take-out bag. He insisted that she give him a handful of napkins so she relented. Now it could have just ended there but the customer had to make a snarky remark towards the waitress before walking out the door. This led to a conversation about how the staff of the restaurant and any other service-oriented business has been seeing and unfortunately becoming used to rudeness and verbal abuse from customers.  

A friend of mine took their six-year-old granddaughter to purchase a doughnut at the local doughnut shop. She wanted to see all those temptations lined up with their pretty colors and make a ‘grown up’ decision on her own for that bite of sugary sweetness. When they entered the shop to make their choice a member of the staff said that they couldn’t be inside the store and would only be able to purchase doughnuts in the drive-thru. Of course, the six-year-old didn’t understand why grandma was fuming and taking her out of the store before she could make a selection. At another restaurant, a special needs employee was calling out numbers for customers to pick up their orders. He couldn’t quite get it right but most people understood that he was doing the best he could. Until that one moron who thought he should say something because he didn’t call his number correctly. I give it to the kid as he just smiled and told the man ’thank you’ and called out the next number. Now that was class.

Deep breaths people. Granted, COVID was and is downright scary. It shut down the world, changing how we deal with everyday ’taken for granted’ tasks and spooked us into believing it hides in our automobiles. I still see folks all by themselves driving around town while wearing a mask. COVID is single-handedly responsible for an IQ loss of at least 25 points in our social skills set. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about common sense and remembering that we all need to grow up and be more responsible. 

The Golden Rule taught us to ‘do unto others as we would have them do unto us’. We used to say please and thank you, open the door for women and the elderly, smiled and said hello as we passed someone on the street. These common courtesies seem to have disappeared about the same time as our workforce did. The next time that you are relying on someone’s service, try saying a kind word and just smile and be thankful that they are even there to help.