I was seven and it was Christmas Eve. My family was on our way home from caroling. We had run out of gas, and pulling into the local full-service station, I recognized the attendant as an older brother of a classmate. He seemed less than thrilled to be out in the cold pumping gas.
“Premium, please.” The attendant unlocked the gas cap, inserted the pump and locked the freezing metal pump handle. He took the squeegee out of the water bucket, hitting the bucket once, as you would to drain excess water. The windows did not get washed and the hitting became repetitive. It was evident this was the last place he wanted to be.
My dad noted the dispirited action. In my naivety, I quickly chimed in, “Wouldn’t YOU be doing the same [given the circumstances]?” My dad replied “Absolutely not. If it were me, I would be wearing a Santa hat, handing out candy canes, happily wishing everyone a Merry Christmas – even if I were stuck pumping gas. That’s customer service 101.”
It’s a memory and principle I carry with me to this day.