“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
Almost everyday I face hundreds of people in my job at Copenhagen Airport. They are from everywhere in the world and they are traveling somewhere. Since I love chit-chatting with strangers and like to hear great stories I ask the people I serve pretty much everything from ‘how are you’ to ‘what’s the name of your cat’. However, there is a great difference in the enthusiasm, quality and happiness in their voices and in the languages they use. This made me wonder why some people tend to give me nothing to work with and others give me great experiences and a lot of interesting small talk.
Here’s what I found in the process.
1. Traveling vs. Holiday
The first thing I noticed was that the most enjoyable people to chit-chat with were typically traveling somewhere interesting. Beautiful places like Paris, Venice or California (people going to San Francisco might be the nicest of them all) and even places I have never heard of. On the other hand, the people going to charter vacation places like Mallorca or Thailand do not give me the same real enthusiasm as the travelers. The charter tourists typically have already been at their point of destination several times before. The travelers on the other hand tend to be ready to capture the world and ready to experience new things and new places.
2. Thankful vs. I-Dont-Care-About-You
Another interesting discovery I have done so far in this small in-my-head experiment is that some people seem so thankful for my presence and the way I serve them while others seem to believe I am an obstacle on their way to get some food before catching their flight. If you have never worked with service you might not have thought about it but please next time you are facing a person servicing you at a bar, restaurant or basically anywhere, ask yourself:
Do I show thankfulness for this persons presence and service or am I just showing him how annoyed I am that he is talking to ME?
3. “Let me try that” vs. “You do not have that?!”
The way we speak and use our words is so determent for how other people see us. I find the same thing being true in the airport. Some people always tend to try new stuff, being curious and just go for the alternative if I can’t help them with something or if my supply of regular Coke is out of stock. The “you do not have that?” people sometimes get really angry at me if I can’t supply them with regular coke, which makes me think about:
Why are some people so stuck with old habits that they get upset if they can’t have what they are always having?
4. “Smiling” vs. “Don’t look at me like that”
The openminded people I truly love to serve always give me a big smile. They are naturally smiling and they want to make the world a better place to live in. They appreciate my smile and sometimes they are even impressed when I try to overdeliver in service. The other group of people are not smiling at all. Their body language tells me that they are only here of one simple reason: they just want two of my hotdogs – fast and with everything – so they can catch the flight they are already late for.
5. “More smiling” vs. “is THAT the price”?
The curious travelers have realized that buying stuff in an airport is like living in Denmark – everything is overpriced. So, even thought they might joke about the price they always pay the price with a big smile. They gladly pay $6 for their coffee because that is simply the price for a cup of coffee in the airport. However, on the other hand we have the tourists always making a comment about how this thing will ruin their budget or their financial position. I daily face people not willing to pay when they hear the price of the stuff they (voluntarily) took in the fridge and decided to buy.
Before ending this post I will like to invite you to think about the following question:
Which kind of person do you really want to be?