Photo by: ninjapoodles
So, where do the chicken balls fit in? Well, I was in a bit of rush around lunch time and stopped at the first strip mall restaurant in sight. It was a tiny Chinese take-out joint with no line, so I figured it would be fast.
The cashier took my order and credit card, and then turned around to start prepping my sesame chicken. 80% of the lunch dishes were based on poultry, so she had a giant bowl of breaded, raw chicken balls waiting next to the deep fat fryer.
I watched in horror as she used my American Express to scoop the raw chicken balls into the hot oil!
I chose to ignore it and assume that the heat would kill any germs from the last guy’s credit card. I also chose not to dwell on all the less obvious sanitary issues the place probably had.
In a few minutes, the lady yelled my number and pushed a heaping Styrofoam plate at me. I ate it. About 7 hours later, I paid for it.
It was the worst flight of my life. I was fine getting on the plane– but about 30 minutes after the linebacker left our row, I knew something was very wrong. I managed not to vomit… but only because that seething, evil mess was stuck halfway between both exits and couldn’t decide which way to come out.
The nice lady in the window seat noticed my obvious distress. She asked if I was Ok… I could only manage a “not really” grunt. I leaned forward and found the least sick position with my forehead pressed against the seat ahead. This angel of a lady reached over and started rubbing my back for nearly an hour. I felt like a college girl bent over the throne with a sorority sister kindly holding back her hair.
That was the kindest gift I’ve ever received from a stranger. I will cherish it and look forward to a time when I can likewise help a stranger in need. What a great reminder that we are all just humans making our way on this planet!
Personal takeaway #1: Focus first on the full customer experience, even when my own workload gets challenging. I need to really put myself in the customer’s shoes and make sure I’m not cutting obvious corners with all these raw chicken balls in the air.
Personal takeaway #2: Many people that I deal with are in obvious distress, be it financial, medical, spiritual, or otherwise. I bet there are plenty of others that hide it well. I need to be on the lookout for simple ways to figuratively (and maybe even literally!) offer a touch of relief that transcends the business at hand.