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Random Acts of Rudeness
30 March 2011
Recently on a taxi ride from the CBD to Darlinghurst, the taxi driver was really rude to me – given I had never met him before, was unlikely to see him again and I had thought that taxis were a ‘service’ industry I was really surprised. On arrival at my destination, I thanked him, didn’t give him a tip [as I generally do] and I asked for a receipt, then I wished him a great day somewhat sarcastically. Not my best response. And over the past week or so, I’ve received a couple of emails from people who were asking me for assistance – again somewhat surprisingly these emails were quite terse in their tone. I decided that they were ‘random acts of rudeness.’- unnecessary and unprofessional. In such circumstances it is difficult sometimes not to ‘give back in kind and in spades’. I don’t always succeed but one of the premises I try to live by is ‘just because someone else is behaving badly, I don’t have to join them’.
I decided to look out for random acts of courtesy to reassure myself that ‘rude’ is not the basic approach of people that I come into contact with. And on Wednesday I was rewarded with a really amazing contrasting experience. The people who helped me are not generally seen as being ‘high level professionals’ – the first was the Route 376 bus driver who rescued the bag that my daughter and I left on a peak hour bus to the CBD because we were laughing and fooling around. The second was the supervisor from the Randwick State Transit Depot who identified the bus [and there are thousands out there at 8.45 am] and called to let us know when ‘Bus 7353’ would be at Circular Quay on a short break. Getting the bag with laptop, I Pad and documents was a huge relief – but even better was the wonderful smile from the driver when we thanked him and the friendly response when we called to thank the Randwick supervisor. These two people could teach a few ‘professionals’ I have encountered recently a thing or two about courtesy and service. Thanks guys for the positive experience – it makes such a difference.
Real professionals with a strong service orientation operate with courtesy even when they haven’t necessarily been treated that way themselves. Where do you fit in terms of professionalism and courtesy?