I just got back from a trip to California to present a seminar, and I found myself thinking about the work that service sector workers do. Here are some of the folks I met:
- The cook/server at the Pizzeria Famiglia at Logan Airport in Boston, who prepared a serving of spaghetti and sauce that was of restaurant quality. When I told him it was the best plate of food I’ve ever had at an airport (really, it hit the spot), he gave me a thumbs up and a thank you;
- The young bellman at the Hotel Durant in Berkeley, who was so helpful in arranging a shuttle ride to the airport and remembered my name with a big smile the next day;
- Faculty at the Western Institute for Social Research in Berkeley, where I am completing a graduate degree and presented my seminar, whose intellectual and personal fellowship and support went above and beyond the call; and,
- The employees at JetBlue, including a ticket agent, a pilot, and a gate agent, who handled my situation with a flight delay with genuine friendliness and helpfulness.
The service sector covers many different job and income categories, as my trip illustrated. But the core essence with all of these folks was a certain spark, emotional intelligence, and interest in doing a good job for others, qualities that can make a good day even better and take the edge off of a bad one. Especially for those of us who also work in the service sector, these people are role models and deserve our thanks.