Remember the days when mom (or dad) would shove you out the door for school after making sure you had your lunch and your coat? She (or he) probably left you with some parting words like; “have a good day”, or “I love you”, or in my case “don’t lose your coat”. You probably took those well-wishes for granted until you moved out on your own and Mom was not there to give you a positive message before heading out into the world.
As an adult you might have a spouse or a friendly, overly caffeinated, barista wishing you well for the day which fills that need for morning motivation. Even though the barista is paid to say nice things, it might be enough.
For many years, I didn’t have anyone wishing me a good day in the morning and I didn’t know that I missed it. Not that my spouse is inconsiderate it is just that we work from home and don’t part ways in the morning. Plus, we get our coffee in our kitchen. No barista interaction for us, which is good since B.C. (before caffeine) human interactions can be painful on some mornings.
That all changed when my daughter started a new school in kindergarten. Her school, SCVi, offers valet service which is like a drive through window for student drop-offs. The valet is staffed by parent volunteers who stand out in the cold, open your car door, help your child safely exit and almost always wish the parents a good day.
During that simple task of taking my daughter to school there are two positive points at the start of my day. One is when my daughter turns around, waves and smiles as she walks to class. The other, while nowhere near as fulfilling yet a noticeable positive point, is the valet volunteer wishes me a good day.
The volunteers offer the well wishes with sincerity. Not canned like a fast-food worker reciting the customer service manual and not cheesy like the main character of the Truman show. Sincerity from a stranger that doesn’t have to be there and is not getting paid for their kindness carries more weight.
These little things make for a good morning. They won’t be there forever. When they are gone I might have to get a programmable Mr. Coffee with a voice chip that announces, “Have a great day!” before powering off.
In the meantime, I hope the other parents remember to thank the valet volunteers before driving away and I will continue to appreciate their kindness.