is that an andrew jackson in your pocket?

A beloved friend once told me, “When someone’s kind to you, it’s nice. But when someone’s kind to you at the moment you need it most, you’ll never forget it.”

The same can be said for service. It’s one thing to get excellent service from the owner of an establishment. Or from upper level management in a mega-franchise with an entire department devoted to guest relations. You expect that.

But when an employee gives you 150% and no one’s watching – and there’s very little in it for them – I think that’s extraordinary.

Like Tina, the darling Vietnamese pedicurist who pedicures me once a month. She gives the best foot and leg massage a girl could ask for. It’s $10 for 15 minutes. Only, when the timer goes off after 15 minutes, Tina throws in another 5 or 10 for good measure. And she has EZ-Bake Oven hands.┬áSometimes I wonder how much I’d have to pay her for a whole day of massage. What is that…$320 for eight hours? We’d sit and watch Vietnamese variety shows on TV, eat lunch together…the whole shebang. I wonder how much “I want to pay you for eight hours of massage and bonding” would scare someone who speaks English as a second language. Or anyone.

Then there’s the Southwest Airlines flight attendant, an anomaly in the world of air travel. First of all, I just have to ask…Does anyone else think it’s strange that the person who hands out peanuts is the first person you’re going to be looking for in the event of an emergency? What a bizarre job title…”I serve drinks. And save lives.”

But I digress. Nothing makes me love you more, SWA, than your flight attendants. The guy on my last flight actually read the safety instructions entirely in hillbilly. With just a peppering of Bill Clinton and Ricky Bobby. He actually said “shake-and-bake.”

And then there’s Chris at my Corner Bakery. Who, when I called to see if they had any pumpkin muffins and they didn’t, said he’d bake a couple just for me. Who does that? Chris, apparently.

And finally, there’s Mieko. For those of you who are just meeting me…Hi, I’m E.J….and I’m obsessed with Sonic Drive-In beverages. Especially during Happy Hour. { whispering }…I get my drink on.

Meiko is like a Sonic angel on skates. Here’s a woman who schleps food around all day. In the blazing sun. On friggin’ roller skates. I can’t imagine a more thankless job than fast food. But Mieko comes to your car with more warmth and graciousness than any Five Star restaurant I’ve ever been to. Ok, I haven’t been to any. But I watch Real Housewives. PS…Mieko is classier than any of those psychos.

So I want to say thank you. Finding people like you is like finding a $20 bill in a pair of skinny jeans you fit into again. It’s unexpected and refreshing. And so damn exciting it warrants a happy dance. Which really looks more like a cross between the Elaine Dance and The Sprinkler.

Thank you…for making ordinary service anything but. I’ll never forget you.