“Welcome! Right this way. I’ve got the Presidential Suite waiting for you.” With those words, the smiling restroom attendant ushered me into a bathroom stall that had plenty of space for me and my luggage. She walked ahead of me, wiping off any surface I might touch, so that the facilities seemed clean and fresh. When I emerged, she was waiting to hand me a paper towel. On the counter was an array of mints, mouthwash and hygiene items, just in case I needed something. She made sure I got the royal treatment, along with a smile and a cheery word to speed me on my way.
Was this a pricy hotel? No. This was the ladies’ restroom in Terminal A of the Charlotte-Douglas Airport.
What’s the lesson? Here’s someone with a job that many people would not regard as being high status. But she found a way to really embrace the job and share her personality. (One attendant in another terminal bursts into Broadway show tunes. Bathrooms have really good acoustics.) She gives weary travelers a pleasant experience that transforms something routine into a nice surprise. She found a way to bring dignity to a job some people might disdain.
It’s one more example of how attitude is everything. Elinor Roosevelt was right: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.