By Gail Z. Martin
“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.
By Gail Z. Martin
OK, I’m a total sucker for Christmas TV specials, especially the ones I grew up with as a kid. You know—Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. All the Rankin-Bass specials with the stop-motion animation. Once the tree is up, I want to curl up in my jammies with a bowl of popcorn and watch through all of the DVDs (and VHS) copies, preferably with my husband, kids and dog close by. It’s just part of the holidays to me.
It occurred to me that I’ve been watching some of these specials for 40-some years (amazing that they look so good on TV screens much larger than the show’s producers ever expected). So I guess it’s only logical that they’ve made an impression on me. As we go through this holiday season, here are some things I’ve learned from holiday specials.
- Even a miracle needs a hand. (Twas the Night Before Christmas)
- Don’t judge a reindeer by his nose (Rudolph)
- You can be whatever you want to be—even if you’re an elf who wants to be a dentist (Rudolph)
- Don’t overlook the needs of others in your rush for the perfect holiday (Berenstain Bears)
- We all need a little Christmas, right this very moment (Muppet Christmas)
- Bumbles bounce (and so can you) (Rudolph)
- Learn to love your noisy neighbors (Grinch)
- See with your heart, not just your head (Twas the Night Before Christmas)
- Buy presents early to avoid mayhem (Jingle All the Way)
- Count roll before leaving on vacation (Home Alone 1, 2, 3)
- Don’t plug in too many Christmas lights (Christmas Vacation)
- Keep the cat away from the Christmas tree (Christmas Vacation)
- People matter more than profit (A Christmas Carol)
Whatever holiday you celebrate, may it be merry and bright.