Five days in New York City was just enough to make us want to come back for more. The overall take-away from our short trip was that New Yorkers are some of the nicest people we have had the pleasure of meeting.
Mike had been practicing his New “Yawk” accent for a couple of weeks before our adventure, but once there, we found that most people did not talk that way. It’s a little embarrassing to admit that our initial perception was that New Yorkers are rude and pushy, but we are happy to recant those ideas and share with the world how pleasant, helpful, and accommodating everyone was.
The very first lady we met in the AirTrain station showed us how to get the different Metro cards we needed to ride from JFK airport into Brooklyn where we were staying. Who says the subway is filled with scary rude people?
After following the excellent directions supplied on our AirBnB reservation, we arrived at the apartment and were welcomed by our delightful host, Jing. Her enthusiasm, warmth, and obvious zest for life was evident as she gave us a tour of our accommodations and told us more about the neighborhood. Her love of the Park Slope neighborhood came through as she described the parks, restaurants, coffee shops, and people. And she’s a runner. She’s run the New York City Marathon 5 times. Once again my interest in adding another marathon to my list was piqued. Damn it. The NYC marathon is a tough one. And it’s a lottery to get entry. Might throw my name in the ring…
Where else did we find nice people? Every single restaurant we tried. From the first one that didn’t have the soup we wanted but still asked the cooks if they could make it (they couldn’t, but at least they asked), to the family owned Italian place where they squeezed us in at the bar in spite of not having reservations and chatted with us while juggling many other patrons. It didn’t matter if the employees were teenagers or seasoned servers, or even owners, everyone welcomed us and seemed eager to serve us. Not something we had experienced recently.
My theory for the excellent service is that there are so many restaurants on every street, if they don’t do a superb job, customers will go elsewhere. They are out to win your business and it is very evident in their behavior. We really were blown away.
More subway tales include watching complete strangers effortlessly come to the aid of mothers pushing strollers or commuters pulling shoppers carts by lifting up half of the wheeled objects and helping to carry them down the stairs. It was as if it was second nature to assist other human beings. Seriously, when is the last time you saw that in a crowded public place?
Every where we turned people were friendly, offered help with directions, or just pleasantly shared our space. No pushing, no shoving, no rude remarks. It was simply astounding…which leads me to some important questions…
Why isn’t every place like this?
Why is it that when people are friendly and helpful, we are surprised and delighted?
Why is good service so rare?
Are we so busy with our own lives that we forget to be kind to people? Imagine if every time we walked into a restaurant or shop we were greeted with enthusiasm and sincerity by the staff. Or, if you work in an office, what if you greeted everyone with a smile and a friendly “hello” each morning. Small acts of acknowledging another person and possibly making them feel a little special will go a long way. Try it today and see if your life, and others lives, are a little bit happier.