2 Great Lines and a Fast Food Story

I’ve heard two great lines that have really resonated with me regarding encouragement. The first was from the President of Carson-Newman University, Randall O’Brien. He was quoting someone else when he said, “Find the good and praise it.” What a positive way to interact with people. What a way to have a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

The other line is one I heard from a pastor in my church, Chad Crawford. He was quoting a friend of his named Kevin Hall. “Do you criticize those who you have not encouraged first?” What a great question! Do we go through life tearing things down or building people up?

Hopefully as I move forward, my choices, attitude, and comments will be increasingly reflective of these two sentiments.

Maybe I could have employed them earlier this week. True story; no embellishment.

I went to a fast food restaurant to grab something to take back to work. I had some pretzels in my office, so all I wanted was some grilled chicken and a medium drink. I walked in and saw 4 people behind the counter. There was one person on the customer side, but she did not seem to be ordering. She was draped over a cash register and was talking loudly to the employees. They seemed to be her friends.

I went up to the other register and placed my order whereupon the young, loud woman said to me, “WELL, I GUESS I KNOW WHAT KIND OF GUY YOU ARE!” I responded with a flat and (to be honest) less-than-friendly smile. I wanted to acknowledge her without encouraging her. I suppose I’m not that comfortable with overly friendly strangers who yell at me.

But I’m processing her comment and wondering what kind of guy she’s guessing I am. Sober? Someone who doesn’t yell for no reason?

One of the employees asked the yeller about the bathroom habits of one of her co-workers. I think you can probably figure out how enthusiastic I was about that conversation.

Anyway, I walked over to get my tea. The yeller walked over there, too, as she wrapped up her conversation with the employees by bellowing from across the room, “I CAN’T TAKE YOU PEOPLE ANYWHERE.” Then she said to me (equally loudly even though she’s right next to me) “I CAN’T TAKE THOSE PEOPLE ANYWHERE!”

I didn’t even turn around. I just got my stuff and left.

3 thoughts: 1. I wonder if she works at an airport runway. Maybe that was why she was loud. 2. Ironically, she probably thinks I’m the weird one because she was friendly and I wasn’t. 3. She would be right. I could see immediately that the employees were totally relaxed around her. She wasn’t going to go berserk. I chose to be uncomfortable because she acted different than I do.

I should have been friendly. Why? Because I have been called to friendliness by the One who is the Friend to all. By God’s grace I’ll try to do better next time.