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Thanking Strangers WWYD?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So I've had a rough couple of weeks. Lack of sleep is not helping my mood or my ability to think clearly. Last week, I had "one of those days" and a total stranger helped me out. He was really "just doing his job" and wouldn't accept the tip I tried to give him as thanks. But he was SO nice and it was such a relief to have my problem resolved that I want to do something to thank him, but I don't know what. I thought of dropping a gift card off at his work, but how do I know it'll get to him? This time of year, if it's an envelope, people assume check or gift card and might take it for themselves. I hate to think that way, but it does happen. Any ideas?

post #2 of 12
Can you tell us what he did to help you? For me, it's hard to think of anything without really knowing the level of gift we are thinking here. Sorry I can't be of more help!
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

It sounds silly, but he put air in my tires. I know how to do this. I've been doing it since I was a teen getting my license. But for some reason (weather? my hands losing strength? cheap tire gauge? bad valves? all of the above?) I couldn't do it. Then it was a morning-long ordeal with my 2 year old to figure out what the problem was, getting new valves, then a new tire gauge, then trying again... all on no sleep, etc.

 

So I found an actual service station with actual people working outside, and the guy couldn't have been nicer. Showed me what to do (even though I knew already, he was trying to help me figure out why I was having a problem), showed me his tire gauge, waited to make sure the light went off, etc.

 

Yeah, that's his JOB. He's an attendant at a full-service gas station. But 1. There are very few full-serv stations around here. Most are gas-n-go, and you're lucky if the cashier can lend you a tire gauge and the air is free. 2. He was NICE about it. Not like the three other people I'd tried to deal with that morning (including a guy who works at an auto parts store but couldn't tell me which valves I might need, then gave me attitude when I returned them less than 3 minutes after he told me I could return them no problem if they didn't work out).... 3. He wouldn't take my tip, saying I should put it in my kid's piggy bank.

 

I'm not sure if he owns the place, or just works there. But I want to do SOMETHING.

post #4 of 12

Can you look up who owns the service station, or just send a card there addressed to "management"?  I'd do that, and describe what happened, and say how grateful you are.  Mention that you know life is tough for small businesses, and that you really appreciate the care this employee took of you.  It made your whole day so much easier, and it makes a real difference to where you, say, buy gas.  If you don't know his name, just give a description.  Hopefully, the note will filter back, or at least impress his boss. 

 

If an employee at a gas station did that for me, I would buy my gas there forever.  It's not a silly thing.  Some days are hard.  People who help are awesome.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I got his first name, but couldn't find anything online about who owns the station or anything about it, really. His first initial is the same as one of the two in the name of the station, but that doesn't mean much, only that it's possible he's an owner. However, if he's not an owner, and just a guy working in a gast station for a living, I want to do more than write a letter, KWIM?

post #6 of 12

Write a letter to the manager and describe the employee as well as you can, and describe what he did for you and how much it meant with you having a bad day. That will mean so much to him to get kudos.

I'm a nurse and it's an often thankless job. We are not allowed to accept gifts but what means more to me is when a patient's family fills out a form and mentions me by name and describes how I cared for their child so well. It does get back to management and we often get recognized in a department email, as well as Daisy Award Nomination.

post #7 of 12

It would be great to do more then send a letter, but don't let inability to do the perfect thing stop you from doing anything.  Do what you can.  If you keep going back there, you'll eventually know the guy well enough to find some way to do him some kind of favor. 

post #8 of 12

telling his boss that he made your day IS doing more than giving the guy a $20 tip. 

a $20 tip is a one-time deal that goes away as soon as it's spent. 

but a good word to one's boss is an investment in the guy's livelihood, his career, his life.

think of it that way.

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post
 

telling his boss that he made your day IS doing more than giving the guy a $20 tip. 

a $20 tip is a one-time deal that goes away as soon as it's spent. 

but a good word to one's boss is an investment in the guy's livelihood, his career, his life.

think of it that way.

 

Anyone can give a gift or money, thanking someone properly takes time and effort. A lot of people aren't willing to do that.  

post #10 of 12

I'd send a  thank-you card to the gas station and mention him by name- if you only have his first name, then use that. He didnt' want a tip or anything, just gratitude. So express your gratitude so that his boss and co-workers know about it too. If you want, send some kind of edible goodies for all the employees of the gas station, but it's not necessary.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
 If you want, send some kind of edible goodies for all the employees of the gas station, but it's not necessary.

That's what I was thinking... drop off some cookies or something for everyone. It would probably make their day.

 

I once had a woman leave me a pot of mums because I had gone out to make sure she was ok during a storm when I noticed her car pulled over out front with a branch on top of it. She was fine fortunately.

post #12 of 12

this is just me - but sometimes i think rewarding someone - who helped out from teh kindness of their heart - with money is insulting. i know on hand right then that was the easiest thing to do and i would have done it too.

 

i agree with pp. i would write a card of thanks address to the name and more of a description for him and a plate of cookies for the whole staff saying how much you appreciated one of their workers. 

 

the one thing lacking in most workplaces is acknowledgement. your gesture of two cards and cookies would like others pointed out not only acknowledge his gesture but definitely srengthen his employment status. 

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