Thanking People for Doing Their Job

This week I traveled to Australia to speak at a conference. On my flight from Sydney to Perth, I was pulled aside for additional screening for explosives. The agent passed a wand over my luggage, my shoes and my hands. He then put the wand into a reader before he let me go. I thanked him for doing his job and went on my way.

On my return flight, I was again “selected” for additional screening and went through the process again. I made a point to thank the agent for doing his job. 

Many people would feel inconvenienced for being pulled aside for additional screening. However, these people are only doing their job. They are asked to pick travelers at random and check them for explosives. Did I enjoy the process? No. Did I appreciate the delay? No. However, I did appreciate the fact that these people were helping to keep us all safe by looking for potential explosive material.

Sometimes we take these people for granted. In the trucking industry, we need to appreciate the person doing the random check for hours of service violations, or for faulty brakes or any other of the numerous potential violations that occur at a roadside inspection.

These people are hired to keep you legal and to keep our highways safe. They’re doing their job; If you honestly thought about their perspective, you would appreciate what they are doing to keep you and your family safe.

Instead of having an “attitude” at a scale or inspection site, what if you put yourselves in their shoes? They are hired to check your truck, your documents, and your company’s safety record. They are there to make sure you and your fellow drivers are in compliance.

Think about their perspective. They don’t hate you. They understand the value of your time. They know you’re doing your job to deliver your load. They don’t want to see you lose income because of time constraints. They don’t know you personally, and it’s not about you.

Have you ever noticed someone doing their job and wondered how they could get up and go to work each day? What about the person who cleans the restrooms at the airport or the showers at the truck stop? Have you ever thanked them for a clean shower or toilet?  

A few years ago my colleague, Char, and I decided to thank at least one person each day for making life better by cleaning, serving, or waiting on us. The first person we saw was a woman who was cleaning the mirrors in an elevator. We thanked her for making the elevator spotless. The look on her face was priceless. It was apparent that she wasn’t used to being noticed, much less appreciated, by the folks staying at the hotel.  

Now, when I see someone working hard to keep something clean, maintained or by serving me, I thank them. Everyone needs a smile and an acknowledgment (and a good tip!). Don’t you wish more people recognized how hard you work to serve them? 

What if we started a trend in thanking people for doing their jobs? If you have followed my blog, you’ll know that at Women In Trucking Association we’ve started a project called #SteeringTowardKindness. I share many of these stories on our weekly show on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Channel 146 (10 am central to noon each Saturday.) 

Feel free to send me your experience at #SteeringTowardKindness ([email protected]) or post it on our Facebook group, and I’ll share the story with others. 

We could probably all be more understanding when we are inconvenienced by people who are merely doing the job they were hired to do. Next time you’re pulled over at a scale or roadside inspection, in an airport for additional screening, or for any other delays on your time, thank the person for doing his or her job. You might surprise them, and maybe you’ll start a trend in thanking people for doing their job.