The Premium of Hospitality

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    June 1, 2016

                                

Yesterday I had a “Free Breakfast Burrito” coupon for Chick-fil-A. It was expiring soon…and I hadn’t had breakfast yet…so I went to the location closest to us and ordered my free breakfast, plus a glass of water. The young lady, Sarah, who waited on me was as courteous and hospitable as possible. And not in a “put on” kind of way! She was genuinely interested in serving me and making my brief dining experience positive even though Chick-fil-A made exactly “zero cents” from my visit.

She even asked me if I wanted any kind of sauce packets, and would two be enough? Chick-fil-A is, without a doubt, at the top of the fast food establishments in the category of hospitality. Even in the midst of crowded, noisy establishments their employees seem to enjoy their labors. I’ve taken our five year old granddaughter, Reagan, to a different Chick-Fil-A and an employee named Josie was incredibly engaged in what Reagan had been doing that day.

Notice that I remember the first names of both employees!

On the other side of the spectrum are two different phone experiences that my wife Carol had yesterday where she felt devalued and idiotic. Whereas I left Chick-fil-A feeling like I mattered, she felt like she was simply a number in a couple of impersonal systems, a faceless person who didn’t know anything.

We’ve all had experiences that are at both ends of the hospitality rating line. It’s interesting that encounters that leave us muttering to ourselves stand out in our minds as clearly as the exceptional encounters.

Personally, I am drawn to hospitality and courtesy. Darla cuts my hair, not because she’s cheap, but because she takes care of me. I want my barber to be kind of like Floyd from Mayberry…relational, friendly, and not draw blood!

My optometrist, Dr. Bettner, takes time to see how things are going with me, tell me about his kids, and explain things that I am clueless about.

My massage therapist, Jackie Landers, makes me laugh even as she is inflicting pain on my body. I joke with her about the fact that I’m sure she sharpens her elbows before I come in. She is a 5 foot tall bundle of giggling energy. She hugs me when I arrive and hugs me when I leave.

Common themes in all of those people are a warm relationship and extraordinary hospitality.

In recent months I’ve been able to visit a few different churches of various flavors. Whereas preaching/teaching and the worship music becomes what gets focused on by those who are connected to those congregations, the hospitality of the people who greet you and the heart-felt interest of those sitting close to you AT THE END of the service are what impresses…or depresses…me.

After the benediction it is noticeable how many people rush for the doors, because their duty or worship experience has been fulfilled. The churches where people who have greeted you during the earlier “bulletin-mandated” greeting time, but then continue the conversation after the benediction…those are the experiences that stand out.

That hospitality was a significant focus of the first churches. The deacons in the first church in Jerusalem served the Grecian Jewish widows (Acts 6). The church had a reputation for extraordinary caring and service. They reflected Jesus, who was genuinely interested in all people, especially the ones who were devalued by the culture.

Back to Sarah! I’ve got a yearning to go back to Chick-fil-A tomorrow, and even spend some of my money!

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Christianity, Community, Grace, Grandchildren, Humor, Jesus, Pastor, Story, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized

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