Being kind to those who take care of us

Quality of life is something we have long been proud of in Greater Owensboro.

Being born and raised here, one particular aspect I have always been proud of is the hospitality we show to one another.

Hospitality means more than saying hello to a passerby. Hospitality means small courtesies given to others. Opening a door for someone with their hands full; asking someone who seems distressed if they need a hand; letting a fellow motorist merge into your lane or make a turn in traffic congestion; stopping for funeral processions; saying thank you, please, excuse me. And smiling.

The list goes on. And just writing this makes me proud of our community thinking of all the times I have seen this hospitality each day. It is who we are.

Not only is being kind, helpful and courteous the right thing to do — it’s good for business. We hear so many stories at our office of people or businesses who moved to Owensboro after a visit because they were blown over by the warmth.

Lately, however, there seems to be a lack of patience in our restaurants, grocery stores and other service areas. And this impatience is directed toward the individuals who are working to serve our food, bag our groceries, take our packages, tend to our health needs — people who dedicate their days to providing service to others.

Several people have contacted me directly about their experiences seeing this, or being the subject of, impatience and ugliness.

This is not who we are.

Yelling at a server who has pulled a double shift to help fill in for sick coworkers is not kind. That individual has been on their feet since before most of us got out of bed. They worked through the pandemic until there was a shutdown and then juggled the back and forth of closings, masks and being afraid of getting sick. They are juggling children and older relatives in their care. They are paying a sitter in order to be present to bring you your food to nourish your body.

The same goes for the grocery clerk, the CNA taking care of your elderly parent, the people serving you from behind the counter and the teacher who is teaching your children or grandchildren.

We saw these unneighborly interactions before the pandemic, but mostly on social media. Now they have crept into our face-to-face exchanges more commonly. And it has to stop.

The majority of people are kind. And we all have struggles — we all do. We all get tired and hungry. And we all get angry sometimes. But no matter what we are going through, we can rest assured that there is someone else going through just as much — or more — than we are. And that person just may be bringing you your lunch.