for a strong, fast pick-me-up
Do you know the story about how city bus rides inspired Bruce Springsteen early in his career?
Bruce’s manager John Hammond would call Bruce into the city for meetings – mainly to get Bruce on a city bus – so he would see things on the trip and get ideas for songs.
That’s the story anyway.
And you DO see interesting sights on a city bus. I actually enjoy bus rides and often choose to take the bus. I enjoy looking out the windows at the real-life street theatre! Sometimes listening to early Springsteen – especially the first two albums. The later albums are for car driving when I’m on a last chance power drive or racing in the streets. (Springsteen fans will get the references!)
The other day I was visiting Sydney – and traveling on a bus to a business meeting in the city.
It could be any busy city where people are busy rushing by. I saw lots of those people in the street trying to hand out business flyers to passers by. People ignored the flyer dispensing people.
Then I saw what I thought was a “nice moment”. Two people who were handing out different flyers were getting ignored by everyone who passed by.
The two flyer distributors noticed each other from several metres away. They came up to each other in the street, exchanged flyers, made eye contact and smiled at each other. An exchange of professional courtesy? An act of empathy?
The female flyer distributor curtseyed. The male bowed politely – almost with fun exaggeration of appreciation.
Still, it was an amusing moment to glimpse – a rebellious act of human “respect” and warmth in what seemed to be a cold and indifferent city.
Now, I am not encouraging those street flyer distributors.
I understand why busy people just rush on by.
I also get tired of everyone trying to “sell me something”!
But on this day – I decided to do something different.
I personally found the “nice moment” amusing and even heart-warming. At that moment – I was inspired to act differently – to see what happened if I politely accepted flyers instead of rudely refusing them.
Once I got off the bus, I walked past where an older Asian-looking women trying to hand out flyers. I saw her getting ignored
She half-heartedly offered a flyer to me – as if expecting it to be ignored.
Instead, I stopped and looked her in the eyes. I accepted her flyer with a smile and even a thank you. It probably took 3 seconds.
I made sure she could see me looking at the flyer and reading it. Similar to the etiquette you are supposed to show in Asian countries when exchanging business cards.
You should have seen the smile beam across this lady’s face!
I don’t even know what you’d call it – acknowledging someone’s presence? A friendly smile? Not treating someone as just an annoyance to be ignored?
I don’t know what exactly it was – but a few seconds seemed to make a big difference – both in the “nice moment” I’d seen from the bus and my exchange with the Asian lady.
I reckon if Springtseen had witnessed such a moment – he’d probably write a song about it!
The lesson for you
Usually I have a business lesson to go with the warm and fuzzy story.
In this post – no lesson, no action steps. No business edge to be gained.
Sometimes you just show some courtesy for the sake of it! Sometimes you do something respectful because you’ve seen someone else do it.