Being a postal employee his entire career, my Dad instilled in all of us kids a deep respect for the United States Postal Service. That deep-seated pride has been tested at times standing in line for twenty minutes as one clerk methodically works the window. That said, I still have a lot of respect for the postal workers.
At the small branch we visit, there are typically three employees on and off. I will call them Tom, Dick, and Harry.
Tom is always outgoing, friendly, courteous and curious. He remembers his customers. Dick is pleasant, for the most part has a smile on his face and is efficient. Harry on the other hand never smiles, is not curious, and robotic, “Are there any fragile, liquid, perishable or potentially hazardous materials…?” It is like dealing with a vending machine dispensing stamps.
Being the “Nice Bike Guy” on connecting with others, I took on the challenge of connecting with Harry. I tried, “My dad was a postal worker.” “Looks like a pretty busy day eh?” “I’m mailing out some more copies of my book. Yeah, I wrote a book?” “Do you think it is a wise financial move to invest in Forever stamps?”
Nothing, nada…no connection, no clever banter, no smile. I gave up the game and just figured that Harry was not a guy that likes to connect with others. That was until I saw Marge interacting with Harry. While I was being waited on by Tom, Marge was next to me being waited on by Harry. He was smiling, calling her by her name and talking about the Minnesota Twins baseball team.
When I finished, I waited outside to meet Marge as Marge knew something I did not. “Hi, I’m Mark. I don’t mean to bother you, but I couldn’t help notice your interaction with Harry the postal clerk. I have never seen him smile, let alone interact with a customer! Are you related to him?”
Marge gave me the greatest revelation.
Marge said, “No, I’m not related but I am as surprised as you are. I have dealt with Harry a number of times and he always flatlined. One day I walked in with my Minnesota Twins jersey and Harry asked if I was going to the game. It turns out that he is a huge baseball fan. He just lit up talking about the Twins, their season, his favorite players and the last game they played. Ever since that interaction, Harry and I have a strong connection. Go figure.”
The Nice Bike principle is based on acknowledging, honoring and connecting with others. With Harry, I was acknowledging and honoring what was important to me…not to Harry…so there was no connection.
The next time I walked into my post office, I waited for Harry’s counter to open, walked over and said, “Hello Harry, how about those Twins?” A smile found Harry’s face and we were off to the ballpark with a pleasant conversation.
Remember, Nice Bike isn’t about polishing the chrome on your bike but rather polishing the chrome on someone else’s bike.
Nice Bike Marge. Go Twins.