March 16, 2015

A Meaningful Thank You

Some years ago I spent time in New York City. One morning, I waited in a busy Starbucks while my latte was made. People rushed in and people rushed out. When the barista called my name, she quickly moved to another task. I paused and said clearly, "thank you very much." Her head shot up and she smiled, as if these words were a rare gift.

Based on this experience, I formed a new practice: look service people in the eye; really see them and genuinely thank them. It takes mere seconds, yet generates gratitude and well-being. When I pause to give a genuine thank-you, I pause to see and appreciate my life.

This process naturally extends to co-workers, neighbors, friends, and loved ones. We often say "thank you," but not in a meaningful way. The words are rushed or mumbled or automatic. Yet we can turn thank-yous into mindfulness practice. Each thank-you is a deep pause--a time to re-connect with ourselves and each other. This happens when we make space in our hearts and minds; space to feel the gratitude and to share the gratitude. It requires very little time, yet that time is meaningful. The thank-you lingers in a beautiful way.


  1. Wow, I remember the other day on our way to Oslo we visited McDonalds, I know I know... but Selma loves it. I did not eat meat : ) The guy that came out with our food was so nice and so good with kids. When we were finished he took our garbage and I said it was to much! After that he asked if he could take Selma so she could make her own ice-cream. He made our day and I thanked him so much for the best service I have experienced.

    I visit lots of companies, I always say hi and thank you to people around and to the ones that clean. They are often surprised.

    I sit at a client today, I still do some work in my economy business. One girl I have not met before approached me and said, hi my name is... and I have not seen you before. That warmed my heart. I was here last week but she was not here.

    Thank you for this important reminder. / Agnes

    1. i think anytime we can make a connection--look someone in the eyes, listen, extend gratitude, act kindly, give our full attention--the world becomes a kinder, gentler place.

  2. My husband is do good at this. I sit and watch as he engages people who he comes in contact with and without fail it always amazes e how they stop and linger a bit. For me it is not second nature and I have to work at it. Thank you Joy, for the reminder.

  3. i also make it a practice to greet service people, or anyone I come in contact with for that matter, with a genuine smile and a heartfelt, "hi! how ARE you?!" it makes a world of difference for both of us. : )