Undercover Boss, Clergy and a Californian #HumanElement #TuesdayTakeaway

My adventure to Europe with my sister is coming to an end, posting this from Delta 170, CDG-MSP. Heidi with Delta has been top notch, a great trip back to the US. Trump, that’s the Apprentice… am I the Undercover Boss… say what? Over the past week I had three interactions which made me reflect on my journey in life and give thought to pivotal moments that changed me. A quick search through my site, I found a post from July 2, 2011, Helping out a Stranger in the Armed Forces, Reflecting Back on my Day where I first openly shared my goal in life in quote I discovered in 2009.

Each day when I awake I know I have one more day to make a difference in someone’s life.

James Mann
Author

Time to circle back to this trip. My trip began with an overnight stay at the Holiday Inn Express SF Airport North. In the morning I met the breakfast attendant, an elderly woman named Jackie. In lieu of dashing to the airport to wait for my sister’s arrival I wanted to get to know Jackie.

In sitting down, I thanked Jackie by name which she was perplexed, “you are the second person to do that today”. Jackie joined the hotel 12 years ago under a different brand but is a fan of the brand, and an ambassador. Jackie works two mornings shifts a week to allow her lunch money the other days . The more we talked, the more she was intrigued, who was this stranger listening to her. What appreciation I had for Jackie’s walk of life when she posed an interesting question.

“Have you heard of Undercover Boss, are you from that?”  I frequently watch the show, more enlightening at it’s series start, I was stumped by the question. “You used my name, asked me about working here, not many people care that much, I am thinking to myself, you must be Undercover Boss”. A chuckle in my response, I confirmed I was not connected to the show, but was also an employee of IHG. I shared how much I appreciated her, a genuine thank you, and she wished me a wonderful day.

Now that we are leaving reality TV behind us, let’s join the clergy?  Barbara was the flight leader on our Delta flight to Atlanta from San Francisco. In passing through the galley, Barbara asked if I was a member of the clergy. Clergy? Perplexed, had alcohol, traveling with my sister, unsure why she would think that. We talked for a bit, she explained she thought I was potentially in the church because I expressed a genuine interest in her, appreciated her, used her name and engaged with her directly. In passing, my sister explained that I was in the hospitality industry which for Barbara, that explained it.

Now that we have walked away from Undercover Boss, opted to not pursue the clergy, let’s revisit California. A young french mother of two young kids was boarding the Eurostar to Paris. The steps were high, the bags were big, and her hands were full. I retrieved her bags from the platform and stowed them away. I brought her other items to her seat. as full, another rider of 3 had luggage, two young kids, and in need of settling. I thought nothing the more of it, mid travel she pardoned to interrupt us with a question, “Are you from California?”

This being my third moment of inspiration in just the first 3 days, she explained, “I was in California last year, the people were so nice, you were so helpful, you must be from California. People in Europe don’t do that for others”. My sister and I briefly talked about chivalry and the world we are in. While being originally from California I don’t believe that’s the connection.

It all comes back to – The Human Element. Read: A Journey to define The Human Element (THE) . Jackie, Barbara or the young french mother cost me nothing and made me richer in life.

Each day YOU have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other, if you miss that moment, it may not come around again. Pay it forward, use peoples name and never assume peoples walks of life, never discount them and appreciate everyone you come in contact with.

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