water bottles in iceBy Kim Fernandez

My husband tapped me on the shoulder, nodded behind me, and said, “Check it out.” We’d spent about an hour in a big showroom making one of those dreaded necessary purchases one delays as long as possible (“adulting”) and our salesperson had asked if we’d like a drink. We both asked for water and started playing on our phones, and then the tap and the nod happened.

I turned around and saw the man we were working with standing at a desk across the huge room. He’d picked two water bottles out of a cooler and was pulling tissues out of a box, which he then used to carefully dry the bottles off before walking back over to hand them to us. I laughed, “We could have done that,” and he shrugged and smiled and went to find out whether our paperwork was ready.

Maybe a manager taught him to dry off water bottles before handing them to customers–maybe it’s part of their company training. My gut says his momma ingrained it in him as a reflex, along with holding doors, saying please and thank you, and picking up things other people drop. Either way, it was a three-second touch that spoke volumes and went a whole long way toward making a potentially unpleasant experience quite bearable. Those little things made me want to work with him again should the opportunity present itself.

Sometimes the extra mile is an inch, but it makes all the difference.

Kim Fernandez is IPMI’s director of publications and editor of Parking & Mobility.