I placed my groceries in the trunk of my car. Then I started pushing my shopping cart in the direction of the collection area in the parking lot where a man was gathering up the carts to take inside. With a smile, the man walked towards me and motioned for me to give him my cart.
I gladly gave it to him and said, “Thank you, James.”
James’ face perked up. He looked pleased and bewildered. This was the first time we had ever met. I knew his name only because he was wearing a name tag. James is a Walmart employee. There are a dozen possible explanations for why James seemed surprised by my expression of gratitude.
The simplest explanation is probably the correct one: James was not used to being acknowledged in that way.
Regrettably, graciousness, civility, consideration, politeness, and gratitude are courtesies that are often only extended to people in high social positions. It is convenient to respect and acknowledge those that we consider equals or superiors while disregarding those of “lower class.” The people that care for our children, prepare and serve our food, haul our goods, and clean our streets are frequently brushed off and treated as if they are dispensable.
This is what is called, “snobbery.”
Frankly, snobbery does not only plague the wealthy. Everyday people are just as likely to be discourteous to others especially when they believe that they can get away with it.
Decent human beings should not behave that way.
If we believe that there is dignity in work, then we should start treating everyone that works with dignity.
Show some respect. Even when you do not have to.
“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” —Matthew 25:40