Everyday, we enjoy cushioned benefits given to us from the hard work of dozens of members of the service industry. For college students especially, these benefits only increase within the day-to-day happenings of a university. Unfortunately, the busyness of a schedule can often greatly impede our ability to see the many benefits we enjoy, and more importantly, to thank the ones behind it.
As someone who has spent five years in various facets of the service industry, I have seen and been the recipient of nearly every aspect of these jobs, the good, the bad and the ugly. To be a waiter, grocery clerk or a food vendor, is a job that requires much more from a person than what is just in the job description. The weight of frequent mistreatment and abrasive language is something we rarely see from the defenseless members of this industry.
There truly are fewer places to better test one’s patience than in these jobs; if you’re looking for a place to exercise some godly grace and forgiveness, just get a job in a grocery store. To be a part of this industry is an eye opening experience, and one that I believe everyone should have.
The luxury of having someone clean the bathrooms or serve us our food often becomes so familiar that we forget that this person has a name and a family. And the stress and frustration we project onto them is the last thing they deserve. If we think our lives are stressful, imagine having to deal with our hundreds of sour attitudes along with a job responsibility and a life outside of work.
The unfortunate truth behind these workers’ mistreatment is that we feel entitled to a point where, in our minds, the service we receive comes before their due respect.
This week’s snow day was a testament to this point. While students and professors enjoyed the snow almost as much as the lack of responsibility, the school’s grounds crew spent hours shoveling, salting and scraping the ice and snow out of our paths so that we could safely walk from our comfortable dorms to our pre-cooked meals.
This statement is not to assign guilt to anyone. Of course the students on campus have paid to be here. However, there is so much danger in thinking that these benefits are anything we “deserve” or are “entitled to.” We should all take time to realize how easy it is to misconstrue the difference between a privilege and an entitlement.
We should strive to avoid making any job harder for the ones cleaning up after us, we should always extend a genuine politeness and gratitude to the one waiting our tables, and at the absolute least, we should know the name of the one serving us.
God looks on everyone with a favor and love that cannot be comprehended. With that in mind, we should all extend that love to everyone and look for an opportunity to be the servant ourselves.