Thursday, May 15, 2008

Serving Oatmeal With a Smile

madras, or
Originally uploaded by kevin russ

Odds are you don't know Sharon Davis. For the past three years in the cafeteria where I work she has been serving up my breakfast (usually oatmeal) with a smile and friendly attitude. Sharon has always been positive and genuine to everyone she comes across.

Today was Sharon's last day at work. Leaving not because she wanted to, but because of forces outside her control. Her mother has been ailing for a long time, and her sister is also in poor health. Yet very few people were even aware of this because she always stayed so positive and upbeat while serving our food.

Towards the end of the day I observed as my department (some 100-150 people) and a very large number of people from many other departments surprised her. Sharon was brought up to my department and she teared up as nearly everyone had stopped what they were doing and gave her a standing ovation as she entered the room. There were countless cards, hundreds of dollars raised, and numerous well wishers waiting to say good-bye to Sharon. It was a very touching and genuine moment.

Sometimes we think we have to be somebody of importance, or in an authoritative position to make a difference. We think we have no influence unless we wear a title like President, CEO, or manager. I'm not even sure that Sharon had an official title. Yet she influenced the large majority of a major corporation's home office in a positive way.

Sharon positively impacted countless people simply by serving oatmeal with a smile. How about you? How can you positively impact people's lives?

"Who shall set a limit to the influence of a human being?" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Chris said...

I'd be hard-pressed to name a genuinely nicer person than Sharon. I don't think she has a mean or phoney cell in her body. Here's hoping better days come her way soon.

Lezlie said...

What a lovely tribute. I have known many "Sharons" in my life and hope to be one myself. As Jim Hickey said in a lesson several years ago; you can either be a candle glower or a candle blower by your actions toward others. It sounds like Sharon is the type of person who helps others candles to glow brighter.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Sharon of course, but I have been blessed with many "Sharons" in my lifetime. A simple genuine smile from a stranger as you walk in the grocery store can even put a little bounce in your step. Thanks for sharing this is a good reminder that it is the little things that make a difference.