The news has been filled with stories about young people looting and rioting in London. The British prime minister has been lecturing their parents about the poor job they’ve done raising their kids. I encountered three young men this week who certainly did their parents proud. They were courteous, friendly, punctual and professional.
Ryan sold me a vacuum cleaner. He patiently answered all my questions about various brands, styles and attachments and asked good questions himself about what I needed my vacuum cleaner to be able to do. My new Sears credit card hadn’t arrived in the mail yet, but Ryan said it was no problem and spent time on the phone patiently dealing with office people to verify my card number. He told me he was a student at the Asper School of Business and selling appliances was his part-time job to help with his tuition costs. After I’d paid for my new vacuum cleaner he insisted on carrying it out to my car for me and chatted in a friendly way as we walked to and from my vehicle.
Morley from Noble Locks came to install a new lock on our mailbox in our condo lobby. I went downstairs at 8:20 to meet him for his 8:30 appointment and he was already pulled up in front of our building having a coffee. I knocked on the window of his van and said I’d be waiting inside when he was ready but rather than finish his coffee as I expected, he jumped right out of the van and followed me inside. The lock wasn’t easy to fix but he assured me this was his job and he’d figure it out. He told me about his Scottish and Irish heritage and we chatted about the fact that both he and Monty Hall were alumnus of St. John’s High School here in Winnipeg. He told me about the new car he’d just bought and his plans to save money for a house. Despite the fact he’d been ‘on call’ for the previous twenty-four hours, and had gone to take care of several lock emergencies during the night, he was alert and happy. My lock was fixed professionally and before leaving for his next appointment, Morley wished me a pleasant day and gave me his business card in case I had any problems with my new lock.
Chris from the Manitoba Telephone System shook my hand and gave me a friendly smile, slipping his shoes off politely before entering our condo to install our cable television, telephones and wireless internet service. We had a bit of a hunt to find the main cable connection but he was patient and used his flashlight to search behind cupboards and the piano so I wouldn’t have to move too many things. He gave me several options for where he could run the cords and helped me decide which would work the best and be the least visible. He joked about his short stature when requesting a chair to fasten the wires along the top of a doorway. He worked quickly and professionally. He obviously knew what he was doing and when he was finished gave me a tutorial on how my new television worked and carefully wrote down the numbers for my wireless service.
Two other gentlemen, quite a bit older than either Chris, Morley or Ryan were also in our condo installing our new washer and dryer from Sears and when they couldn’t find the pair of pliers they needed Chris lent them his. Chris carefully cleaned up after himself while the two middle-aged guys hooking up my laundry appliances left stuff all over the floor and since they had forgotten to bring duct tape told me I could finish installing my washer and dryer myself and move them back against the wall on my own. They could have taken a few lessons in courtesy and professionalism from their younger counterparts!
What next? One of the things I want to do in my retirement is look for positive things to write about young people. Having just completed six years of teaching high school I am a big fan of the current young adult generation. Its been a pleasure to teach them. The media seem to predominantly feature stories about what’s “wrong with our youth these days”. What would happen if more of us started talking about what’s great about the young people we encounter in our daily lives?