We are so glad to have ya

Josh Babcock, December 15th, 2023 | Street Sweeper

My wife and I had traveled from Buffalo, NY, to Pensacola, FL, for a Farley Family Vacation 1. We had arrived at the Atlanta Airport at around 9 a.m. for a three-hour layover. Our first stop was breakfast, followed by finding a cozy table in the concession dining area to settle in for a while.

We were sipping our coffee, chatting, reading, and people-watching. One of the restaurants near our table was ‘Fresh To Order’, where I noticed a man standing outside the counter area. There was something special about him. His name was Ronald. Ronald was a little older, had a small limp, and had the biggest smile. He would greet every customer with “We are so glad to have ya,” and when they left, he would say, “We thank you so much.” There was usually a pretty long line the whole time I was watching. Ronald would say, “There is gonna be about a 15 to 20-minute wait, probably shorter but definitely in that window.” He would then announce, “The quinoa salad is today’s special. You won’t want to miss it. We got our best cooking staff in today,” and then he’d say all their names, making them light up every time. The lady sitting alone next to us turned to us and said, “Isn’t he just the best?” And of course, we agreed, “Yes, he is.” Ronald noticed we were eating, came up to our table and gave us some napkins. He continued to do that with many of the surrounding tables that needed them too. Whenever someone left a table after finishing eating, Ronald would come over and give it a little extra clean.

Grace and I decided to leave our table for a bit to stretch our legs. Our plane got delayed another hour, so now we had the chance to eat lunch at the airport as well. We both turned to each other and knew, “We have to get something from Ronald!” We headed back; Grace went to get a table while I waited in line. Let me tell you, I felt known and loved while waiting in that line. Ronald looked at me and repeated his warm welcome and details about the quinoa salad special. After 10 minutes of experiencing the most joyous customer service, the lady behind me said, “I wish I was half as happy as him, and I’m the one on vacation about to order food from him.” When it was my turn to order, we naturally went with the quinoa salad special. I got my order, and Ronald looked at me again, saying, “We thank you so much,” and handed me some extra napkins.

We didn’t have much time, so we headed for our terminal to eat our lunch there, but Grace and I were both grinning from cheek to cheek.

As the plane took off, I put on my headphones and started listening to an audiobook. After a few minutes, it hit me: Ronald is a Street Sweeper.

Key Principles from Ronald’s Actions:

  • Exceeding Joy Makes Everyone Around You More Joyful
  • Giving Praise to Others
  • Knowing Your Role
  • Doing Your Role to the Best of Your God-Given Abilities

Exceeding Joy Makes Everyone Around You More Joyful

Ever watch a cute puppy walk up to a group, or when a cute baby starts to giggle? Immediately, you see how everyone’s demeanor changes positively. When you meet an adult who has this effect on people, it’s truly something special. That’s what Ronald does to everyone in his vicinity. Remember, choosing to be joyful is different from just being happy. Happiness is an emotion which comes and goes. Joyfulness is a heart posture and a choice. Being joyful comes from where you are rooted. I don’t know what Ronald was going through that day, good or bad, but I know for a fact he choose to be joyful.

Giving Praise to Others

I heard this quote from Craig Groeschel in a podcast three years ago, and it has stuck with me: “Appreciate more than you think you should, then double it.” What if we all did this with our families, friends, workplaces, or even strangers? Let people know, from big things to small, that their work is not going unnoticed. This doesn’t have to be something huge; it can be a small post-it note or just expressing it to them in person. No one says, “Here comes so-and-so again. I bet they’re going to be encouraging and let me know that they appreciate me… I just can’t stand it today.” Think of a relationship with someone you highly respect or look up to. Maybe a parent, a boss, a friend, or your spouse. You can never hear enough that they are proud of you of the work you are doing. Ronald made it crystal clear that day. He appreciated the work his team was doing and was proud to be part of the team.

Knowing Your Role

We are all on different teams in life, and it is vital to know and own your role. While the quarterback might be the most impactful role on an NFL football team, every role is vital to the health of the overall team and is needed to achieve the team’s overall goal. The same is true for families, workplaces, churches, and any team you’re on. The important part is to know what YOUR role is on that current team. Ronald knew his role on the Fresh-To-Order team. He might not have been casting vision like the CEO or preparing the quinoa salad, but he owned his role in greeting and serving customers.

Doing Your Role to the Best of Your God-Given Abilities

Sometimes we just need to show up, put our heads down, don’t overthink, and work. We are all meant to work, and not just any type of work. The type of work that, when you rest your head on your pillow at night, whether the day went great or not as you wanted, you think to yourself, “I put my full effort into my role today.” That is the beauty of work. We can all hit the pillow at night and feel that way, but it’s a choice that is up to us. Whether you’re a lawyer, customer service rep, teacher, waiter, mom, dad, or Ronald.

Every day, we all have a choice to choose to be a Street Sweeper in the role we’re placed in today. I know the days when I choose to be a Street Sweeper are days when I feel much more fulfilled, living my purpose for my life. Pick up your broom today and let’s make our streets as clean as we can!