Having dinner at a local restaurant, we were attentively and politely served by a young lady who impressed us with her professional behavior. Because I’m in the habit of saying thank you for good service, I thanked her several times. Each time, her response was, “Of course.”

Admittedly, it’s my bad habit of listening to people, whether their speech is normally deemed important or not. The thought that I had to her “of courses” was to wonder what happened to “You’re welcome.” On other occasions, not necessarily at this restaurant, my thank yous have been answered with “No problem,” or “Not a problem,” other substitutes for “You’re welcome.”

Am I the only one who wonders why we don’t typically acknowledge a thanks with equal gratitude? While I don’t believe that this is symbolic of immediate and permanent collapse of our world as we know it, I do think about what we’re teaching our kids and why. This server must have been taught somewhere along the way that when someone says, “Thank you,” a totally excellent answer is, “You’re welcome.”

When we take this to another level, maybe “of course” and “no problem” are the same as saying that I am welcome to that service. The concern that I have are that this server or these servers feel that they are managing the dinner or lunch or breakfast venue and that the patrons are participants in their dramas. Yes, I know that this is probably over-analysis, or analysis paralysis. But I can’t be the only one who misses a cordial, “You are so welcome.”

Having had several issues recently with attendants who were so busy doing their jobs that they forgot being customer-service oriented, these feelings are close to the surface. Wednesday, I had to ask a car rental check-in person to lift my suitcase out of the trunk. He had completed his paperwork and was ready for the next customer. Likewise, a driver of the shuttle to the airport from car rental was happy to lift the suitcase onto the shuttle but handed it off to me to remove when the trip was complete, without attempting to move the suitcase to the sidewalk.

Common sense is sometimes not common. At the very least, I am extremely conscientious while in the classroom, letting my students know that being kind and thoughtful never goes out of style. Shalom.

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