My recent medical diagnostic test resulted in some very enlightening encounters. The gastroenterologist was amicable and conversational about his profession and his past. The anesthesiologist was also chatty and thorough.

But one of the nurses was extraordinary in her explanations and confidence-establishing rapport. On five or six occasions, she said, “Okay, Sis,” a term I haven’t heard in a very long time.

I guess that calling me “Sis” was for the sake of being friendly. It’s better than calling me “Patient” and I’m guessing that using my first name was a bit too familiar. Interestingly enough, when I said, “Thank you, nurse,” she quickly responded by furnishing her given name.

Maybe she calls all female patients “Sis.” Or maybe it’s a habit of hers since childhood. In any case, it was an illustration of doing what she could to make me feel comfortable in an otherwise uncomfortable situation.

We all have the ability and imperative to do the same in our everyday lives. When visiting a bank, I think it’s a good practice to notice the teller’s name and use it when thanking him or her for courtesy extended. The same can be said for grocery cashiers, service station personnel, and any other people who are committed to delivering excellent customer experiences.

When I enter a new classroom, I always introduce myself, promise an educational and fun time, and work diligently to remember student names. Students prefer to be addressed by name and as a substitute teacher whom they may never see again, I like for them to believe that I will remember them. Very often, I do.

It takes very little time and effort to acknowledge kindness, concern, and genuine attention to the needs of others. Saying thank you doesn’t cost anything or take much work. Advising someone that they have done a terrific job is that much better. You don’t need to call people “Sis” to achieve this. You simply need to mean it. Shalom.

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