Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The nicest people in the world.

You forget, sometimes, in the sea of crabby, irritable, non-helpful people one experiences in corporate/retail America, that there are actually genuinely nice people scattered in the mix.
That not every trip into a shop or restaurant is going to bring you to someone who hates their job or would prefer not to be finding you new sizes of shirts or serving you your burger.

Sometimes, people are just awesome.

And this is why I love going to the bank.

I know, I know. Going to the bank is an mundane an experience as taking out the garbage or brushing your teeth. And at least brushing your teeth leaves you with minty fresh breath.

But going to the US Bank I only recently discovered is but a 3 minute drive from my house has since made its way up the list of things I quite enjoy doing.

Today I had a check I needed to deposit, and while I was groaning about having to stop at the post office and the grocery store (honestly, how does one girl go through so much milk?) I was thrilled about stopping at the bank.

My favorite part about this bank is the security guard, Steve. He's this larger man with a slightly goofy smile, and his job (aside from general security things) is to open the door for customers. It's not customary for security guards to open the door for people going to the bank. He just does it because he likes to.

The first time I went, I thought he was just being nice. He opened the door, I smiled and said thank you, he smiled back, I got in line. On my way out, he opened it for me again. What a nice man.

The next time I went, Steve was talking to someone and didn't see I was coming in until my hand was already on the door. His eyes widened a little and he made a lunge to get to it before I did, but saw his effort was futile. He actually looked a little disappointed in himself as I let myself in the building. It broke my heart.

So now, I make it a point to hang back and wait until he sees me, nonchalantly giving him time to get to the door before I get there.

Today I noticed he wasn't standing next to the door at all, so I actually pretended I'd left something in my car and walked back, allowing him enough time to finish what he was doing and get back to the door. Maybe that's silly. Maybe most people wouldn't think twice about letting someone open the door for them, when usually the idea is to get in and out of places like the bank as fast as you can. But the smile on Steve's face when he opens the door and asks me how my day has been makes those extra few minutes so, so worth it.

And it's not just Steve! This whole bank is a vortex of niceness, a haven of polite and genuinely happy and helpful people. Literally every employee I've ever seen at this bank either really loves working in banking, really loves their customers, tries to find the good or positive in everything they do, or are fantastic actors.

Either way, today I just couldn't handle it anymore. I was standing in front of the nice bank teller who'd just finished telling me he'd spent his lunch break sitting in the sun at the park and was encouraging me to walk to the rest of my errands rather than driving so I could experience the nice weather we were having as well, and instead of saying, "thanks, see you later," I just said, "You are all so NICE."

"What?" he asked me, slightly taken a back. The correct response here in the scheme of general bank interactions is the bland, "have a nice day!" before turning around and leaving. Not today, Buzz.

"Everyone who works here! You're just so nice. Especially that guy," I said, pointing to Steve.

He smiled warmly at me, thanked me for the compliment, and said they were a big family. All these bank people, of different ethnicity and age and background. I felt like I dropped into some parallel universe or something.

As I was leaving I repeated my compliment to Steve whose face lit up, and I noticed a little extra spring in his step as he opened the door for me to leave. He thanked me about three different times for what I'd said, and as I was leaving, I just felt baffled. Surely other people have noticed the unnatural pleasantness of this particular branch of US Bank. Surely people have said something to them before. I hope I'm not the first one to thank them for making my banking experience once of my favorite parts of my day.

Last google search: "buzz lightyear"
Chipotle burritos: 8

32 comments:

eibbore said...

I do sometime forget that not everyone doesn't want to be at there job. I don't particularly like going to stores because for ages I haven't had great experiences. I suppose sometimes we should make their day.

I love my retail job and I always try to be nice to customers, I don't even think about it. It's just the attitude I have when I walk on the floor. I hope I can make someone's day. Give them that wow moment, because it's the best feeling.

sobia said...

Maybe it's just us British who are just extra mean or something, but when I visited the US (Baltimore, MD, if that makes a difference) EVERYONE was really really nice. I had to get used to saying 'please', 'thank you' and 'you're welcome' ALL the time, because over here we only say it sometimes, not like ALL the time.

I like nice people :)

bassrocks9 said...

Haha. This is reminding of that episode of Seinfeld, where Elaine meets three guys that seem very similar to Jerry, George, and Kramer, except that all really nice and they read BOOKS and go to the LIBRARY. lol. And it freaks her out.

Allie Bunni said...

It's so nice when people are nice. =)

Stephanie said...

One thing I've noticed is that oftentimes there's a connection with the attitude of the manager. My last year and a half of HS I worked at a dollar store in my town, and no matter what I thought of the job itself, I liked getting to go and see the people. Not long after I left for college the manager moved to a different store-and since she left, and from what I heard from my sister and others who still worked there at the time, it hardly seemed like the same place anymore. At this point, I don't actually think any of the same people are still working there!

muse88 said...

I'm Irish and the first time I went to America I went to a drive-thru bank with my sister-in-law. While we were waiting for a receipt from the clerk, we discussed in detail how you could possibly rob a drive-thru bank. The clerk could hear us through the intercom and instead of setting the security man on us he sent us two yummy lollipops down the shute. If that isn't excellent customer service I don't what is! :D

alylurker said...

I love it when people DFTBA!

Holly said...

I feel a setting for a Short Story coming on . . .
I *dare* you to write NaNoWriMo about these folk. It's like Suite Scarlett, but instead of a hotel, you could set it in a bank!

bloodyx_xfairy24 said...

i usually hate taking public transit here in toronto. sometimes i think some of the bus drivers get some sick pleasure out of driving away even when they see us run for the bus :( but sometimes you run into the nicest of bus drivers.
there's this one man who i've seen quite a few times and he always makes random jokes during the ride to the station.
it really brightens my day :)

Niki. said...

Awhh. Nice people are awesome. You're awesome for acknowledging and appreciating how nice they are, too. =].

seurat2 said...

Regarding the nicest people in the world: it takes one to know one Kristina. And I'm afraid not to many people are as nice as you, so the bank people haven't heard that too often. Good luck with ANTM and if you do get in I'm sure you'll have fun.

Hege said...

Sounds like you were in a movie ! :D Like breakfast at the US bank :D

Made me happy just reading about it : ))

Elisabeth said...

I find it to be banks in general. Every time I go to any of the three branches of the bank I use, staff are always really friendly and cheerful.

KateChenoweth said...

I live in England and I don't know what it is but people just aren't that friendly over here! I love it whenever I visit the US because everyone is so nice pretty much all the time. Sure there are some crabby people but the majority are so pleasant I love visiting.

Kai said...

I love when you have an experience like that!
But the sad thing is that you may have been one of very few who actually took notice of how awesome they were. People these days!

asimplecadence said...

Lol, It's likes pleasantville in there, huh?

Mr.ME! said...

Its nice to hear about places like your bank, my newsagents is very similar :D
Also, when you said about how you could go through so much milk I immediately felt hypnotised into drinking milk, it was delicious. Although I felt brainwashed

tumble said...

haha WOW.
that experience sounds like it just came out of a movie or something :D

If someone was that nice to me, I would get suspicious and think that they were trying to sell me a product-- that's usually what happens in singapore xD

Joy said...

You should print this off and send it to the US Bank headquarters or something :) I'm sure they get lots of complaints, I'm sure they'd love to hear about stuff they do well.

And maybe they'll all end up getting bonuses or something :)

I love how just being nice to someone can make the biggest difference in someone's day... it's so simple, we all should do it more often.

TommyKay said...

Mmm I know this kind of thing works the other way round. I work as a checkout operator in a huge supermarket and the majority of people coming through my till don't really talk or can be quite snappy with me. I'm not complaining, I know they probably don't really want to be there as much as me. But sometimes when I'm having a really bad day (like when I had the flu and got a customer complaint for not smiling) you'll get that one customer who turns things around by asking you how things are and having a nice chat with you. I like nice people :)

Lorena said...

This made me all warm inside :) I wish everywhere and everyone would be like that.
Oh, and milk ftw. <3

Madeline said...

"a vortex of niceness"

That phrase made me LOL. I wonder if you've found a bank full of Nerdfighters?

triciamacmillan said...

What a nice blog post. It sort of made my day, thinking about all those lovely people at banks across the world.

daiana said...

This has nothing to do with anything... BUT, I read this post last night and i had a vocabulary test today and one of the words was "futile". I got an A because I remembered what it meant because you used it on this blog post, so thank you miss Tina.

Manuel said...

Reading this made me happy :)

Cassie said...

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...make your own pokemon trainer!

European Girl said...

This is the happiest blog post ever!

Gen Dahl said...

This is how I feel about you, Kristina. Your blogs aren't for you--you know what you did today, but you write them for people like me, who enjoy reading them. You are my role model. Thanks for blogging today!

Megha Patel said...

I agree with you! I absolutely love going to the bank. Everyone is so much nicer and happy and it's like you just want to stay there and feel the warmth of their smiles. I thought I was the only one who noticed this and felt bad and kind of childish, but I'm glad I'm not! I love how wonderful they felt when you said they were nice. I do hope more people tell them that, as well. The next time I go to the bank, I'll be sure to tell the people there how nice they are. (:

kez said...

kristina, you should totally audition for glee! http://www.myspace.com/gleeauditions?link=510204266

邱志誠 said...

心中有愛,才會人見人愛。......................................................

Rennie said...

Aw, this blog post seriously just made my day. Nice people are just so wonderful! People like Steve the bank guy or this piano teacher at my school who go out of their way to be nice to people seriously give me hope for humanity. And niceness is contagious! When someone is nice to me, I feel like being nice to other people. I was at an audition yesterday and some random person went out of their way to wish me an absolutely genuine "good luck" and it honestly relieved a little of my stress. It was wonderful. Nice people make me happy.