Good Service, Not So Common

I had one of those random acts of kindness experiences today that don’t happen often enough to keep people from becoming cynical and depressed, but obviously should.

I was having lunch with representatives of the rental car company I use to provide transportation for my performers. (Like I said yesterday, I ain’t letting any moss grow on my planning for next year.) I had some complaints about the service we had received last year and these folks wanted to make sure they had a handle on them since the corporate accounts rep was moving on to another job.

The young woman who was serving us was right on top of everything and really charismatic. I commented to my companions that today was the fastest I had ever been served in that restaurant. We told the server that we were impressed with her and she confessed that she actually thought she wasn’t doing as well as she should because she had been working 10 days straight and was on call for tomorrow. She had the classic story. Pre-med taking a semester off to save enough money for next year when she wouldn’t have time to work.

When we finished our meal, one of the rental car folks walked up to the kitchen door, waited for the young woman to emerge, gave her the tip directly and offered her a job.

I guess the act of kindness wasn’t so random since the young woman certainly earned the recognition. I thought it was a great thing to do as a compliment to the woman for her hard work. Also, if you see someone providing the type of service you have just spent an hour assuring a client they will receive, it is a smart move to try to grab the person.

As the years have gone by since I started in the performing arts I have come to realize that the level of professionalism and conscientiousness I once assumed everyone was devoting to their jobs isn’t as common as I thought. Part of the discussion I had with my assistant theatre manager yesterday skirted the edge of groveling with gratitude for the job she has been doing. Ten/fifteen years ago, I would have taken her attentiveness for granted as something all people in her position would naturally do.

Now I know better. So too, I imagine, do you my loyal readers. It will be with some regret that I remove her name from our website tomorrow morning. She deserves the recognition of working here. But if laboring in obscurity is the price she has to pay so I can keep you all from stealing her away from me, I am willing to have her pay it.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


1 thought on “Good Service, Not So Common”

  1. Hi Joe,

    This is a great post because it reminds me to remember to honor people for their good work and commitment.

    Nobody is entitled to great service, but we all expect it. I certainly want it as do most people.

    Thanks for the reminder.


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