If you were asked to do a survey of service oriented businesses, which business do you think would rank the most courteous? As a Marketing Director for a local Chick-fil-A, I hope you would find it to be our dining establishment. In my position, I observe the interactions between team members and our guests and many times connect with them myself. I am proud to say that most of the time, the team members are very polite and courteous to the guests. This is because hospitality is of the utmost importance, so much so that each restaurant has a “Hospitality Director.” This person is responsible for making sure that the recipe for service is carried out by all team members at all times in the restaurant. One of the basic ingredients is saying “my pleasure” instead of “your welcome.” I’ll admit that this did not come easy for me, but that may have to do with the fact that I started my job at Chick-fil-A at the age of fifty-two. After a few months, it became more natural and most of the time I really mean it!
Now, think about that survey again. Which business would rank the least courteous? This is not a business bashing session, but what makes one group of people courteous and another group discourteous or rude?
The definition of rude in Dictionary.com is “discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way; without culture, learning or refinement; rough in manners or behavior; unmannerly, uncouth.”
The apostle Paul said that it all boils down to love. In his letter about love to the Corinthians, he said “Love is not rude” (1 Corinthians 13:4, AMP). The New International Version and the New Living Translation of the Bible both say, “Love does not dishonor others.” Stop and think about that, when we are rude or discourteous to someone, we are dishonoring that person.
This letter was not the only time Paul mentioned honoring others. In his letter to Titus he reminds the people to “be kind and conciliatory and gentle, showing unqualified consideration and courtesy toward everyone” (Titus 3:2 AMP). He also reminds all believers that before “the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared” through Jesus Christ, we were just like those who are rude and do not honor others. This message makes me want to put on my husband’s safety boots! As a believer I am to be this all the time, and I can’t use any excuses like feeling poorly, lack of sleep, being hangry (hungry and angry), or wanting to even the score.
It’s admirable when a person or company is hospitable and courteous, but for believers it’s more than that. It’s obeying what Jesus our Savior taught when he said, “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matthew 5: 39b NIV). Jesus also was the first one to come up with the concept of “second mile service,” when he said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles” (Matthew 5:41). As a follower of Jesus Christ, Truett Cathy the founder of Chick-fil-A was the one who put “second mile service” into practice in the corporate and restaurant world. And God has blessed him, his family and company for adhering to this principle. Jesus also taught “Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31 NIV). Many refer to this as the Golden Rule. I want people to treat me with kindness, courtesy and respect, so I too should treat all people this way.
I’ll admit that working at Chick-fil-A has made me more aware of how I speak and react to people no matter if I am in the restaurant, at the grocery store or out in the neighborhood. One of the hardest things to do is stay calm and courteous when a guest is being rude for no reason. Just a few days ago, the afternoon shift dealt in a professional and godly way with a guest who spoke in an impolite manner to several of the team members in the earshot of the owner/operator. I was so proud of all of them!
Being rude to a guest at Chick-fil-A is not acceptable for a team member, but being rude anywhere is just not acceptable for a Christian. “God’s people should be big-hearted and courteous” (Titus 3:2 The Message) even if they aren’t fortunate enough to work in a place of business that stresses going the second mile.