Whenever I hear of someone treating another person badly, I get very upset. Like many of you, I come into contact with a cross-section of Barbadians on a daily basis.
For my first column with Barbados Today, I would like to implore Barbadians to fully understand the golden rule in life. How we treat others is how we will eventually be treated. Money and class may fool us into thinking that certain aspects of life may never affect us. That said, God is the greatest comedian and life has a funny way of proving us wrong.
“Love thy neighbour as thyself”. By “neighbour” one may automatically believe that I am referring to our contemporaries and our peers -in essence, people on your socio-economic and intellectual level. It is always easier to be “nice” to people like you. However, someone once highlighted to me that you can always tell a person’s character by how they treat the waitress.
The customer service in Barbados is in dire need of an overhaul. Although this topic would be addressed in a subsequent column, there are some wonderful instances where persons exceed my expectations as a customer. There are also some instances where I wish I could advise persons to fire their customers!
I have seen people I have been close to, as well as strangers, treat customer service representatives in the worst way possible – talking down to them and being entirely disrespectful and obnoxious.
When we work hard to achieve “success”, the most disappointing thing is for us to treat those who work for us or are dependent on us in a less than proper way.
How do successful people treat their employees? Are they treated like slaves? Are there unrealistic expectations of them? Are they well? Are “successful” people fair in their negotiation with employees’ pay rates as they are with the negotiations they perform for themselves?
From the inception of writing columns, I made a promise to never write about scenarios told to me unless I got the full permission from the person who shared the information. This does not change with Mind Your Mouth. The confidentiality rule still applies.
I understand our harsh economic reality. Work is hard to come by for many and we need to understand that, for the most part, we do not fully incorporate all the tenets of good customer service. However, there is a difference between service and servitude.
We must also be careful not to “surprise ourselves”. I first heard this term from my mother. To surprise oneself means that you got in life what you did not plan for and as a result, you go on a rampage of obnoxious behaviour. That said, someone who exceeded their life goals and is generally and genuinely a good person would not be referred to as “surprising herself”. People who surprise themselves often have an air of arrogance because they somehow believe that they got where they are without the help and guidance of God or anyone else.
This, for the most part, is not an issue for me. What people do with their lives is their business. The major problem for me arises when these persons treat people who they believe are less than them horribly.
Additionally, “successful” people must understand that you cannot be one way in the chapel and another way in the street. Your concerns for humanity must be a 24-7 job. It cannot be reserved only for your friends, acquaintances, and people you may want to impress. You should not talk down to your hairdresser, nail technician, home-help or tailor.
I was once told of an individual who unfortunately had a degenerative disease. In its early stages, the person stumbled in the office and the messenger offered to assist her. In front of the other witnesses, the individual proceeded to curse the messenger and state “Why would you ever think I would need help from YOU!” With that, she dusted off her clothes and proceeded to her destination. The messenger was left very embarrassed. Within a year, the individual was bed-ridden and had very little visitors. Guess who reached out and was with her even in her dying days? The messenger. Thankfully, before she died, she realized the errors of her ways and apologized to the messenger who had subsequently become her closest friend. RIP, Angel.
Politicos also need to assess their behaviour out of the spotlight. You cannot be good to the people in the constituency and horrible to all others. This is Barbados – a small island!
Quite recently, I posted a sentiment on my Facebook account where I had seen a politico (not someone who ran for office but rather, a semi-yard fowl) in a nasty back and forth with other people on social media. I wondered the rationale behind getting into name-calling sessions with people who simply do not hold your political view. However, to each his own. I messaged the gentleman and said, “Sometimes, it is ok to disagree and keep scrolling.” Admittedly in my annoyance, I did not follow my own advice. I threw some ‘shade’ on my account stating that we cannot treat people like faeces one day and in five years smile, be “nice” and beg said same people for a vote. Many agreed.
The sentiment posted under my original post which got the most traction was a lady who spoke of a story where she and her daughter were stranded by the side of the road after their car broke down. The rain started to pour, and they sought shelter under a tree. Her very young toddler daughter wanted to use the bathroom. As a result, she took her daughter to a nearby home. When the door opened, and the lady asked if her daughter could use the bathroom, she was met with scant regard. Furthermore, she and her daughter were asked to vacate the property immediately forcing them back into the pouring rain. Needless to say, the little girl urinated herself. Imagine the mother’s shock a few days later when the house-owner was on television proudly stating her commitment to women’s rights and championing the causes of our country’s less fortunate. LOL!
These are just a few instances but I hope that the need to treat others properly resonates with all of us. This is not because we would more than likely be exposed but because it is the right thing to do. God bless you all.
Toni Thorne is a founder and entrepreneur who enjoys a great debate, family time, island life and minding her mouth! Email: [email protected]