A word in the right place ...

A word can be a very powerful thing. Sometimes an unexpected word can have a major effect.

Our bus on Friday was 8 minutes late. This doesn't sound like much, but it's enough to mean I miss my train home. And it obviously affects quite a few people who catch the same bus. Someone else said something to this effect to the driver as they got on the bus. He was polite, but obviously wasn't happy when he replied. In short he was having a bad day. He was late and he knew it, but I suspected it wasn't his fault. During the journey I was thinking about asking him what had happened as I got off. I knew I was going to have missed my train by that time so there wasn't any point in rushing. And I genuinely wanted to know what had caused the delay. We've change bus operators recently and the new service is much poorer. I'm going to raise this with the operators, but ideally I'd like to know why it's going wrong first. It's easier to fix that way. As everyone was getting off I was hanging back to see if I could speak to him. At the last moment I decided to change tack. It wasn't going to help him if I asked what had gone wrong and he looked awful. His shoulders were slumped and rubbing his face with his hand in the way people do when they're having a really bad day, and it's not over yet. So instead I just said "Thank you, and have a good Easter." in a cheerful voice. The effect was startling - he obviously wasn't expecting anyone to go beyond the normal "Thank you". His whole demeanour changed. His face went from glum to a tentative smile, his shoulders lost their weary slump, and he looked up and wished me a "Happy Easter" back.

For once I had managed the right word in the right place at the right time. I don't pull it off very often, but when you nail it, it's wonderful :-)

So just for today, see if you can get the right word in the right place at the right time and make someone else feel good. Compliment a friend, help a stranger, or wish a shop assistant a good day and mean it :-)

Jamie Whitehorn

Jamie Whitehorn

A self proclaimed geek who loves technology, data, computers and science; but balances this by spending time with his wonderful better half and their dogs and horses in the countryside.

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