Little things mean a lot – things like giving a purposeful and genuine smile or look of concern, noticing differences, remembering small details, or simply acknowledging someone by name.  Actually, these things might be “little” when given to others, but as I discovered this week, they are really big things when one is the recipient of them. 

Last Sunday I headed out from the Port of New Orleans on a cruise with a group of 22 family and friends.  Though not sure what to expect, [since the last time I cruised was 40 years ago] I was pleased beyond measure – and what struck me most was the hospitality of the staff. 

The room stewards, hostesses, wait staff and entire crew took notice.  Every time I passed a staff member I got an acknowledgement of some type – a smile, strong eye contact, a nod, a greeting.  They asked questions, showed concern, and looked for ways to engage.

The atmosphere was similar to our experience at Disney, but it went deeper.  I believe this was due to the staff’s purposeful way of cultivating positive relationships.  They didn’t just help us have a magical day, [Disney reference] they went out of their way to get to know us. 

I’m certain at times the staff got frustrated, felt tired, and were overworked – but it never showed.  They never let any of the negative input impact their positive output.  What a different world it would be if we all did that.  I, for one, will learn from this and try to do the same.

It doesn’t take a lot.  When we intentionally connect, smile, and take notice, people feel special – and that changes everything.

PS – Huge shout-out to Aphisit, our room steward, and Raluca, our head waitress at dinner.  Aphisit took care of our entire bank of rooms and crafted great towel animals for us each day.  Raluca is the bomb.  We could have sat anywhere for dinner each night – but we sought her out because she [and her team] went above and beyond knowing names, dietary issues, etc….  On several occasions she anticipated our needs, smiled and simply said, “I know my people.”   [Plus, she nursed me through a 24-hour stomach bug with a never-ending flow of ginger ale.