How a Good Ticket Agent is the Key to a Successful Day


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Life is stressful. The societal pressures of work, providing for your family, body image, social media, etc. are bad enough; the last thing you need early in the morning is a grumpy ticket agent to start your day off on a miserable note. Here’s my story…

the Key to a Successful Day

I haven’t taken the train into New York City, from my home in New Jersey, in roughly 10 years. I sure don’t miss the crowds or the unfriendly ticket agents. Guess dealing with fellow commuters gets to them too. Today was to be different…

On the New Jersey Transit trains there are blue-suited attendants, ticket agents, who monitor the passengers to ensure they have a valid ticket to ride the train. One by one they stop by each seat and collect the ticket, punch a hole in it and move on to the next passenger.

This is what you usually hear…

“Tickets, get your tickets out”. “Have your tickets ready” or some similar phrase.

Never a please, or hello and definitely not a good morning.

Sliding into my seat I waited patiently for the “floor show” to begin. That’s what I used to call the banter between the agent and hapless passenger.

“Hey, good morning, thanks. Have a great day”. “Morning, how are you doing today?” “Hello, may I have your ticket please?” “Great, thanks and have a wonderful day”.

I couldn’t believe my ears. I thought this was a conversation between the riders until I heard him asking for the ticket. I had to turn around and see what was happening.

Sure enough it was the ticket agent!

Stopping by each rider as they boarded the train he seemed to go out of his way to be pleasant and welcoming to every early morning passenger.  I watched and listened to this gentleman over the 1 hour ride into NYC in the hopes of catching him off guard and failing to greet his customers in the same manner. He never faltered.

On a few occasions he entered into an extended conversation with a rider and asked about their family, their past vacation or the fact that he hasn’t seen them on the train in a while. He took a sincere interest in his passengers and they appreciated it.

This is how business, and customer service, used to be.

Well, as the train got busier as we neared our final destination, I noticed that now, each passenger was more and more friendly with the agent and willingly entered into their own brief conversation and well wishes for a nice day.

It’s contagious and almost impossible to not respond in a similar manner to someone who is kind, respectful and pleasant towards you.  Go ahead, I dare you to try it!

This ticket agent, while doing a relatively mundane job, provided a warm welcome, brief pleasantries and a fond farewell to each of the passengers, his customers. He created a friendly atmosphere on a public train that would have been unheard of years before.

This is absolute proof that…

Each of us has the ability to change people and to change ourselves.
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It’s all in the power of persuasion and creating a positive mindset – then sharing it with others. I’m sure that most of today’s passengers arrived at their destination with a smile on their face and looked forward to a successful day.

We should take, and use his example for ourselves and provide a brief and welcome moment of happiness and decency for our fellow man.

As I exited the train I wished to find the agent and commend him on a job well done; not on how he collected the tickets, but how he made the start of the day a little brighter for so many people – including me.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find him. He probably was helping someone off the train with their bags or doing some other nice deed. We need more people like that. Well done my friend!

And a good morning to you too…

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve DiGioia
Steve uses his 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry to help companies and their employees improve service, increase morale and provide the experience their customers' desire. Author of "Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift...Even If You're a Bad Waiter" and named an "ICMI Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leader" and a "Top Customer Service Influencer" by CCW Digital, Steve continues his original customer service, leadership and management-based writings on his popular blog.


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