I Finally Got a Smile From My Gas Station Attendant


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For the past year or so, I have been going to the same gas station while on my way to work.

It’s convenient, fast and the price is right, well if a low price is even possible in today’s economy. The usual interaction between the attendant and me goes like this:

Attendant: Walks up to the driver’s window but is never fully seen because he takes the “policeman’s stance” between the front and rear doors. No words are said.
Me: Having to reach towards the stance I say, “Good Morning, fill-it-up regular please”.
Attendant: Takes my credit card, no response again.
Me: Patiently waiting until gas tank is full.
Attendant: When tank is full, puts gas hose away, closes my gas cap and waits for the printed receipt. He then folds the receipt around my credit card and hands it to me from the “modified police-stance”, this time not so far behind me. “Thanks” is his response.
Me: “Thanks again, have a good day” I finish as I slip the receipt and card into my shirt pocket and drive away.

Well, not so much of a great customer service interaction, but should I expect much more from this? Maybe, maybe not. Well it was all about to change.

Yesterday morning around 7am I drove into the station as part of my usual routine and stopped at the first pump. The attendant comes over and plants himself directly in front of my open driver’s window and says “Good morning”.

I was shocked. “Good morning”, I answered back. “Please fill-it-up regular”, I continued. That was a good start. I NEVER got a good morning from the attendant. Today was to be special.

While I patiently waited I almost forgot where I was since I was running through my mind the upcoming busy day ahead. Just then, the attendant walks back up to my window with the receipt wrapped around my credit card and as he hands it to me says “Thank you very much, have a nice day”. Shocked, I answered back, “Thanks, same to you”.

As I put the car into drive and slowly rolled away from the gas pump there was one more foray from the attendant; as he stood there, shoulders square and facing me. “Thanks for coming, please come back again” he said as he politely waved his right hand while flashing a big smile.

I was so surprised that I had to stop the car to thank him and return the comments.

I stepped on the gas and as I pulled out of the station and into the street, I realized that I too had a big smile across my face, almost as big as the attendant. I’ve never gotten this kind of reception from the attendant. That was a great way to start my day and I really appreciated that small, but noticed, gesture.

You see, a pleasant greeting and smile goes a long way toward customer service. But common courtesy and decency toward your fellow man, well that’s the key.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. Today’s gas station attendant…well, he was someone new, first time I saw him. I guess its back to my stoic friend tomorrow!

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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