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Kindness counteracts bad behavior

An extra tip and encouraging note might help a server feel appreciated after bad treatment from a customer. Special to The Forum

I think we’ve all witnessed people with bad behavior. I’m not talking about personal choices, I’m talking about treating someone poorly.

It turns my stomach to see someone hurting someone else with their words or actions. Many times, there is nothing we can do in the midst of the situation, but as this woman from central Wisconsin demonstrates, there is plenty we can do after.

“We love eating pizza. So much so that on Monday nights, after gymnastics, we head over to the local Pizza Hut.

"There is a wonderful waitress named Shauna who is usually working there and smiling to greet us. Shauna has a special place in my heart. It isn’t just because she is a familiar face or gives us a box for leftovers (usually this is a no-no for buffets!). She works hard and is always moving fast to take orders at the table or over the phone, carrying the drink tray and even bussing tables after families and large groups leave.

"It seems that they are often short-staffed at this Pizza Hut and Shauna is filling in for others that call in sick to work. When we were there last Monday, Shauna was working a double shift and had been there since 9 a.m. to prep the salad bar.

"Shauna has a super kind heart. Once, she told me she really liked my new shirt. Another time, she asked the girls how gymnastics was. She is always engaging in conversations with her servant heart and big smile.

ARCHIVE: Read more of Nicole J. Phillips' Kindness is Contagious columns

"Before we knew Shauna well, there was a time that was different. We were eating at our table and overheard a guy yelling. He was frustrated and was taking it out on Shauna. Staff was short that day and he was getting impatient. I’m not sure if they were short in the kitchen or on the restaurant floor, but he was blaming Shauna for everything. He didn’t care who heard him or that he was making a scene.

"We heard him say things to her that he had no right to say. Shauna came over to our table next to ask us if we needed anything else. She had tears in her eyes. It was a horrible feeling to have just witnessed this. It was pretty much the exact opposite of the kindness you write about.

"My husband and I both told her she was doing a good job and to not let him take out his issues on her. We left her an extra tip and talked to our girls on the way home about the importance of how we treat one another and our words. Since that time, we pay extra special attention to Shauna. It’s almost like we are trying to undo the hurtful words that were said to her months ago.

"Shauna is brave and kind. She is like a happy busy bee in Pizza Hut. We are thankful to know her and be a witness to the kindness she spreads.”

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.

Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.