I don’t know about you, but nothing inspires me like seeing someone who really loves what they do, who goes above and beyond the call of duty to give positively outrageous service and demonstrates an enthusiasm, a passion for their work, regardless of title or position. Of course it’s the nature of my career work, so I tend to be especially observant when we are out, or in social or business settings.

I’m quick to recognize truly exceptional service: went to the Chili’s corporate website after dinner to write up a blurb recognizing Nicole in Phoenix for her always outstanding service after I pulled her manager aside that evening to let him know how much we appreciated her exceptionally positive, always-smiling customer service (she got some big bonus points the next days for that recognition). I really appreciated Dylan from Enterprise Rental Car for treating my brother-in-law, Tom, and me like we were the only customers in a jam-packed store, and then giving Tom the maximum amount on a discount coupon, and an upgrade. Tom Tobin, the VP heard about our experience with Dylan. So did Yvette, the FedEx Kinko’s Manager for JD’s efforts two weeks ago. He’s been right on top of my new business card order, calling me regularly with updates as if I was his only customer, making sure that he met my deadline. Don’t let this guy go, Yvette! Then there is Lisa at Staples who gives truly exceptional service and is a guru in their repro services. She jumped through hoops to make sure our printing projects were done with literally no lead time, and treats us as if we are her VIP special customers.

This brings me to our friend Darlene, who serves my wife and I regularly at the Village Inn that we frequent in Phoenix. Last week after she had already clocked out and was wrapping up to leave that afternoon, she noticed us at our table, immediately came over to greet us, confirmed our usual Cobb Salad, then submitted the order for her co-worker who was serving our table. Within a minute or two, our order was in, we had a pitcher of ice tea, a small cup filled with our favorite sesame crackers, and our two to-go cups at our side. All of this was done off the clock, and as she told us that day, “Well, I really enjoy waiting on you.” Darlene, we are fortunate to benefit from such caring and extraordinary service.

That same morning that we were at the Village Inn, Darlene had reported in at 5:30 am or so, and after seeing her partner Diane who was the only waitress opening early that morning flooded with customers, again going above and beyond, helped serve and bus tables, before she clocked in. That morning the two of them together waited on some 57customers.

Believe me, I’ve missed opportunities to recognize family, staff, peers, leaders, customers and service providers, but what I’m trying to say is that when you get down to the basics, our careers and work success are directly related to the social capital and relationships we build through our recognition and support of other’s efforts. Secondly, attitude is everything; which is what makes Nicole, Dylan, JD, Lisa and Darlene rise above the rest.

How often do you witness their kind of attitude and enthusiasm; in your office, any business office, store or restaurant? Let’s all recognize and encourage that same positively outrageous service and Passionate Work in ourselves and others.

I’m sure that you have some stories, let me know…

Gary