Consideration and courtesy never go out of style. We can’t underestimate the power behind a simple act of thoughtfulness.

The other day, my wife and I went out for lunch with a young man who was visiting Chile. As we situated ourselves at our table, we could feel the uncomfortable “vibes” of our waiter—cold, grumpy, and rather curt. Perhaps he was already suspecting that we would be the type of customers that turn a waiter’s job into a headache.

I decided to try a tactic that seldom fails—to treat him with respect and shower him with friendly gestures—some good-natured joking, positive comments, smiles, and sincere appreciation for his service. The change was immediate, as his countenance brightened and he attended our table with courtesy and professionalism for the rest of the meal.

The other day, I was in the public restroom at the mall. Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, I always carry hand sanitiser with me, in case the bathroom has run out. And sure enough, the dispenser was empty. As I was taking out my sanitizer bottle, I saw a teenager visibly disappointed as he tried to get the last drop of soap from the dispenser. So I offered him a squirt from my little bottle. He was surprised and grateful. I don’t know what was going on in his life or day, but it seemed like this small act of consideration had somehow given him a spark of hope.

I’ve also been on the receiving end of acts of kindness.

In the afternoons, I usually ride my bike through the park and stop to use the outdoor exercise equipment. One particular machine is for strengthening the abdomen without putting pressure on your back. I’d been using it for a while but had no idea that I wasn’t positioning myself correctly. A friendly stranger happened by and took the time to show me how to use the machine to get the best advantage of the exercise without harming myself. I offered my heartfelt thanks, as he was the first person to take the time to point out my wrong position.

It’s not hard to spread a bit of thoughtfulness and consideration as we go through our day. It’s usually just a matter of seeing a need and responding. We can start by greeting those we pass instead of walking by indifferently. A smile and some friendly words give reassurance that life is good. Let’s try to go a bit out of our way to be kind and make our part of the world a little brighter.