Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gratuity Journal

I was telling my good friend ML, who is French, about my gratuity journal the other day before she'd had a chance to read what I had posted. "What is a gratuity journal?" she asked. So I told her. And she said, "Oh, isn't that 'gratitude'? 'Gratuity' is like a tip".
Okay, grammar isn't my strongest attribute. I looked it up, just to be sure there wasn't an alternative definition, making my journal name appropriate at least in some language of origin. But 'gratuity' is French in origin, and it means, 'a favor or gift [usually money] given in return for service'.

So, I will officially change the name of my evening recordings to 'My Gratitude Journal'.
However, it opens a whole new place for me to log some bright and positive spots in my daily adventures, which I absolutely love: my gratuity journal.
In my gratuity journal, I will record the tips and favors and gifts I returned in appreciation for the service of others each day. It makes me feel good to give people things, to let them know I appreciated something they did for me, to have a reason to brighten their day, just as they made mine better in some way.

Here are some of my gratuity entries:
1. I sent a 'Thank You' e-card to a woman who helped me earn some new clients by featuring my picture and a paragraph about my business in her monthly newsletter. I hope the musical e-card made her smile, as well as let her know I really appreciated what she did.
2. I gave my husband a big kiss and a hug and let him know I really appreciated that he cooked dinner for us (and even cleaned up afterwards)!
3. I took a friend out to lunch for taking me horseback-riding:I haven't been for years and I really enjoyed it!
4. Whenever I go through a toll booth I give the attendant a fun-sized candy bar (you can't imagine how their faces light up!)

It is so pleasurable to be able to treat people to something to let them know how grateful you are for the help they extend you, or for the joy they bring you in a moment of your day, or to be acknowledged for the job they do every day.

Here is my favorite gratuity story:
One day I found a wad of money. It was a lot of money, and there was no place to turn it in, no way of identifying who dropped it. Sad for the person who lost it. We had just moved to town and were still living in a hotel until our house was ready. I was grateful it came my way, but I wanted to share it since it just fell into my possession and it didn't seem right to keep it. So my husband and I decided to 'pay it forward'. Starting that night at dinner, we were big tippers. We gave some really nice gratuities to the waitress at dinner, to the bartender in the hotel, to the bellhop who carried our bags.
It was so much fun to see them pick up the tip as we snuck around the corner to watch as they found what we left! And it taught us a lesson: It feels good to share the wealth, to give graciously, to help others out when they provide a service to us, to surprise them with a gratuity that says we noticed how they treated us and we liked it.
And so we keep doing that. Every time we are out to dinner or being served by someone who is doing a really great job with a really great attitude, we show it with gratuity: One so nice we know they will have to tell someone about it; we know they will go to bed that night with a smile on their face because they received something to let them know how much they were appreciated.

Please post your gratuity stories here!

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