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Civility “In The Bag” – Kudos to Volvo

How sweet it is to be on the receiving end of a thoughtful act, regardless how big or small it may be.  I am thrilled to share two recent personal experiences that demonstrate this behavior.  Both events involve the company Volvo, maker of my personal car.  They reflect the practice of civility which is all about a consistent commitment to being considerate, kind, generous, humble, respectful and personally responsible.  This is part of the “Volvo Way” and embedded in their Code of Conduct Policy embraces the values of safety, human rights, environmental sensitivity and social justice.

The first event occurred in my driveway where, one rainy morning, I discovered my car with a flat tire.  The tow truck arrived within a few minutes after my call for help and the punctured tire was removed and placed in the trunk of the car.  When I approached the car to thank the tow truck driver and give him a tip, I noticed the punctured tire in a large, white plastic bag.  I asked the driver if he had brought the bag with him.  He told me that Volvo provided the bag with the spare tire to keep it from soiling the car (or anything else).  Genuinely surprised, I smiled and expressed my delight to the driver, thinking to myself “how thoughtful.”  I have driven several cars over the past twenty years but had never seen a spare tire with a protective bag.   Volvo’s decision to provide the protective plastic bag is a small thoughtful act.  It made a positive impression that will be remembered.  That’s civility. How sweet it is.

My second experience occurred at the Volvo dealership in Alexandria, Virginia.  What is normally a pleasant encounter became a memorable event because of a small, thoughtful act.  I arrived there on a Friday evening to return my complimentary “loaner car” and anxious to go home in my own vehicle.    Being careful not to leave anything behind, I picked up my pocket book, briefcase and a used toner cartridge (to be recycled). I waited in the service reception area for the cashier and the attendant to drive my car to the pickup area.  While waiting, (without thinking), I held the toner cartridge against my off-white linen jacket.   Before I got to the cashier, one of the service representatives came over to me and offered a white Volvo plastic bag to protect my jacket form a possible leak with the toner cartridge.  Completely surprised but thankful, I smiled warmly and graciously accepted the bag, feeling a bit silly about being so careless.  How thoughtful of this gentleman.  Kudos  for his grace and courage.  How sweet it was to be considered in that small but meaningful way.

The action of the service person demonstrates civility, but more specifically, the civil act of “paying attention” which is one of the twenty-five rules of considerate conduct discussed in Dr. P.M. Forni’s book, Choosing Civility (St. Martin’s Press, 2002).  The act of paying attention can create a human moment which elevates the experience for those involved.  In his book, Dr, Forni tells us that “without attention, no meaningful interaction is possible.” It means going beyond our typical robot-like actions and adding value to our engagement with others.   I wrote about this in a blog post entitled, Paying Attention Humanizes Your Personal Brand. It appears on my blog at ImageandBrandBuilder and received many positive comments.  What could have been an ordinary moment at the Volvo dealership, for me became a memorable one.

By consistently practicing simple, every day acts like saying good morning, please and thank you, smiling, making eye contact, holding a door or showing humility, everyone can embrace civility and add more happiness, harmony, ease and comfort to their lives and those of others.  Civility is not always easy.  It takes practice, courage and sometimes, hard work.  A small considerate act is a great place to start with bringing more civility to our workplace, home or community.  How sweet it will be for someone.

The action of the service person demonstrates civility, but more specifically, the civil act of “paying attention” which is one of the twenty-five rules of considerate conduct discussed in Dr. P.M. Forni’s book, Choosing Civility (St. Martin’s Press, 2002).  The act of paying attention can create a human moment which elevates the experience for those involved.  In his book, Dr, Forni tells us that “without attention, no meaningful interaction is possible.” It means going beyond our typical robot-like actions and adding value to our engagement with others.   I wrote about this in a blog post entitled, Paying Attention Humanizes Your Personal Brand. It appears on my blog at ImageandBrandBuilder and received many positive comments.  What could have been an ordinary moment at the Volvo dealership, for me became a memorable one.

By consistently practicing simple, every day acts like saying good morning, please and thank you, smiling, making eye contact, holding a door or showing humility, everyone can embrace civility and add more happiness, harmony, ease and comfort to their lives and those of others.  Civility is not always easy.  It takes practice, courage and sometimes, hard work.  A small considerate act is a great place to start with bringing more civility to our workplace, home or community.  How sweet it will be for someone.

The action of the service person demonstrates civility, but more specifically, the civil act of “paying attention” which is one of the twenty-five rules of considerate conduct discussed in Dr. P.M. Forni’s book, Choosing Civility (St. Martin’s Press, 2002).  The act of paying attention can create a human moment which elevates the experience for those involved.  In his book, Dr, Forni tells us that “without attention, no meaningful interaction is possible.” It means going beyond our typical robot-like actions and adding value to our engagement with others.   I wrote about this in a blog post entitled, Paying Attention Humanizes Your Personal Brand. It appears on my blog at ImageandBrandBuilder and received many positive comments.  What could have been an ordinary moment at the Volvo dealership, for me became a memorable one.

By consistently practicing simple, every day acts like saying good morning, please and thank you, smiling, making eye contact, holding a door or showing humility, everyone can embrace civility and add more happiness, harmony, ease and comfort to their lives and those of others.  Civility is not always easy.  It takes practice, courage and sometimes, hard work.  A small considerate act is a great place to start with bringing more civility to our workplace, home or community.  How sweet it will be for someone.

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