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Attitude of Gratitude

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For those who don't know, Caitlin is an ICU nurse. This means she gets the thrill of life-and-death situations, but also the struggles of everyday nursing. I never knew it before she started her job, but nursing is an often thankless task. It's mentally and physically and emotionally exhausting. For someone as small in stature as Caitlin, it absolutely beats her body up every week. 

And yet she loves it. Nurses seem to get a thrill from something people like me would probably faint at. She doesn't do it for the money or the recognition (neither are abundant) or because it's an easy or chill job (hah!) but because she genuinely wants to help people. Simple as that. She's a natural helper and nursing is exactly what she loves to do.

It's also a job that most, if not all, work in obscurity. People, like me before my firsthand experience with nursing, are generally like "Cool, nursing. Rad." And that's it. Most don't see the incredible sacrifices made by these nurses. The insane hours, the early mornings and late nights and 14 hour days with no time for lunch or phones or sitting down. The tears of exhaustion and sorrow when caring for a particularly tragic patient and the tears of happiness when someone miraculously pulls through against all odds. Nurses don't do it for recognition, because there rarely is any. They punch in, save lives, and go home.

Which makes things like the photo above so meaningful. A woman Caitlin cared for in the ICU came back and gave her the above card and an insanely generous gift card (to a spa, literally the EXACT thing she needs after 54 hours of work in 4.5 days). I am so happy and proud of Caitlin. I know she provides exceptional service every day, and things like this validate her and make her feel like people do care and appreciate her incredibly hard work. I am so happy when people do things like this for her, because I feel like "Yes! They noticed!"

Now, what does this have to do with Apericots? I've already blogged about stuff like this a lot, but I will again. I am a person who will complain at a restaurant if my food sucks, but I'm not strictly a complainer (anymore). I figure if I'm going to criticize when something goes wrong, I'd bloody well better show gratitude when something goes right. And this woman's amazingly generous gesture to Caitlin reminded me that I need to be better.

See, with Apericots we get a bunch of emails daily. It's crazy trying to get anything done with the constant barrage of emails. Most of them are regarding USPS and their inability to deliver things correctly but we certainly get complaints too. Some seem totally justified, some seem ridiculous, and some are just things we have to laugh at. But, as anyone knows who receives and responds to these kids of emails, it gets draining and discouraging at times.

Hence, gratitude. Just the other day we got a nice email out of nowhere (I posted it to our Instagram) with a nice woman just saying thanks for the shirt and she loves it. It truly made my day, because at this point I've trained myself (pessimist and cynic that I am) to dread that email sound. So opening it made my mood transform immediately and it was awesome.

And in thinking about this post, I knew I couldn't be a hypocrite, so I found one of the most helpful people to our business and dropped her an email. No requests, no favors, just saying thanks and wanting to send her something from our shop. I also got her bosses email and sent some nice feedback. It was not a big deal, it took me maybe 10 minutes tops, but it (hopefully) passed on the good vibes started by Caitlin's patient. And hopefully she realized that people do appreciate the things she does to make businesses like ours thrive.

So that's it. Say thanks. Complain a little less and compliment a little more. Thank someone who may be toiling in (what they feel to be) obscurity. It might not make a huge difference to them or you, but it might. Either way, you'll feel awesome.

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