How to Brighten Any Day

I’ve learned a lot from working at McDonald’s. How to take orders while making a caramel frappe with no whipped cream. How to customize an order or make it a combo. How to memorize orders as you serve them. But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is how to make every day brighter.


My first few days weren’t bad, but they were long, my feet would ache, and people would stress me out. I’d mess up someone’s order, give someone the wrong order, or I wouldn’t put their coffee lid on firmly, and they’d spill it on themselves. So I developed a small practice, and ever since people have been friendlier, my job more fun and less stressful, and my day brighter.


It’s quite simple. After each day of working, I make a short list of positive things that happened that day. I usually record compliments. Here are some of my favorites:


“I hope you didn’t put your finger in my coffee, because I don’t want it that sweet.”


(I actually got the ones below today, a few hours before writing this post.)


“You just have the most beautiful smile.”


“You’re a bright spot in my day.”


“You just put me in a good mood.”


“You’re a breath of fresh air, young lady.”


“It’s always so pleasant to see you when you’re in the drive thru.”


Or I just record good things that happen:


Someone paid for someone else’s meal.

The machine rejected a guy’s credit card, so another guy paid for his meal.

I spilled a woman’s drink, and she laughed it off.

Saw a cute little girl with bangs.


And it isn’t the list that makes an ordinary workday different. It’s my attitude. This list has encouraged me to seek out light and joy where I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m not sure if just having an awareness of good things makes my day better or if people react better to my extremely positive attitude, but either way, my attitude is what’s causing the change.


Some people excuse their mood or attitude by saying that’s just the way they are, but it’s not true. An attitude is something you decide each day. Just as you chose to wear the clothes you’re wearing as you read this, you’re choosing to wear the attitude you have.


Something else I’ve learned from interacting with so many people in one day is that the world is a reflection of your attitude—albeit a distorted one. The general population will treat you a level below you treat them. If you’re indifferent or treat them like an average person would, you’ll get some indifference and some bad attitudes. If everyone behaves a bit more poorly than you do, this means your attitude has to be several notches above average if you want to receive kind treatment in turn.


And one last tip. Something I pray before I go to work is: “Thank you, God, for all the wonderful blessings I’m going to receive today and help me to pass it on to others.”

My customers are my favorite part of the job. Their kind words, bright smiles, small talk, and teases make my day brighter, and the least I can do is return the favor.

So finally, the best way to brighten your day is to brighten someone else’s.

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