Is Saying “Thank You” a Lost and Underappreciated Art?

by Chris Bjorklund

I’ve been saying “thank you” a lot lately and it feels good. After my last flight on Southwest Airlines, I stopped to tell the pilot and attendants how much I appreciated their attentiveness and on-time performance. I wrote a thank-you email to my Diamond Certified tree company in December because the crew did an excellent job pruning my large trees. When I had trouble resolving a problem with my health insurance company, a staff member kept communicating with me even though it took a few weeks to untangle. Afterward, I asked for her supervisor’s name so I could write a complimentary letter for her personnel file. The last time I was in the grocery store, I told the cashier and bagger how much I love shopping there because of their smiles, quality produce, and service.

My latest thank-you note was to my mom’s oral surgeon:

“Dear Dr. Sabol,
It was a pleasure meeting you on Monday when you treated my elderly mother at your office. I am writing to thank you for making her so happy. She had been suffering with a toothache for weeks, and I was hoping to help resolve the problem while visiting over New Year’s. When you said you could extract her two teeth the same day as the consultation, I thought she was going to jump out of her wheelchair! She was feeling 100 percent better by the next day. We appreciated your fine work. You and your team were kind and compassionate from start to finish.”

We can all play a part in creating a culture of gratitude, and it really isn’t that hard to do. When you do want to thank someone, it can be by phone, in-person or in writing. If possible, name the person and the actions you’re specifically complimenting. And why not set an example for your children by showing them all the different ways to sincerely express gratitude? They’re watching, after all!