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“Too much checking has ruined many a good story.”

My WLS co-anchor Jim Johnson used to joke about what can happen when you track down the details on a juicy news story. Sadly, sometimes you have to ditch the whole thing. The facts turn out not to support the story you thought you had.

That happened to me when I set out to write a counterpoint to last week’s blog about Reopening and Rage.

I’d covered service suggestions for frontline workers to handle angry, impatient customers, or better yet, keep them from getting angry in the first place. I’d offered tips for the customers too—how to keep cool when transactions don’t go as planned.

Now, I thought, it’s time to write about all the people who are delighted with the service at their local restaurant. Grateful to the cashier at their grocery story. Thrilled to find what they need at their hardware store or garden center.

Too much checking ruined my intention to spend a little time on the sunny side of the coronacrisis street.

I went back to the social networking sites where I’d found anger and complaints and accusations. And I found (guess what?) more of the same.

I posted my quest for good news.

“Would you be willing to help me out with some good news about local businesses? Last week I wrote about customer service complaints — the piece included tips for training front line workers along with suggestions for those of us who are the customers.

I’m looking for the flip side for a follow-up article. Where has someone gone the extra mile for you? Who’s extended themselves to make sure you get what you need when you need it? How has a business made up for it when things went awry?”

And I got … crickets.

Eventually, there were a couple of comments on Nextdoor and Facebook.

  • Somebody got good service at a north shore coffee shop. “Friendly and helpful while maintaining social distancing safety standards.”
  • A personal trainer’s helping a physician friend get some much-needed exercise, setting up sessions on Zoom.
  • A Facebook friend complimented Costco.
  • Another one praised her postal carrier for going above and beyond.
  • There was personal attention from the company that makes those face masks with Chicago’s logo printed on them.

I wondered if my memory is faulty.

I’m sure I recall, back in late March, early April, posts all over the place praising police officers. The folks at the grocery stores. Health care workers, of course. Teachers switching over to help kids learn on-line. Bus drivers who were still getting passengers to their essential work. And delivery people of all sorts.

You remember too, don’t you?

Now it’s all …

I went to buy groceries and the people in produce weren’t wearing masks. I complained to the manager.”

“That worker at the big box store had on a mask … and it didn’t even cover his nose.”

“Those wimps waiting for their take-out dinner with masks on … must be libs.”

“I had to stand in line to get into the store and then they didn’t have any tissue/disinfectant wipes/ice cream … I’m never shopping there again.”

“Those health care people exaggerated the whole thing.”

“Our dinner delivery was late.” “Our mail was late.” “Instacart was late.”

And don’t even get me started on the demonstrations and defiance and threats of violence.


I get it. Here in the Chicago area, we’ve been grounded for a long time. We’re tired of being at home, we miss our friends, we need haircuts and manicures. We passed the point of cabin fever weeks ago.

Maybe we got tired of all the rah-rah “we’re in this together” talk. Could be, we’re more cynical now.

Plus, some people are deliberately stirring up dissension. Launching verbal grenades at those who approach it all differently. It suits them to keep us at odds with each other.

It’s not good for us, however, this constant grumbling and fault-finding and name-calling. And we should stop it. Now.

I’m issuing a challenge for all of us—including me.

Find something positive this week.

Maybe you’ll notice an example of great service at a store. You’ll see how hard your kid’s teacher is trying to make sure students learn what they need to, even though they’re not sitting in classrooms. You’ll catch a colleague going out of their way to help somebody. Your dentist or doctor or chiropractor will start seeing patients again, with pandemic protocols in place, and your visit will go well.

I’ll ask you to do two things. First – thank them! Acknowledge their effort and say “thank you.”

Then tell us about it. Click the link at the bottom of this article to post a comment on my blog. Or share your experience with me on LinkedIn or Facebook.

And one more thing. Do something positive yourself this week.

Thank freely. Tip generously. Spend the extra time to make a colleague or client or anyone else feel good. And tell us about that too.

None of us, including the pandemic pros and politicians, really know for sure what the next few months will bring. We can assume, though, that we’re not going to like all of it. The corona virus and the economic crunch it’s caused are difficult. For everybody.

We may see things differently when it comes to the politics. I’m asking us to stand together anyway. To communicate respectfully. Maybe even lovingly. To use this time laying the groundwork for less strife and better relationships.

What do you say? Are you in?

Post a comment below and please say yes.