Motivating people to practice intentional acts of kindness

Uniformly and Consistently Friendly, Warm and Personable

The most outstanding phenomenon I took home from our first vacation cruise was about people. It was not the Alaskans, nor the Tlingit Indians; it was not our family, nor our fellow travelers. It was the paid help on the "Radiance of the Sea" cruise ship! This included waiters, room service folks, janitorial staff, greeters, clerks — everybody. There were no exceptions.

They were uniformly and consistently friendly, warm, and personable. If you passed any of them under any circumstance, you received eye contact, a smile, and kind words. Such greetings were never offered mechanically, nor without apparent genuineness. It was amazing! It was wonderful!
The automatic, cynical explanation for all this pleasant behavior is, of course, that it was about gratuities. However, most who dispensed these delightful blessings were not in a position to receive anything from those they expressed warmth toward. The ship handled tips in a formal way—as an addition to the bill of the patrons. Therefore, the tips were virtually anonymous.

So there was no obvious way to ascribe the exceptional behavior as being generated by an expectation of a direct tangible payoff. Therefore, it had to be prescribed conduct, directed by management. It had to be mandatory, high priority, prescribed behavior, because it was always there and it was seldom half-hearted.

This loving-kindness was planned thoughtfully. Nevertheless—even though the friendliness was required—it still felt wonderful.

The head, not the heart, generates these warm connections, but the effect is the same. Spirits are lifted, discouragement healed, sick-hearts feel cheered. The recipients are left feeling positive about their entire experience, in no small part because of the warmth and friendliness of the paid staff.

The Royal Caribbean Corporation knows their strategy is good for business. The owners and managers of the cruise line have drawn this conclusion. They have incorporated warmth and friendliness into the product line and the business plan because they know care and kindness pays off.

So what is my point? Warmth and friendliness make people feel good. Cheerfulness and kind words are a blessing to people. My point is that we don’t have to be ‘directed’ to behave this way by our boss; we don’t have to behave this way because it is ‘expected’ of us — we can do it of our own volition, in gratitude for the loving kindness given to us by Christ! We can bless the people we meet, the people we work with, the people we are with socially by being kind to them in these ways.

My point is that kindness is not kid stuff! Don’t discount it. It works for a big corporation like Royal Caribbean, so it is very much for adults. As Christians, it is very much for us. Let’s do it more !!


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      Silly Thoughts

At my age ’Getting lucky’ means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.

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Dr. James Kok

Dr. James Kok is the founder of the Care and Kindness Campaign