"Treat every person as the most important person on earth.
To them, they are the most important person.
That’s the way we ought to treat each other."
A woman's character is profoundly revealed in the way she treats those of lower station in life than her own. Whatever a woman may have going for her, she is no lady if she looks down her nose at store clerks, waitstaff, or housekeeping personnel. A lady shows respect for the dignity of others regardless of their job or social standing. She neither ignores them, nor is demanding, but acknowledges through her words and demeanor that here is a human being of value with feelings and sensabilites like her own.
One of the most remarkably telling stories of a man's character is about President Ronald Reagan when, days after being shot and still weak from wounds, he spilled water from a sink. Entering the hospital room, aides saw the Commander in Chief on his hands and knees wiping water from the floor. Questioning him, they discovered he was concerned that his nurse might get into trouble if the mess were found. That is the heart of true gentility.
Likewise, noted designer Adele Williams remembered the kind of customer Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was, always "prefacing a purchase by asking in a very soft voice, 'Mrs. Williams, could I have that?' Not 'Send that to me,' but 'Could I?' "
How does a lady show respect to others of lower socio-economic standing?
- Recognize their personage by giving direct eye contact.
- Give a pleasant smile and greeting.
- Make requests quietly and kindly.
- Be considerate by not unnecessarily adding to their workload.
Certain tasks are part and parcel of service, and patrons need not apologize for them being done. For example: a store clerk bringing a different size in the dress you are trying on, a waitress bringing another fork after you dropped yours, a hotel housekeeper cleaning the lavatory. However, a lady is conscientious in not adding undue burdens to those who wait on her. After trying on garments in the dressing room, she hangs them back up as they were. Before leaving her hotel room, she puts her belongings in order so that they are not in the way of the housekeeper's cleaning -- toiletries will not be scattered across the bathroom counter, clothing will not be left on the bed, or trash on the bedside table. This thoughtful consideration of others who serve is a mark of a true lady.
Principle: A lady treats others kindly regardless of their station in life.