Yesterday, I bought the new Gaither Vocal Band hymns CD at Wal-Mart. As I was checking out, the cashier, to my surprise, commented that she remembered when Larnelle Harris was with the group, and particularly enjoyed that lineup.
Then she told a story. Back in the mid-’90s, she was a security guard at a local mall. The mall didn’t like trucks parking in its lots overnight. So when she saw one, she was supposed to ask them to park somewhere else.
One night, she looked out into the parking lot and saw a bus. She went out to see it and saw a little sticker that said that the bus belonged to the Cathedral Quartet. She knocked on the door anyhow, and asked the bus driver if he could go to a nearby hotel instead. He said that he had already been there, and they didn’t have any vacancies.
The cashier told me, “I thought God would be mad with me if I didn’t let The Cathedrals get a good night’s sleep.” So she told the bus driver that she wouldn’t turn them in.
The point of this story isn’t whether or not the security guard made the right decision, and the point isn’t whether or not God would have been upset with a guard who asked them to park the bus somewhere else. The point is in what happened the next morning: The Cathedrals tracked down the security guard, thanked her for letting them get a good night’s sleep, and gave her complimentary tickets to their concert that night.
Thanks to that little gesture, twenty years later, she is still telling people—even strangers—how gracious the Cathedrals were.
Why do the little things? Why go out of your way to be gracious to people who probably won’t do anything to advance your career? And why does it matter what a cashier at Wal-Mart thinks of you, fifteen years after your retirement?
That’s your legacy.