The Service Attitude
The middle-aged good-looking man in front of us turned around and asked about our yoga clothes. Dhruva, my monk assistant, and I were standing in line at the Buenos Aires Airport when this Antarctica tourist from Philadelphia struck the curious question. When we told him of our Krishna Consciousness he identified himself as a former follower of Yoga Amrta Desai.
"Oh, yes," I said, "Our guru, Srila Prabhupada, had a gracious meeting with him in the 70's." I remarked to Dhruva how this yogi truly appreciated Prabhupada's bringing bhakti (devotional service) to the west.
We ran into our new friend again at the Atlanta airport only to share space in another line-up. Here it was a curse. Although boasting to have a huge facility the service was weak. The line-ups were long and slow and our boarding time for Canada was fast approaching and very little effort was made to help us despite appeals to the service people. I bless those people though, for their tardiness. I learned from them what not to do when dealing with the public. Since I'm a member of an organization I serve the public and sometimes become embarrassed with the lack of quality in service. Service is the thing, so we are taught by our guru.
By evening time after settling down back home, I decided for a much needed walk. Leaving Roxborough St. to cross Yonge St. a woman with three children approached me.
"I used to see you guys in Vancouver. Do you need something? Donations? Is the church looking after you?" I answered her questions letting her know I'm fine and gave her an invite to our Sunday Open House. I was touched by her warmth. Speaking of warm versus cold, another woman walking her dog told me not to mind him as he came for a sniff.
"Oh, don't mind him! Are you warm enough?" as she saw my attire. Perhaps I gave the "poor monk" impression, although the late November weather didn't feel to be its usual knippy self.
Not but five minutes later a van with two adult women (again) demonstrated kindness. "Can we give you a ride somewhere?" was their question. I admit I was floored by the hospitality and this was in a rather snobby neighbourhood.
"No thank you. I'm a monk and I walk every day. You are very kind." They left in smiles.
I learned from this batch of people how to express the service attitude. Now Michael Moore might say that there's a difference between the U.S. and Canada. But I don't necessarily agree. Everyone is good-hearted. Grumpiness sometimes stands in the way.