Ever since I re-emerged into the world as a vaccinated person, I have made it a point to always compliment workers who are doing a good job. In a restaurant or a retail outlet, if I can identify the manager, I’ll even go over and tell them that the person who served me had been a pleasure to work with.

I’m not just talking about those who go above and beyond, like the Southwest customer service agent who helped me re-book a trip after the airline sent an email reporting it had cancelled the original flight my wife and I were supposed to be on. Southwest’s algorithm had stuck us on a non-nonstop itinerary that would have lengthened our travel from two-and-a-half hours to more than six. The agent patiently worked on the problem until she had moved us onto a nonstop flight the same day, albeit a few hours later.

She certainly deserved my thanks and kudos, but I try to do the same with anyone in a consumer-facing capacity who shows competence in their work. It’s the simple sort of thing that we tend to take for granted, but it has engendered some surprised, nice responses from those I’ve offered it to.

The latest example occurred when I had to go to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed. The woman behind the desk, who I’m sure has to repeat the same information and questions hundreds of times per week, nonetheless did so with a smile on her face, processing my paperwork in such an efficient manner I got out of there 10 minutes after I sat down.

I know from my daughter’s experience as a customer service rep that, even when they don’t say anything in return, the kind words are appreciated. So, if it makes some small part of their day better to hear, “You’re good at your job” — particularly after the tough year-and-a-half we’ve all had — I’m happy to do it.