Lessons Learned…Continued by Lois Hewitt 


The journey that I am on is one of continual lessons to be learned. My time on the train is finished and as I close this chapter of my life, I thought I should reflect on the newest lessons learned.

People are sometimes mean and cruel.  I have strived to treat others as I expect to be treated but not everyone shares that desire. Between my short-lived career at the casino and my time on the train, I have met a lot of unhappy people. The kind of people that no matter what you do, they will never be pleased. I used to take all that negative energy personally. You cannot do that.  Those people are unhappy period. They were unhappy before they crossed my path and will be unhappy long after our time together. I have learned that when they lash out at you, most times it is not personal.  It feels as if it is but something else, something deeper is the root problem. The same is true with me I have learned.  When I’m mad it is usually something much deeper than the situation I am in. So don’t take the lashings personal.  

Get used to entitlement attitudes. The difference between last year and this year on the train is like night and day.  More and more people act entitled.  I have found that a few people will run you ragged at the expense of everyone else and not even be satisfied with it.  In my job on the train, I would be the server for up to 44 people.  Some would never utter a peep, while others demanded more every time I walked past. I would be required to refill drinks that had one sip gone.  Or get extra salad dressings that never got used.  I am guessing there are a group of people who think they somehow have to get everything they can out of the experience even if it means less time with other customers. I have a problem with the entitlement mentality, I just haven’t found a way to conquer it.  It is becoming very prevalent in this country and it is beyond sad.

You cannot live on cafe hot dogs everyday.  Enough said.

Don’t expect outer gratification.  Servers live off tips and there was a time when you could depend on those. Don’t depend on them anymore. More and more people tip badly or not at all. Yesterday I served a family of ten for 4 1/2 hours only to  have them slip me a dollar and expect my undying gratitude. If you cannot live on the hourly rate alone, maybe it’s time for a new career.  It’s very difficult to make a livable wage from the generous few.  That’s where I am at, looking for a new career path. 

Babies don’t seem to like 4 1/2 hour train rides, nor do toddlers. Who knew?

Your coworkers have to have your back and visa versa.  The more demanding the job, the more you need the support of your coworkers.  If you cannot get along with them, it’s going to make it extremely difficult to get along with strangers/customers. 

Celebrate EVERY victory. Some days everything is in perfect alignment and the day goes off without a hitch. Celebrate it somehow. Those days are few and far between so enjoy them.  Some days start incredibly bad but end up great, celebrate!  I have learned to not expect the win, but when it happens I celebrate with an ice cold beer, a delicious dessert or a long nap. Whatever it takes.  Each victory is precious!

You have to take care of yourself. If you don’t, things usually end up being worse.  Take your vitamins, eat right, get enough sleep and don’t work so much that you forget what you love to do.  I have had such busy times in my life that I actually forgot what things I used to love to do.  Your soul needs nourishment as much as your body does. Nourish your inner self. It helps keep you sane during the chaos.

There are a lot more lessons, but this one is my most important one.  Always act in love even to the entitled, bitter people.  My very wise cousin told me, you never know whose life you can change with a kind word or a good deed.  Random acts of kindness and paying it forward are both real things. They can change the world for the better…one act at a time.

It’s been an amazing adventure.  I am grateful for the good as well as the bad. I learned from both.  

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