Generally, when it comes to long distance travel, air is preferred to ground because it gets a person there and back quicker and with less wasted time. However, since my travel took me to Malvern, Arkansas and Lancaster, Texas for two weeks of speaking, I decided to drive. It provided the familiarity of my own car rather than someone’s rental, and gave me the leisure time to enjoy the landscape and the roadside stops. It was a nice 1100 mile trip.

During the time away I had opportunity, thanks to many very thoughtful friends, to experience all types of eateries – fine dining, family dining, home cooking, fast food and mom-and-pop. Because I ate so much, Sherry thinks it was probably a ten-pound trip; and that I came home a much bigger speaker than when I left.

The most interesting mom-and-pop restaurant was in Malvern. I entered a fifty-year-old grocery, intent on buying a cheap camera. In the back was a small café. I couldn’t resist taking a seat, ordering a country breakfast and listening to small town conversation. It was vintage main street America.

Lancaster gets my vote, though, for the most amusing dining experience of the trip. I walked into a Whataburger, determined to get something light for lunch. I had been eating very heavy evening meals, and had another dinner engagement that evening. “I’ll have a Whataburger, Jr. Meal,” I told the young lady. I felt real good about the “Jr.” part. “Would you like to Whatasize that?” she asked. I couldn’t help it. I laughed out loud.

Earlier in the week something happened at the hotel that was similar to the Whataburger experience, but not nearly as funny. A boy about 10 years old was struggling with the door, as he was trying to enter with a clothes cart. I hurried over to hold the door. He never even said “thank you.” But, it gets worse. His dad stood nearby, looking very successful in his coat and tie. He never expressed appreciation either. What a sad example.

The incident is similar to the hamburger story in this: They’re both the result of a type of “thoughtlessness.” In the first case the young lady was just doing what she was trained to do. Go for the up sale. It never occurred to her that someone might order a small burger for a reason. No harm done. The second case was simply “thoughtless” ingratitude.

On the brighter side, later in the week, at an IHOP a half dozen teenage girls went through the door as I held it open. Every single one of them thanked me. Different upbringing – different thoughts.

In all of this, I can’t help being reminded that the Bible says Jesus healed ten lepers, and only one returned to thank him. We should not expect better. It’s a waste of time and energy that is better spent learning ways to show gratitude.

BARBER-OSOPHY: The genuinely successful are usually thoughtfully thankful.

Author's Bio: 

Terry L. Sumerlin, known as the Barber-osopher, is the author of "Barber-osophy," and is a columnist for the San Antonio Business Journal. He speaks nationally as a humorist/motivational speaker. Visit his website at