I feel as we get older, have a little more life experience we can appreciate different things. You know when you receive a pleasant experience maybe at a business you have two type of reactions. Those that appreciate it, are thankful and acknowledge and the others that say, ‘they should act/do that, it’s their job’.
I really appreciate customer service however this write up isn’t about service, I suppose it’s more about being a human being. I don’t suppose I’ve had much room or appreciation for ‘authoritative figures’ in my life. Rarely got along with a ‘boss’, was never the coaches favourite and hardly had pleasant experiences with the ‘law’ helping out.
However, as I was saying, with life experience you tend to appreciate people and situations slightly differently, maybe see things from a different angle or through different lens.
Did you know there was 6000 police officers in time square on NYE, that’s right 6000! Every single street we walked by there wasn’t one or two officers but 8, 10 or 12. There was more people in that one area than I’ve ever seen in my life.
We walked through street after street to get to our ticket area (EVERYONE needs a ticket to get into time square on NYE, the rest stood outside the gates). We arrived hours early to avoid the rush, little did I know thousands other did the same.
As I walked through the streets at 8pm looking for our line to enter Time Square, I didn’t think about how I’d be walking by those same streets again at about 2am. At the time I didn’t realize that I’d be passing by those same officers on the way home.
It was literally chaos finding the street ‘you’re supposed’ to enter with your ticket, people were literally belly to belly at times. There was frustration, some were actually crying if they couldn’t get in. I even saw people yelling at officers. And you know what I didn’t see, not one officer ‘lost their cool’ (or even showed much emotion for that matter).
I suppose this stood out to me. The stories you hear of how mean New Yorkers are, how they have little patience and how the ‘cops don’t mess around’. Now I’m not saying any of this isn’t true but I am saying this wasn’t my experience.
As you may have guessed the streets clear out after the ball drops and the count down is over, some party in clubs and bars but many go home after the big event.
As we walked passed the same streets on our way home about 5 hours later , I slowly started to recognize the same police officers standing on the same corners (and intersections).
They were literally standing there, talking, joking and freezing. It didn’t really hit me until one younger officer said, ‘I’m cold, and I want to go home’ (and it was freezing at 2am in NYC in Jan).
I suppose that’s when it dawned on me, they were there of us, they were there in prevention and they were there if anything should happen, they were there to help (it’s worth noting that it was hard not to think about 9/11 wandering the streets of NYC during a large public event).
So I thought to myself, I wonder if one person thanked them and wished them a Happy New Year as they walked by. So I thought I’d try it, so as we walked by on the cold early morning, ‘authoritative figures’ were freezing just like us, they wanted to be home, just like us, and they actually stood out there for hours, maybe because it was their job but I choose to see it differently.
We thanked them as we passed them in the streets and were welcomed with friendly smiles and Happy New Year Greetings in return. I like to think at least one of them went home to their loved on and said, ‘do you know someone actually thanked us for being there tonight?’.