I have since become a convert to greeting store clerks, cashiers and doormen. Sometimes I even make it a game to see how quickly and subtly I can read their name tag and then greet them by their first name, inevitably catching them off guard. If they are much older I will tack on a Miz or a Mister before their name because I think it sounds more respectful. I can't tell you how many times a stony cashier's face has softened and warmed to this brief, personal acknowledgement. All it takes is a "Hi Debbie" when you step up to the register, or a "Thank you Mister Chuck" as you take your groceries and leave. You might argue that these people are paid employees minding their business and trying to get their job done...which is exactly what I ought to do too. But I think acknowledging another person and the service they provide, paid or not, helps us reconnect with our humanity. We live in an increasingly impersonal world, and I stubbornly believe that by talking to each other, thanking each other, and smiling once in a while we are somehow improving it. Most of what we contribute in our lifetime will be small, seemingly insignificant. But sometimes it isn't.