18 Apr 2017

Dedication on Nantucket

The author Regina Brett coined a phrase that the truly dedicated live by: “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.” It’s a simple rule, but some days it’s easier than others. I’m constantly impressed by the hundreds of people on Nantucket who quietly “dress up and show up” for their daily jobs when weather conditions aren’t favorable and the task is seemingly mundane. It’s more noteworthy and impressive when they spread a little sunshine along the way.
The dedicated officer in the photo had the unenviable task of standing watch and directing traffic on Prospect Street last week. Wind driven rain was not reason enough to call it a day, so he was forced to button up his shiny hood and keep us all moving along. I passed him at 9:00 a.m. and again in the afternoon and he was sporting a smile both times. Dedication – and a smile – now that is a sure formula for success.
There are countless others who have this dedication thing figured out. The crossing guard at the public school who also braves the elements daily to ensure the kids are not in harms way – and offers a big smile and a few hugs as they cross. The friendly DPW guys tasked with jack hammering streets and repairing broken sewer lines are always ready with a wave and a jovial hello for passersby. The young man at the Stop and Shop who takes his job collecting carts from the parking lot very seriously, but never misses an opportunity to offer a cheerful greeting to shoppers.
It’s easy to take tasks – and people – for granted, especially on an island where our very livelihood depends on others “showing up” for work. We expect that our roads will be maintained, our sewer system will be operational and our children will arrive safely at school. We also assume that if our house is on fire or in danger that the 911 call will be responded to promptly by our hardworking neighbors in uniform. What’s not easy to remember, is that these dedicated folks have lives too…families, health issues, bills to pay. And let’s face it, standing outside in the pouring rain all day directing traffic, repairing a sewer line or suspended from a utility pole might not be fun.
The next time you spot one of these dedicated souls on Nantucket, why not let them know they’re appreciated? Deliver a tray of hot coffee from Handlebar Café or The Bean to their worksite. Surprise their entire staff with a box of muffins from Surfside Bakery or lunch wraps from The Green. Or keep it simple and roll the window down as you pass by and shout out a grateful greeting, give a thumbs up or offer a cheerful wave…and do it all with a smile.
Show up!
Shellie Dunlap  
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