Chaplain’s Corner: LVI

“The Power of Nice”

Rachel Pine was flying from Los Angeles to New York City.  She noticed that the flight
attendant crew looked unusually tired.  When the flight attendant came by to see if she had
fastened her seat belt, Rachel reached into her package of Fig Newtons.  Would you like
one?” she asked. The flight attendant gratefully received the snack.  Rachel recalls that she almost seemed on the verge of tears.

A few minutes later the attendant returned.  She said to Rachel, “You have no idea what our
last flight was like.  If one passenger had been like you, it would have been bearable.”
“And by the way,” she mentioned to Rachel, “there’s a seat in first class.  Would you like to
have it?”  Such is the power of one Fig Newton.  Actually, such is the power of kindness-of
choosing to be nice.

In their slim volume The Power of Nice, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval acknowledge
that “nice has an image problem.  Nice gets no respect.  To be labeled “nice” usually means
the other person has little else positive to say about you…Let us be clear: Nice is not
naïve…in fact, we would argue that nice is the toughest four letter word you’ll ever hear.”

Thaler and Koval cite statistics that nice people enjoy longer and stronger relationships.
Studies confirm that for every 2% positive uptick in a company’s service climate, there is a
1% increase in revenue.  Research demonstrates that nice people live longer (despite their
apparent fondness for Fig Newtons).

And author Malcom Gladwell cites a study that correlates the niceness of physicians with a
lowered likelihood of being sued.  Doctors who have never been sued turn out to be those
who spend an average of three minutes longer with each person compared to doctors who
have been sued twice or more.  People don’t want to drag into court people who have been
nice to them.

The apostle Paul writes:  “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”. (Colossians 4:6)

In other words, choose to be kind.  Choose to be gracious.

For goodness sake and God’s sake, be nice.


Ron Naylor, Chaplain