On a recent road trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to visit my mom for her birthday, we spent some time in downtown Kalamazoo. It was a Saturday afternoon and it was busy. People filled the sidewalks on a day when nothing special was happening; it was just a regular day. Numerous retail shops, restaurants,
hotels and a pedestrian mall made the experience memorable.
However, the most notable part of it was the friendly nature of the people we encountered. Individuals on the street, shop employees and owners seemed happy and were obviously
enjoying their time downtown Kalamazoo.
Multiple passersby smiled and said hello. Many simply smiled as they walked by. Shop keepers and employees were more than happy to help us with our needs. One store owner left her shop – unattended – and led us to the store next door to help us find just the right Michigan themed gift for a friend. Drivers were courteous as well and stopped to allow us to cross the streets.
Off to the suburbs we went. There we found more of the same. A young lady, a high school senior and clerk in a grocery store, couldn’t ask enough questions. Some people may not like being quizzed, but I thought it was awesome that she showed interest in someone she would most likely never see again – a skill lots of adults have yet to learn. Stopping into a local sporting goods
store, we were greeted by two young guys who were not only helpful, they were friendly to just the right degree.
My takeaway: as we grow Fort Wayne let’s remember to make our city a friendly place for visitors. Hell, let’s make it a friendly place for us locals as well. Just talk to someone who has moved here recently from almost any other city and you will hear some not-so-favorable stories about the unfriendliness of the people in their last city.
We’re doing pretty well in this area, but we can always be better.