Not to pat myself on the back, but it always feels great when I actually succeed in putting these principles I talk about into practice. The other day I was dealing with this woman who, from the very get-go, was giving me serious attitude. She was immediately demanding and antagonistic - combative, like she was expecting to get screwed over, expecting to hate her meal, and generally getting ready for a fight. I noticed that I found myself with a slight attitude back to her; my responses were suddenly becoming more and more curt, with a slight harshness my voice doesn't usually have. It occurred to me that this woman probably doesn't realize that she's the one initiating all this negative energy out at people, an energy that creates an equally negative response in kind. So, in her world, everyone is negative towards her - she's the victim - so she gears up in anticipation of the conflict and immediately takes a combative stance from the very beginning, not realizing that it is this attitude that is creating all the hostility in the first place. It really is a vicious cycle, and on understanding it I suddenly had compassion for her, not anger. I saw the only way to break through would be to be as kind and gracious as I possibly could - to give her extra attention, to really make her feel like I cared about her and whether or not she enjoyed her meal. So that's exactly what I did, and by the end of the meal she was smiling and full of thank-you's. The checks for the table were separated, and out of all the other guests she left the best tip.