I recently took an Uber to a meeting and the driver said something that really struck me.

He told me how he’d just finished vacuuming the car out right before picking me up. A recent customer had clipped her fingernails during her ride and left nail remnants all over the back seat and floor. This fellow made a profound statement to me: “People need to show more respect to each other. This is not my car, this vehicle belongs to my customers. I know the next customer will not appreciate sitting amongst this woman’s fingernails!” Mind you, this gentleman was from a very different culture and background – certainly not a place where there are Ubers and readily accessible private transportation of the quality we see in America’s cities and towns- and yet to him it seemed obvious that, regardless of our background or culture, we should be treating each other with respect in all aspects of life.

He went on to relay that while we should respect the cultural norms of respect in whatever society or region we find ourselves, certain behaviors are just universally respectful or disrespectful: our language and tone, respecting items that do not belong to us, being considerate of another’s time. It really is the small, easy gestures that demonstrate respect in all facets of society.

Even in cases of separation or divorce, kindness of tone – even if neutral – can show that there is still an appreciation for the other party as deserving of respect and someone valued as a human being. Intentional infliction of pain or trying to make things more difficult just for the sake of doing so does not honor the past moments shared and the person you felt deeply for once.

This attention to other people and our behavior’s impact on them affects our personal and professional relationships.

It also affects how we are viewed by others who may not know us but who come in contact with us as we go about our lives – like the Uber driver or the cashier at the grocery store. Every interaction becomes a piece of our legacy and tells the story of who we are. Together, these individual legacies make up the fabric of our society. Our society then relates to other societies who’s fabric is comprised of the totality of their individual legacies. When you stop and think about it, the essence of our entire civilization can be impacted by how you or I treat our Uber driver or grocery store clerk today. We all have the power to change global dynamics – one interaction at a time.