The Help Knows

A friend of mine who lives in Los Angeles is a chef. Some of her clients are very successful in the entertainment industry, and a few are celebrities.

In order to retain these well-known clients, she must respect their privacy: dishing the dirt on a client after dishing the filet of sole in their kitchen is out of the question, as many of the clients almost consider her a member of the family.

Nevertheless, my friend the chef often knows before she ever meets with a potential client whether or not they’re nice, whether or not their cheap, how they treat their staff, and what kind of friends they have.

She knows this because people talk.  All the confidentiality agreements in the world can’t stop someone from rolling their eyes when you’re name is mentioned if you’re real piece of work. It’s equally difficult to keep someone from singing your praises if you’d paid them a reasonable rate and treated them with respect.

And believe me, the help knows.

There are numerous philosophical reasons to be nice. A very primitive and selfish one is to know that “the worm turns”; that is to say that your elevated or modest circumstances today may be quickly and drastically reversed in the near future. So be nice to everybody. (A rule my friend the chef has repeated constantly to her staff over the years, some of whom are now working and well-known actors.)

Another simple reason is that you want to imitate your betters: the richest and most famous among the rich and famous treat those who can do nothing for them and nothing to them with respect, generosity, and consideration whenever possible. Not because they must, but because it’s the true measure of one’s stature.


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