When you travel to a new country, you invariably get to know a lot about it if you go behind the attitude of the people in its service industry. In his recent trip to Russia, his belief got reinforced.
On his first day, he was at the Moscow train station, waiting for his train to St. Petersburg. He was coming straight from the airport and had reached two hours early, and was standing at a small food parlor at the station. Language-barrier in ordering food. He enjoyed such struggles though. It made him connect with people at a more human level. Like toddlers connect with grown-ups. The middle-aged lady behind the counter showered immense kindness. The food parlor wasn’t really a sitting place, but she gave him her stool to sit on, near a charging point to charge his phone. He was delighted. This is a very helpful culture, he thought.
During the middle of his trip, he was coming back to Moscow from St. Petersburg. He managed to reach the train station just-in-time, but was struggling to find the the right platform despite having his local friend along. They asked a lady in-charge of seat allocation, but she was ‘very direct,’ unlike a few others he’d met who were always ready to go out of their way to help and advice. May be she was stressed.
Later, through his MOOC course about Understanding Russians, he’d realize that for more than a century, German culture had a strong influence on certain regions of Russia. That could probably explain an apparent dichotomy of attitude of people in the service industry.