How to Be a Fred in Real Life

This spring I had the opportunity to read a book called The Fred Factor. It was a short, easy read that showed how a mail carrier named Fred with a very ordinary job, was able to transform the world of the people around him. He took the time to do his job over and above every expectation. The book challenges each of us to notice and become a “Fred”. Because of that book, my daughter and I have been noticing the “Freds” in our world around us.

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How to be a “Fred” in real life

It doesn’t take a lot to start noticing “Freds” when you know what to look for. So what are the characteristics of a “Fred”? A “Fred” always finds a way to make you feel special. They take their ordinary job and make the experience memorable.

Many people work in jobs that are considered ordinary. These are the jobs that some people would overlook. On the surface, these jobs don’t look like they’re going to change the world. But because the people who work these jobs value people, they are turning ordinary jobs into extraordinary opportunities to build relationships and impact the world around them.

A “Fred” values people and relationships more than the mundane tasks of their day. When you see a “Fred” in real life, you walk away just feeling better. An interaction with a “Fred” will change your day from blah to brilliant.

What does “Fred” look like in real life?

Since reading the book, we’ve been on the lookout for “Fred”.

Last weekend, our family attended a conference in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center. The staff at the convention center had what could be considered a boring job. Their job was to stand at the top of the escalator, at the door to the convention center, or to restock the supplies in the bathrooms. These jobs are not very exciting. But these staff members did something amazing. They greeted everyone that they met going down the escalators with a smile and a cheery good morning. They asked questions as we were walking past. “Are you ready for a great day?” or simple statements “Smile, you’re going to have a great time!” one of them said.

I even saw one conference attendee go over and take a selfie with one of the staff members. I overheard her say “You are the best part of my day so far and I think we need to get a picture together.”

The staff members took their job seriously and made sure we felt welcomed.

In the restaurant:My daughter and I went into Zaxbys in Somerset. Working behind the counter at a fast food restaurant is not necessarily the most exciting job. However, the lady behind the counter took her job very seriously and went above and beyond to make sure we got our order. She checked for ways to make our order better, and made sure we had plenty of sauces, plates, napkins and everything else we could need. She had a smile on her face and an attitude that made our experience exceptional.

At the Airport: Another time we were walking through the airport at Newark New Jersey. We were struggling to find out which bus we need to take to get into New York City, so we decided to ask one of the workers standing beside the train. We discovered that this gentleman was a “Fred”. He didn’t just answer our questions partly, instead, he took the time to smile and welcome us to his city. He made sure we knew how to get where we were going and felt comfortable getting on the next bus.

At the Grocery: We’ve met “Fred’s” in the grocery store when we were looking for a product on the shelf and the worker took the time to personally walk us over to the aisle instead of just point vaguely and tell us the general direction.

On Vacation: When we were in Washington DC recently, we saw 2 local city policeman helping a stranded motorist. So, my husband and son immediately ran over to help. In that instance, they became a “Fred”!

Once you start looking for that Fred Factor, something amazing happens. You notice other “Freds” around you, but you also start acting like “Fred”.

Be a FRED today! Change something ordinary into something amazing by the way you treat the ones around you!

Have you ever noticed a “Fred” in your daily life? Let’s take a minute to recognize these people doing an amazing job in their everyday lives. And of course, let’s put those characteristics in our own lives as we interact with the people around us.

Order The Fred Factor on or request it at your library.

Excerpts of this article first appeared in the Advocate Messenger.

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  1. This is a special column, Sharon! You have reminded us all of the kindness we should always be showing towards all those we meet as we go through our days. Thank you from our hearts.

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