I was in an Arby’s restaurant today and while I waited for my meal, I witnessed an interesting scene.

An elderly gentleman had placed his order and asked for a glass of water. He took the cup from the cashier and headed over to the soda dispenser. Unfortunately, he poured himself lemonade instead of water. (An easy enough mistake, considering they share the same tap on the machine.) The man told the cashier what he’d done and asked how much he owed her.

She replied, “Don’t worry about it. It was an accident. Enjoy.” His face lit up with shock and joy as if she had just handed him a hundred-dollar bill.

The cashier could have easily charged the man for the beverage and he would have dutifully paid it. But with this small act of service, she transformed an ordinary transaction into a memorable experience for him. One you can bet he will share with all his friends and cause him to return sooner than he otherwise might.

Isn’t that kind of publicity and loyalty worth the price of a small soda? (BTW, if you’re thinking “no,” you shouldn’t be in business. Go be a mercenary or something.)

It’s one of my mantras: Service is sales and sales is service. And small acts of service like this one can provide you with significant boosts to your sales.