Most of us have a few distinct memories of people who have touched our lives - whether in obviously big moments, or small passing expressions of kindness that stuck with us.
Conversely, most of us have no idea if or when we've left a positive impact on someone unless they directly tell us, and that in itself is a rare and prized occasion.
1. From OP:
A former co-worker of mine shook my hand on the last day of work. He told me I was the only person who had treated him with any respect and that he would always remember me.
Time to set the mood. This was when I was in my sophomore year of college while I worked at a campus dining facility. The cafeteria was mostly staffed with minimum-wage/slave-labor students and you would be lucky to get over 10 hours a week. But there were some students who had been there for a few years and were 'promoted' (I use that term lightly) to sous chefs or managers. The amount of smug given off by these people, who had only worked there for only a year or so more than the rest of the employees, was so thick that it made you sick to your stomach. When in reality all they were doing was defrosting burgers or dishing out french fries. The rest of us had to clean dishes or sweep or some other less than glamorous task for any given night of work. I remember hearing one sous chef say, "I get a break in a half an hour when one of the sh*tty workers takes over for me."