Posted by: tomkennedy | December 6, 2008

Oh, The People I Meet II – The Customer Server

I don’t want you to think that I’m a complainer.  Granted, the majority of topics that I’ve written about so far have been criticisms on how things aren’t the way I want them and how things would be different if I were in charge.  To combat this perception of me, I would like to present you with an “Oh, The People I Meet” that is more of a celebration rather than a condemnation.


I recently lost my wallet and subsequently a good amount of things that were of value to me – most notably my license, credit card and insurance card.  I called my bank of choice today and, as expected, was directed to customer service where my problem of a lost card could be handled.  What I did not expect was the unnaturally polite and eerily willing-to-help attendant that greeted me on the other side of the telephone.  All too frequently am I met by Beth or Trevor the soul-dead, crushed by the world, nothing left to lose person who’s only taking a job so that they have something to do in between suicide attempts.  That may be a harsh generalization, but that’s the vibe I get when I hear their lackluster rendition of the greeting prompt.


Not this time.


This time I was met by James Smith*.  Not only was the script outstanding with promises of exemplary service, undying love and cinnamon buns – maybe not the last two but it was still pretty nice – he also apologized for my wallet getting lost.  He then asked what he could do for me and I explained the predicament that I was in.  His response brought me into a comfort zone that I hadn’t been in since I went to Hooters for the first time and was told that I would be “taken care of” rather than “served”. 


An account statement that I ordered as proof of address for my new license was going to cost me $5.  Now $5 isn’t a huge amount but I can just wait for my next one for free so it made no sense to pay for one now.  James understood my situation and the fact that I hadn’t been warned about the impending charge.  However, there was nothing he could do to stop it from occurring.  Rather than emptily apologizing and scurrying me on my way to deal with the next poor sap, he gave me his personal phone number and told me to call him when the charge hit my account and he’d refund the money for me.


What. A fucking.  Sweetheart.


Not only did this man express genuine regret that my personal belongings were no longer mine; he listened to my situation and found a solution that most people wouldn’t have bothered finding.  James has single-handedly renewed my faith in humanity with his act of kindness.  He didn’t have to be so cordial on the phone and FSM knows he didn’t have to give two shits about my wallet.  But he did.  And that little bit of effort makes all the difference when dealing with people.  Rather than being The Bitch, James did his job with respect, honor, and most importantly class.


Let’s face it.  The job that James works at is, at best, mind numbing.  He has to deal with people who not only are entering their encounter with a sour attitude because some part of their service needs fixing, but they are automatically assuming that the representative on the other side of the phone is a complete fucking retard.  James assuredly understands this but still decides to come into work everyday and provide his customers with an experience that they can walk away from smiling.  I say bravo to him.  You don’t have to have a million dollar job to like what you do.  When it comes down to it, the paycheck you receive at the end of the month will never come close to affecting you the way the image in the mirror does at the end of the day.


How does yours affect you?




  1. Tom! I think this might be the first time I have ever heard you say such nice things about someone… Its a bit weird I must admit. I am sooo sooo happy that I found this blog and I can carry a little piece of you everywhere I go. I miss the days at PC where whenever I felt guilty about all the awful and critical thoughts I had about others I could just say.. hey well at least I’m not as bad as Tom 🙂 Miss ya buddy!

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