I ate a slice recently (it was not sweet or served à la mode).
I didn’t have to eat it, but I chose to eat it. I could have justified my behaviour or downplayed it, soothing my pride. Or I could have let the anonymity of the telephone cloak my identity. It would have been so easy…
I took my car in 5.5 weeks ago for an oil change, a squeaky sound, and the all-too familiar “herky-jerky” transmission in my new car. They changed the oil, fixed the brakes, and promised to order a new clutch kit to (cross your fingers) deal with the “herky-jerky” once-and-for-all!
I was told to check back “next week”. I did. I was told it would take another week, but he promised he would call me!
He didn’t call me. So I called him back. He would look into it and promised to call me back in 10 minutes.
He didn’t. By the time a hour and a half had rolled around, and I was sitting on hold listening to “beep beep” (for 10 minutes), I was ready to crack craniums and bash brains. So I hung up and called back.
The main receptionist answered and I calmly let her have it. I didn’t swear. I didn’t call her names. But I imagine I was a loud, ranting lunatic whose voice pitch kept getting higher and higher until only dogs could hear it. She apologized without making lame excuses. She remained calm and poised…and professional. She sweetly called me “ma’am” and then politely transferred me to the correct department…where I got put on hold. BUT eventually I made contact with “he who makes empty promises” – who promised to call the next week when the part came in.
I hung up the phone.
I felt terrible. I mean, really horrible. After all, I’ve worked in offices too. Haven’t I made “first contact” with more than my fair share of loud, ranting lunatics and passive-aggressive mind-blowers too? Haven’t I been left shaken after an encounter of the oddest kind when I was simply doing my job?
“Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.” – Ezra T. Benson
So I ate some humble pie.
I called her back. I apologized profusely. I shared that I’m really not that “kind” of person and I’ve been in her position. I thanked her for remaining calm and professional. We talked and laughed for over 3 minutes – this stranger and I caught in a bad moment in my day.
As we closed our conversation, she thanked me. No one had ever bothered to call back before. She was more used to being clobbered, than commended. Maybe more of us just need to swallow a bite of humble pie before we open our mouths!
“We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully.” – Mother Theresa
Post-script: It’s been 5.5 weeks since I took my car to the dealership. I called last night to see if my clutch kit had arrived – it hadn’t because it was never ordered. It turns out “he who makes empty promises” was fired 2 weeks ago…for not returning calls and not ordering parts. I swear, it wasn’t my doing!