Sorry this took so long to post, I wrestled with the possible heaviness of my words but after a short internal battle, my heart won. So here it is…read it, weep, maybe learn a lesson then invite some people over for a FridayNightFamily celebration and take a chill pill. I’ll post pics sometime tomorrow. Hug your kids and sleep well tonight. Here goes…
I’m on the run, work, home, kids, bills…an endless list of responsibilities. I’m tired and burned out. I promised myself I would do something for me (writing this blog is therapy, I should be paying you!). I feel like the energizer bunny only I have no energy… and I’m a little cranky.
I was driving to work this morning thinking about the fact that I should have uploaded my next blog entry already. Writer’s block and lack of clear insight about what to write next was resting on my head. The anxiety of the daily grind began to sink in and I found myself asking the “Big One” for some help to inspire me so I would write something from the heart, words that had meaning, words that could maybe create one small change in our somewhat self-absorbed society…world. There are so many great things to write about but nothing felt right the last few days. Just then I was snapped back into reality by the buzzing of my cell phone in the center console. Who could be calling me this early?
At the stop light I checked and there was a text from my oldest daughter Jackie. I pulled over to see what she had to say and her message read “Good Morning Mom Mom, I slept from 9 to 8!” with a picture of my granddaughter polishing off her morning breakfast bottle. I immediately felt connected to what was really important…anxiety began to wane as I said a small prayer of gratitude for the very clear message I received. A “sign” that once again I know I’m not alone.
Signs are all around us, sometimes we see them and sometimes we don’t. What things do we look past and dismiss as mere coincidence? How often does it happen? How many of them do we misread and go in the wrong direction?
Hear this… a common theme in my blogs will always be “NOTHING is by chance”. If you learn to believe this early, you will never be bored with my writing. HA! I’ve written about this before as well as the need to “connect to something bigger… each other”. This is really why I am doing this.
There is something else I forgot to talk about which happens to be the most important of all, connecting to ourselves, our own person deep inside. A good look inside tells us much about what really makes us happy. I was anxious about all the external things I can’t control, silly me I forgot to take my own advice (a recurring theme)and look inside.
I went about my morning and decided at lunchtime I needed to go pick something up from an establishment I recently did business with. Over a week ago I paid over the phone for service they performed for me and last night got a message from them that they still needed to close out my account. I called back and left a message that I had given my debit card information over the phone to Mr. Ike. What happened to it I wondered? I started to worry, BIG TIME!
When I showed up at lunch to settle my bill I started to stress my concern about the lost card information. What if someone else got their hands on it, I pay my mortgage out of that account. Only a few words were out of my mouth when Mr. Ike, with shaking hands, snapped “No you didn’t! You never gave me that information over the phone!” and went about explaining his method for securing collected personal information. I started to come back with the exact details of the call hoping to jog his memory but was abruptly cut off. I was furious to say the least. The other cashiers stared as Mr. Ike’s voice resonated through the front office and then without missing a beat, he completely changed his tone and politely said “Let me get you to the cashier who can handle this for you dear”….”I hope things are going well for you, I haven’t seen you in a while”… He was back to the Mr. Ike I’ve dealt with for the ten years I had done business with this company. Very strange behavior, but I was still boiling over inside, how dare he treat me this way, a customer of ten years? Doesn’t he realize someone could use this information and possibly destroy my credit?
We walked through one area to another where I could be checked out, the whole time I was walking, actually charging, in front of him. I was hoping to lose him in the dust so I wouldn’t have an outburst. As we approached the counter he very politely said to the cashier, “here is her paperwork” and turned to me and said “have a good day” almost too genuine and certainly dismissing my concerns. Once again I seethed with anger. When he left the area I asked to see the manager.
Within a minute or so a younger man appeared and introduced himself as the manager of Mr. Ike’s department. I went about explaining the incident that had just occurred saying it was bad enough Mr. Ike lost a piece of paper with my account and personal information on it but to handle it like he did was unacceptable by any standard. THIS I could not wrap my head around. I tried to keep my cool as he listened quietly to me voicing my complaint. Repeating every detail of the first phone conversation verbatim and describing how defensive he was when he spoke to me up at the front counter. The manager’s silence and concerned look told me EVERYTHING I needed to know…This was not the first time something like this has happened.
The manager remained very quiet as I finished my verbal assault on Mr. Ike’s bizarre, ill and unwarranted behavior. Again a “sign“…a sign of a very good manager (more likely an Angel), not an argumentative fool that would defend these actions or brush them off as if I was making a big deal of nothing.
Then he started. “Mrs. McCay, how long have you been a customer of ours?”, “Ten years” I told him. “Have you ever dealt with Mr. Ike before in the past?” he continued. “Yes” I said, “as a matter of fact he has been the only person I have ever really dealt with here.” This was the very reason my ego was insulted to begin with, after ten years I should be pulling some rank, right? He’s seen me here and did business with me all this time and still treated me this way? Something tugged at me. The end of my conversation with Mr. Ike today was more like the way he used to treat me, a sweet polite man eager to help me. I always came back here for that reason.
The manager looked me. Only this time I could see what appeared to be sadness in his eyes. “Mrs. McCay” he began,” most of our customer’s come in only a few times a year if that”. I nodded in agreement as I hadn’t been in myself, since the fall. “I am not making excuses for what happened and I will try to make it right, but Mr. Ike just returned to work after his second stroke. He held up the stack of paperwork created from my service, a disheveled mess held together by a single staple in the corner. “I am very particular about our billing system here…I get all over the guys for things like this” he said as he dangled the papers before me. He smiled, “they don’t fit in the file cabinet very well this way”. Another broad but gentle smile crossed his face. “These were assembled by Ike”…. I hope you understand I am really not discounting your frustration and I am going to put a $100.00 credit on your account for your troubles. I hope the next time you come back and see us you’ll use it…..
No lie, I felt like I had been walloped upside the head with a baseball bat. Had life gotten to me so much that I scolded an old man who had given his life to this business I enjoyed dealing with for ten years? …and pretty much because of his good service? Woman you need to take a chill pill was all I could think.
As I walked past the front desk area I wished everyone a good day, hoping to take the obvious worry off Mr. Ike’s face.
I sat in the car for a few minutes. Mom had a stroke a while back. She was not the same for some time. Whether Mr. Ike lost the paperwork, simply misplaced it or gave it to a known criminal to use for fraudulent activity was inconsequential right now. Right or wrong if someone took my mother’s dignity away or mistreated her for any reason at all, I would “throttle them!”, to use her term politely. Surely Mr. Ike had family that might have wanted to “throttle me” had I completely lost control today. The other staffers knew, it’s why they stared as he grappled with his pride. Right now I was throttling me.
I’m grateful I didn’t let things escalate the way I might have in the past. I’m relieved I didn’t take away the small piece of dignity and pride Mr. Ike had left. Being defensive was his only protection. He knew he couldn’t make it right and he tried to recover from his own anxiety by being nice to me with a genuine heart, the one I saw but discounted as arrogance. I was humbled and inspired by this new “sign” that reminded me to remember just how important it is to care for another person. Time is all we have the other stuff can be fixed.
That familiar sign was flashing again… “We are not here to go it alone”. Someday I hope Mr. Ike will know he taught me a lesson today. A lesson I will surely never forget and by the grace of the “Great One” who watches over us, one I have been able to pass on to all of you so it will serve as a reminder to respect and connect with those who are on your path, even those that appear to be in the way.
I’ll say it again, gather your Friday Night Family and take a chill pill…in honor of Mr. Ike.
Happier pictures will follow…think about these words tonight...love you all.