Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Simple Kindness and an Unlikely Friendship

"What's the thing you like most about customer service," I asked someone recently.  

"The people," he responded.  

"What's the thing you like least about customer service?"

"The other people."

All too often, we in customer service have our days shadowed by the people who weren't happy, or the people we had to say no to.  It's always nice when you hear a story or experience a situation that reminds us why we do this.  Tonight I had one such experience.

Rosa Lee is one of our greatest volunteers.  She's a retired school teacher and you know she's sent a few kids to detention in her day.  She doesn't take any gruff.  The other side of her is that she's one of the kindest people I've ever known. Rosa is eighty four years old. (She'll kill me for saying that)

Tonight Rosa was telling me she hoped her  friend would make it down from Russell's Point to see the show.  He'd called her to tell her he'd be there. It was a forty minute drive and the roads were getting bad.  She said she only came down because he was going to be there. I listened curiously wondering if Rosa had a gentleman caller.  She told me the story.

Two years ago we presented Wicked.  One night Rosa Lee was volunteering and a young man of about nine or ten told her that he admired the lapel pin she was wearing.  It was from Wicked and was a promotional item.  He told her he would like to have one like that.  Since this particular type wasn't for sale, Rosa asked him if he'd like this one after the run of the show.  He eagerly said he would, so Rosa took down his address and promised to send it to him when she was finished wearing it for the show.  When the show closed, she put the pin in the mail. 

Over the past two years, Rosa has been buying lapel pins when a big show is in town and she's sent them to this young man.  They write letters back and forth and have even talked on the phone.  

Just as Rosa finished telling me the story, I see a young man with his family coming across the lobby.  I could tell the way his face lit up when he saw Rosa that this was the boy.  

I started to move away to give them some space, when a woman who was with the family came over to me and started chatting.  She said that Rosa had made such a difference with this boy and he was so excited about seeing shows because of her.  They even took him to New York to see Phantom of the Opera because Rosa recommended it.  

It wasn't long before I was overwhelmed by watching the two of them that I had to excuse myself and walk away.  There was something in my eye, or my hay fever was kicking in.  

I thought to myself, "Yeah, this is why I do this.  We never really know how we touch the people we come in contact with, even in the smallest ways."  

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