I was surprised to receive a call from Jason, the software technician that had helped my husband and me with a problem we had in converting our LPs to music on our hard drive. We had followed his instructions a week earlier and were utterly shocked when they actually worked. He had been very kind and helpful, so I sent him an email at the time that said, “We think you’re a genius! Thank you! It worked!”
You can imagine our surprise when he contacted us again a week later. As it turned out, our number had come up accidentally in his call cue. He knew our name was familiar, but he had forgotten we talked. When I reminded him how he helped us and about my funny email, he laughed and said quite seriously, “When I opened that email and read ‘You’re a genius,’ it was so motivating!” I could tell that it had really made his day.
Well, we had another little question for him about some software (unrelated to his company’s software, but one any tech would know), and he was willing to help us once again. But before we could finish, he said, “They’re closing our building early. I guess they do that on Friday nights, and since I’ve stayed late, I have to go, but if you can’t figure it out, email me and I’ll be glad to help you.”
I made a comment about there being worse things he could do on a Friday night than having to go home and wished him a nice weekend. It was a friendly exchange and, naturally, we haven’t spoken since.
But in that conversation laced with pleasantries, I came to realize how often we treat the person on the other end of the phone like a service robot, a mere caricature of a real person. Sometimes I think we forget that maybe they’ve had a long day, are dealing with personal struggles, or are just as frustrated as we are.
Our interaction with Jason really got me to thinking. Although we originally connected to resolve a software problem, maybe on a cold Friday evening in January, three strangers just needed a good laugh. He is a reminder that the joy of humanity comes from our connectedness, not our usefulness.
Copyright 2011 Janet Cassidy