I called a business this morning to discuss a problem that I was having. After waiting for several minutes a gentleman came onto the line. He introduced himself and asked how he could help me, at least that is what I thought he said. As I began to tell him what my problem was, He asked me for my name and my account number, at least that is what I think he asked. You see, this person representing the business I have called, has a speech impediment. Sometimes it was pretty severe.
For several minutes he and I would exchange information trying to resolve the problem. Yes, this conversation was longer than I expected and maybe longer than it had to be due to his challenge.
We finally completed and correct the problem. He then asked if I would be willing to take a survey about his service. I asked for his name again. He gave it. I asked should I have a problem again is there an email to reach him, he gave it. I then asked to be forwarded to a supervisor. He paused. I thought he was going to ask me why or if there was something that he did that I did not like. Instead, he supplied me with his supervisors name and email. I then asked if he could forward me to his supervisor “Yes Sir, please hold for a moment” he said with a sound of discouragement in his voice.
“Young man, before you forward me over let me tell you why I want to speak to your supervisor”, “Because I took to long to resolve your problem” he said as if he had heard that before. “No Sir” I said “I want to speak to your supervisor so I can let him know what an outstanding employee he has. We all have challenges in our lives. You however have not allowed your challenge to stop you from obtaining a job and taking care of yourself and your family. Even knowing your challenge you stayed engaged in our conversation leading us to finding a solution to the problem. Many others would flee from their challenge. I want to commend you and let your supervisor know that I commend them for seeing past a persons challenge and recognizing a great person.” He struggled to find words. Finally he said thank you and shared that doesn’t receive kind words often and most times people are unkind.
I told him that we do not know the struggles of others and the person on the other line yelling at him may have a challenge that is defeating him. He may not have learned how to defeat his challenge yet so instead he voices his anger at himself towards you. “I never thought of that” he said. “Thanks for the call today Mr Costley. I think you have helped me more than I have helped you.” He than transferred my call.
Sometimes we have to look further than ourselves and realize that just because I cannot see someone’s struggle, it doesn’t mean that they are not struggling. Your one word of kindness could be the one word they need to hear to show them others care. Or the words you use could be the very ones needed to propel them into succumbing to their challenge.
So how about today we choose our words wisely. Someone’s day may be dependent upon it.