Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal
My phone started ringing a little after 8 AM on this Saturday morning. The first time I was still in bed and ignored it. The second time, within ten minutes or so of the first, I figured it must be important. When I checked the number, it wasn't one I had logged in my phone. Seemed a bit odd for a Saturday but I picked up.
My "This is Chris" salutation was met by a ranting and raised voice. It was a customer of the bank I work for and he was clearly not calling to thank us for our service. How he reached me on my cell phone was a bit confusing but navigating the customer service landscape from the foot of my bed was clearly going to take priority.
Leo was having trouble logging into his online account and needed to tell me why my employer is a piece of junk and he should just take his money out. As continued to railroad over my attempts to help, the thought on my mind was, "this guy wants to complain more than be helped." But five minutes or so in, when it became clear we were making headway and the call began to wind down, I started reflecting on this 8 AM "fire drill".
Almost as fast as I had begun concocting stories of who this guy was, it dawned on me, I do not and will never know enough about this 74 year-old, House Springs, MO to state why he acted the way he did toward me. A quote from author Krista Tippett came to mind, "anger is what pain and fear often look like when they show themselves in public." Leo has seen a lot more changes on this planet than me. Maybe he has a sick family member, maybe his own health is failing, maybe he's afraid he's falling behind with the times.... or maybe he's just an asshole. But the conclusion I reached was I will most likely never come to know this gentleman's "whole truth". How much time and energy I spend feeling wronged and judging him is up to me.
Whether its the seemingly inattentive waiter/waitress, your slow-to-respond colleague or the customer service representative at your bank, it is worth reflecting on this holiday season that most people out there are just trying to make it through life one day at a time. They all have different stories and they probably make mistakes along the way. But that's just part of the journey. I believe most of the time, they're just trying to do their best, based on what they know and what they've seen. It doesn't mean we have to agree with or find joy in them but chances are, their ultimate goal in life is not to ruin ours.
Go Forth Boldly this season
“Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence or lack of time.” Tim Ferriss