What’s the nicest thing a total stranger has done for you? So many people have done so many nice things for me in my life. Hmmm . . . I am going to focus on the time frame of Lately to answer this question.
Today I received a reminder email, indicating that I was up against a deadline to take care some financial business. It involved status verification, updated info, and the like, and I have to be honest and say that this is the sort of stuff that intimidates the heck out of me. Thoroughly disliking the dreaded consequences of unnecessary stress due to the linking of procrastination with deadlines, I went online to take care of it. I entered the various user names and passwords and opened the various web pages. One page led to another, and I was beginning to feel befuddled. Ugh. All of these confounding questions kept popping up at me from my computer screen — questions for which I knew not the answers. What to do?
It’s true. I am form-a-phobic. If any of you out there understand this, you will know exactly what I mean when I panicked when I saw all of the little boxes to type information into and the little circles for clicking Yes or No. I saw dollar signs and address requests and more deadlines, and I deferred to my general go-to: I picked up the phone and dialed and prayed for a kind person who would be willing to hold my hand through the entire procedure.
After enunciating Representative for the fourth time, I was transferred to the proper department. My anticipated wait time? One minute. I wondered, One minute? Is this for real? Is this karma working back in my direction after helping that tourist on the street yesterday find the nearest shop where she could buy underwear? [Lest you think that she was a wimpy or inexperienced traveler — Just go to the nearest Target, right? — she needed to compensate for her luggage having been lost . . . and what with the shopping options on our lovely little island being quite limited, she was feeling quite challenged in the Undies Procurement Department.]
The minute passed and, sure enough, the absolute nicest representative picked up the phone, established that I was indeed a bonafide account holder, and away we went into Formsville. I explained to her that, although I graduated from college with honors, I was incapable of passing a multiple-choice test with a passing grade. I told her that I couldn’t figure out which way to go with the various flow charts that were swimming before me on the screen and asked if she could help me navigate the scary waters.
As I said, she was just so nice to me. I could hear the smile in her voice and the patience in her choice of words. Ten minutes later, I had all of the boxes filled and all was clear as to what my next step was. She told me exactly what to write on the required documentation and to what address it should be mailed.
When it was all done, I felt so happy that I had conquered this chore four weeks ahead of the deadline. Now? All I have to do is follow up with a call in about 10 days to ensure that the information arrived at its destination. I told her how much I appreciated her kindness and that she was very good at her job. Every now and then we get super lucky when we say the word Representative. Today was one of those days.
People can be very kind, and I appreciate this representative’s kind demeanor. Life. It’s not that hard to offer each other a helping hand. Be it in the area of underwear consumerism or financial forms, it doesn’t cost us that much more to extend some niceness into the mix. After my lovely encounter today, I am greatly inspired to extend this same kindness to the next person who asks for some help from me.
How about you?
What’s one nice thing that a stranger has done for you?
[ . . . and one last question . . . Why do we say complete stranger or total stranger?]