"Unfortunately, There's Nothing I Can Do..."
What a crazy couple of weeks! I'll tell the whole carjacking story on the 10/13 episode of the brand new season of Consider Yourself Hugged Podcast, but today I want to focus on what I experienced related to helping vs. not helping; compassion vs. indifference; surpassing expectations vs. simply fulfilling them. I hope if you work with people at all that you'll take a few minutes to read.
Aside from the mental, emotional, and financial harm this guy did, my entire digital/card life was gone in the blink of an eye! I was alone in a strange city, no phone, no credit cards or money, no identification, no computer, no nothing.
I want you to walk with me from 1:00 pm on September 15th to 10:00 pm that same day.
As I sat in the school cafeteria trying to process what had just happened, it didn’t take long for me to realize I had a LOT to do! In this small room, the help was abundant, compassion flowed, and job expectations became words that existed somewhere on a document – not important.
I need to call my husband I’ll do that!
I need to cancel my credit cards Which ones do you have I’ll get the phone numbers
I’m supposed to have dinner with What’s the name of the event?
the women I’m speaking for
I have to get a phone! I’ll take you. I’m here for you for as much as you need
for as long as you need!
I have to get another rental I told you – whatever you need I’m here.
Car to drive to my event.
I have no money! My Uncle Jeff lives near there. Here’s his address. Go
there. (I did – how weird is that to show up on Uncle
The first women around when I came SCREAMING into their kitchen were the cafeteria staff. They were supposed to be off, but they stayed. These ladies and their director gathered other school staff to make things happen: the principal, guidance counselor, school nurse. They called the police. I’m telling you everyone there was amazing, despite my crying and hyperventilating.
Then, I left the safe world of compassion and went out into, as some would say (although it’s not a phrase I’m a fan of!) the real world. The world that can prompt phrases like People just don’t care anymore. Nobody wants to work anymore. He/she’s just there to get a paycheck.
I try to live by the belief that we cannot judge others’ motives. I cling firmly to the idea that most people want to do good and want to help. I recognize that some jobs are seriously difficult to do – especially when it involves customer service. But holy moly, I gotta tell you, this experience sure did test my beliefs and almost sent me to the dark side of assumptions!
Yvone, the I’m here for you for whatever you need for as long as you need woman was soon on her first task: get me to a Verizon store to get a phone! We pulled in, and she said she’d sit in the car. Of course as I check in I’m fairly emotional, but I got nothing in return - no nod of encouragement, no empathetic tone of voice. Just OK our next agent will be with you soon. I sat there for about 15 minutes waiting, and I must have gotten the least compassionate employee ever. No smile, no Sorry, no Oh I’m here to help! Nothin’. He gets me a phone and then says to me in his most professional voice, That’ll be $110.00.
If I had had any sarcastic ability at that moment I probably would’ve said, Oh, sure, hold on let me pull that right out of me… oh wait… I HAVE NO PURSE, NO WALLET, NO MONEY, NO CREDIT CARDS! I HAVE NOOOOTTTHHHINGGG!!!
But what I said was, I have nothing! He took everything! Can’t you put it on our card on file? He, of course, said that wasn’t possible. I reiterated that I had absolutely nothing, and then it came (say it with my in slow mo): Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do.
So what did I do? I burst into tears. Not in a manipulative way. I was so broken. Again, no compassion, just Let me talk to my manager. And what happened? Turns out there was something they could do. It was simple really: Call my husband, verify his identity, and get his credit card information. Boom. Done.
I do realize we live in a world filled with security breaches. I wouldn’t expect someone to just say Oh sure just give me any ole credit card number and we’ll run it. But when someone needs something out of the norm (I think carjacking qualifies!) maybe go to the manager immediately instead of waiting for the tears.
An hour later, we were on our way to Dollar Car Rental. Now that place was awesome! I even snipped at one of the agents and she gently answered my snarky question and brought me back to the world of kindness. I was only there maybe 20 minutes. Thanks Dollar, and goodbye Yvonne – you are an angel!
Next stop: The Apple Store to get a charger (the phone was almost dead) and see if they could help me get into my iCloud. I had such high hopes; I mean, it’s Apple! First order of business, the charger. Oh no, I have no money, no cards! The resourceful agent figured out that I could call Tim, he could order online, do an in-store pickup, and then I could pick it up. Awesome! Except when he realized I had no identification, and then it came: (again, slow mo): Without any identification that you are who you say you are, unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do.
What did I do? Burst into tears. Why would I go to all that trouble for a $20 charger? And what did he do? Yep. Talked to his manager. I would have liked to have met his manager, because that guy said (and I’m thinking in a loud voice of disbelief) Give the woman the charger!
Without that phone, I had no connection to my world, and maybe more importantly at the time, no GPS to get to Columbia. Again, during such a difficult situation, why was talking to the manager not the first option?
Next order, my iCloud password. Long story, but unfortunately, there was nothing they could do. Working together, Tim and I finally got in and it cascaded into getting all my passwords reset – success!!
My boss called his uncle near St. Louis and arranged for me to pick up some cash. Not only did Uncle Jeff send me away with cash, but he also loaded me up with zucchini bread and a tumbler of water 🙂
Arrived at the event hotel in Columbia. I was a little nervous for many reasons. It was dark, I was alone, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to check in without an ID or credit card. Well…. it’s nice to finish on high note. AMAZING!! I walked in, and the desk clerk said my name at the same time I did – he was expecting me because the women’s leadership team had told him my story and worked out a plan. And that’s exactly how he started the conversation: OK, we’ve figured it out and come up with a plan! They gave me your cell number, and I think they said you have a phone. I’ll text you and you’ll show me you got it, and then I’ll know it’s you! They paid for your room, and I have lots of sample toiletries for you. And I put you just down the hall from the desk here.
Again I cried, but this time it was joy! I felt understood. I felt safe. I felt compassion. And I tried to focus on those that helped and surpassed any job descriptions they had signed on for.
The night ended in such a sweet way. I took my luggage (a Walmart bag)went to my room, and on the desk was a package from the women’s leadership team: a card, raspberry chocolate (my favorite!), chamomile tea, and a Target gift card. You guessed it: tears of joy.
I can sum it up in a few sentence: Whether with family, friends, workmates, or customers: during unusual situations, take a moment to consider the circumstances before you respond. I'm not saying allow someone to treat you poorly, but we are surrounded by people going through so much! I hope we can all reach into our own experiences and try to find helpfulness and compassion for those around us. Those who did this for me truly changed my life!
Love & Hugs 😘 🤗