Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Two Problems, Two "Victories," and Two Very Different Feelings

"The baggage charge should be credited to your card in a few business days. If there's a problem, you can call U.S. Airways and they will take care of it for you" the man at the U.S. Airways counter told me last time I was in the airport. Because they had switched my flight to United, I no longer had to pay the baggage fee due to my "preferred status" with Star Alliance. I thanked him and sincerely hoped that the charge would be dealt with so that I didn't have to call.

A couple of weeks later, upon seeing that the charge had not been taken off my card, I braved the customer service phone line. Already annoyed at the fact that I had to call in the first place, I could feel my patience wearing thinner and thinner with each additional minute that I was forced to endure the repetitive "hold music." I knew that I had been on hold for a long time when I heard my husband unconsciously whistling the same tune from another room.

By the time I was finally able to speak with a representative, I was ready to be finished with the whole process and was beginning to wonder if the reimbursement was worth it. So, when I explained my problem to the customer service agent and was told that I needed to jump through another series of hoops in order to get my money back, let's just say that I was not feeling like the best version of myself. My cheeks reddened and my heart beat a bit faster. I was downright frustrated.

And then, I am sorry to say, I lost my cool. My tone tensed, my volume level raised a bit, and I was not polite when I asked the customer service representative to ask her supervisor if he/she could solve the problem so that I didn't have to waste any more time. Within a few minutes, the problem was solved, and my credit card was reimbursed.

I guess one could say that I had been "victorious." Yet, when I hung up the phone, I felt like anything but a champion. I had my money back, but at what cost? I had let my emotions dictate my behavior and I was filled with regret. Given an opportunity to show love and patience to someone who probably doesn't receive much of that in her line of work, I had utterly failed. Sigh.

There was nothing I could do to fix the situation now, but I prayed, repented, and resolved in my heart to do better next time. As I did, I told God that I needed His strength to help me respond lovingly and to not let my attitude be dictated by circumstance.

Almost exactly 24 hours later, I stood in the dry cleaner's with another opportunity to practice responding in love. When I passed my receipt to the attendant, I was told that not only was my order not ready (one week after I had dropped it off) it had not even even been started. To top it off, my comforter had been laying on the ground. Ick! I was not happy, but just as I started to feel my cheeks redden, I heard a voice inside my head preaching back to me some of the verses I had just read that morning. I remembered the messages of Ephesians 6:10 & 19, Titus 2:6–9 and 2 Peter 1:3–7 and thought of my resolve to obey. 

This was a fork in the road. I could respond in emotion and go down the path of destruction, as I had the night before, or I could choose life and love. I took a breath and kindly asserted myself to the attendant. As I explained my concerns, I smiled, I was polite, and I remembered that the individual across from me was a real person in need of love. As I did, part of me wondered if I would get walked all over as a result. "It doesn't matter," I preached to myself. "The important thing is to do the right thing."

I left the dry cleaner's with no resolution other than two promises from the girl at the desk: A) that she would start dry cleaning my order right away and B) that she would tell the manager about my situation.

Two hours later, I got a call from the business. Their solution? Not only were they starting my dry cleaning right away, but they were doing it free of charge and were going to deliver it to my apartment the next day! I couldn't believe it. That's what I call a victory! I hung up the phone and smiled. In the past 24 hours, I had encountered two problems and saw two victories, but one felt so much sweeter than the other, providing not just a resolution to the problem at hand, but a triumph of progress in my own life.

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  1. Well done...on both counts, because, in the end, you were able to resolve things in the way each needed to be resolved. Happy endings.

  2. Lessons learned in both situations. I often have to remind myself to keep cool in those types of situations, but it's often difficult.

  3. I do hate to jump through the hoops. I have that problem when my cable goes out and I have to do problem solving with a computer! I loved how you wrote this and your feeling after you lost your temper. We do need to push back sometimes or things won't change, This is something I can relate to!