Driving Home The Kindness, Part 15

, , , , | Hopeless | January 9, 2019

A few years ago I was working at a dealership for a manufacturer that produces notoriously terrible cars. Our service department was open on Christmas Eve, though with shorter hours than normal. I was hoping to get out a bit extra-early — which I did! — we booked light, but of course, we kept hoping that unexpected cars wouldn’t show up. Around noon, a car without an appointment pulled into the driveway, and when I saw who was getting out I thought, “Crap! Why is she here?”

She was a customer I knew well: an older Russian lady who was perfectly nice, but paranoid and oversensitive about her car. We’d had quite a few occurrences of her coming for “symptoms” that were not, in fact, actual issues but just the normal operation of a crappy sort of car. Helping her also tended to be rather time-consuming as English was not her first language. I was dreading finding out why she had pulled in.

She came to bring me a box of chocolates and thank me for being so helpful to her over the past year, taking the time to explain her car’s idiosyncrasies and make her feel safe driving it. She said she knew she could be difficult, but that she really appreciated knowing that I was there to help her out and keep her mind at ease.

The gesture had a big impact: I’d been getting jaded, but she really helped me remember why I love my job, and how even the frustrating moments can be part of a rosier big picture. I continued to work with her, but dreaded seeing her far less as I was able to remember how our visits could be rewarding for both her and me. A year and a half later, when her lease ended and she turned the car in, she brought me her favorite snack from her home country, gave me a big tearful hug, and told me if the car wasn’t so terrible she would’ve bought out the lease so she could keep coming to see me for service. I don’t know what she’s driving now, but I hope it’s taking good care of her!

Related:
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 14
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 13
Driving Home The Kindness, Part 12

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