I had an encounter with a rude customer service agent the other day. When I asked her for help, she literally leaned in towards me, pointed her finger at me and said in the most condescending voice, “I’ll deal with you later.”
Gulp. I am a sensitive person and it doesn’t take much to set me off. I could feel the tears well up in that back of my eyes. I felt like a scolded child.
I slunk back to my seat and when I was done being hurt, I got mad. Who did she think she was to talk to people like that? To make people feel like that? I wanted to give her a firm talking to.
Instead, I watched her continue with her work, she looked overwhelmed with her workload. When she finally had a lull, I cautiously approached her desk and choose my words very carefully.
“I can tell you are pretty stressed and busy and I’m sure you didn’t mean to be that rude to me.”
“Oh no, I’m so sorry, I didn’t. I was really rushed and backed up.” she said.
“I know,” I replied, “but I felt really bad and it doesn’t take any longer to be kind than to be rude.”
“You’re right. I’m really sorry, how can I help you?”
What happened here?
- I saw things from her perspective
- I stood up for myself
- She took responsibility for her actions.
Every day, we get an opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes for a bit. We get to hear someone else’s story, we get to experience life from the ‘other side of the counter.’
It can help us in many ways; to be more compassionate, to be more understanding, to be more forgiving.
We can’t know everyone’s story, but with each one we learn, we have the opportunity to grow.
And remember it doesn’t take any longer to be kind than to be rude.