I am so sick of all the news going on lately. I honestly can’t do it. I try to stay up to date with what I really need to know but I still get hateful news shoved in my face. Yesterday, I had a revelation, though. I wanted to share stories with you that restore my faith in humanity. I wanted to share good things with you that you could, in turn, share with others and brighten up someone’s day. We cannot thrive in hatred and anger and while I know that it’s important to stand up for what you believe in, you could also use a break. Here’s that break.
My sweet story for today comes from an experience I had yesterday.
My car started acting up a month ago and all my electrical systems were a mess. Whenever I’d turn on my car, all these warning messages would pop up telling me to check all these different types of controls. Being the busy yet lazy person I am, I knew I had to take it in but as long as it would drive, I was fine. A couple of days ago, my theft deterrent system starting acting out of whack and wouldn’t let me turn the engine over so I was like, OKAY, I’ll take it innnnn.
I stopped by Burt Brothers in West Jordan, Utah at 7 AM, right when they opened, to drop my car off. To my surprise, there were already 4 people sitting in the lobby who had been checked in and 2 men in front of me, waiting in line. After the guy at the front desk was done with the first man, the second one walked up to the desk and smiled. The guy immediately recognized him and said, “Hey Joe!”. He grabbed a pad of paper and a pen and slid it over to Joe, who starts writing down a bunch of stuff.
As I was watching their interaction, I realized Joe was deaf and the guy at the front desk would either do small hand signals or write him back on the pad. At one point, while Joe was writing his next question, the guy grabs the TV remote for the TV in the lobby and turns on the captions for Joe. When he was all done, the guy signals to the TV and says, “Look, Joe! I’ve got it all set up for you!” Joe looks at the TV, smiles, and gives the guy a thumbs up. It was the sweetest encounter ever.
It’s 7 AM and the lobby was already full. The guy could have been super ornery and annoyed at the fact that he had 3 other people in line and had to slowly interact with this man but instead, took his time to make sure he was listened to and taken care of, even though he couldn’t necessarily communicate with him by sign language. It made my entire day. It was only a small act but I think it impacted everyone in that place.
This reminded me of another experience I had. At one point, I worked at a relay center for the deaf and hard of hearing. I personally don’t know sign language (although I’d like to!) but luckily, you didn’t have to know it to work here. It was an app that deaf users would have on their phones and they could type in who they wanted to call and what they wanted to say. We would receive the request and be the middleman, meaning we would be their voice. If the user wanted to call Comcast to pay their bill, we would call and relay every part of the conversation to the Comcast employee and back through the app to the user.
I’m sure you can tell by now that this process would take quite a bit of time. I could only say what the user wanted me to say and I wasn’t allowed to have any side conversations so the person we were calling would have to sit in silence until I received a response from the user. We would also have to start out the call with a script that let the person know they were receiving a call from a relay center on behalf of a user that was deaf & hard of hearing.
A lot of the people we would call were used to this spiel and knew to wait in between responses but there were some people who were furious about receiving these. The second I would start saying my script, they would flip out and tell me they didn’t have time for this. My deaf users would request to call restaurants and set up orders for delivery or for pick-up and the restaurant employees would be so impatient and would get so angry. I even had people hang up on me.
I would have to relay this back to the user with little prompts that would say, “The caller has disconnected”. It would break my heart when they would write back to me and say, “Why did they hang up?”
We are all busy people. I know this. I get in this mindset as well. Sometimes, little things will set me off and I’m meaner than I should be but one small act of kindness and compassion toward someone else can not only change their day but can change the day of everyone around who happens to witness this. We just need to have more patience with each other, something I definitely need to work on.
What sweet stories have you heard recently?