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Kindness [publisher's letter]

Publisher Tracy Patterson with her dog sitting in the desert resting up from a hike

Tracy Patterson

This month’s Healing Ways article, reminded me of an interesting call I had with a tech support agent a while back. My email wasn’t working, so I had to summon up the energy to call someone for help. As many of you know, this can be quite a daunting process, and I determined ahead of time that I would keep a cool head with the person on the other end of the line.
The nice young man was very good natured as he kept asking me if I saw this or that, and I kept saying that I couldn’t see what he was talking about. This went on for a bit until he realized I didn’t have administrative access to my own email account. So that was the first thing he set about fixing.
I mentioned that it must be challenging to work with people all day long, many of whom don’t know anything about technology. His response was: “Well, I get two kinds of people on the line: those who want and take my help and those who shout at me. I’m just happy that you’re someone who doesn’t shout at me!” I found that to be an intriguing answer. He wasn’t concerned with how long it took or how many times he had to explain something. In other words, he had all the patience in the world. He cared only about the fact that I wasn’t yelling at him!
I told him that in the past I had fallen into the trap of getting angry at the agent on the phone because I was frustrated that something wasn’t working, but I learned that it didn’t get me any closer to resolving the problem and that, after all, the person was trying to help―it wasn’t their fault that something went wrong with the technology.
The phone call went on, and we were both relaxed and simply jumping through all the hoops to get the issue rectified. At one point, he said something that made me chuckle, and his response was: “It’s so nice to hear a customer laugh!”
We eventually got it all sorted out, and my email worked! And without one harsh word from either of us. This experience served as a reminder to me to always be intentionally kind―to actually think to myself, “I will be kind no matter what happens in this situation.” The effect we have on others (and ourselves!) is more dramatic than we might think.