What You Do When No One is Watching

This isn’t a post about technology.  It’s a quick story about a wonderful customer service experience I had yesterday and a good lesson for anyone in business.

My daughter has been trying to sell her car for the past few months.  I haven’t been involved to any great degree, but yesterday she was meeting a potential buyer who contacted her via Craigslist and she wanted me to join her as she wasn’t sure who she was meeting.  It turns out the buyer was a young man, and after the test drive he said he wanted to buy the car.  They agreed on the price, and he asked if he could pay and take the car home right away.  It was close to 5:00 pm on a Sunday.  He had to get the money from his bank and then we had to find an insurance agent that was open for him to get the insurance.  Believe it or not, we found one close by that was open until 6:00 pm.

He went off to get the money and we agreed to meet him at the insurance broker.  When we arrived we found out that the bank branch he went to was closed and he asked if he could do an online transfer instead.  We agreed.  It was approximately 5:30 pm by this time.  The online transfer was sent to my daughter via e-mail to confirm.  We waited for her to receive it.

The insurance broker office had 2 people in front of us waiting for service, and the man behind the counter told us that we would have a short wait.  In the time that it took for him to help the people in front of us the e-transfer still hadn’t showed up.  Another person had come in to the office, so we let him go ahead of us.  Now it was 5:55 pm, 5 minutes before closing.  While he was serving this new customer I overheard the person from the insurance office say that this was his last day on the job.  I was worried that the transfer wouldn’t happen and that he would ask us to leave.  I think we were all nervous.  I know the young man wanting the purchase the car was because he had an hour drive to get home and he wouldn’t want to have to come back again.

The last customer finished his business, and by then the man at the insurance office had started to help with our transaction, but I let him know that the financial part needed to happen before any insurance transfer, and that we were still waiting for the e-transfer notification.  Thinking we would be asked to come back tomorrow, he instead responded saying that it wouldn’t be a problem since he had lots more work to do still and that he would get our paperwork ready but then catch up on his additional work while we waited.

It took another half hour before the transfer finally happened.  6:30 pm!  In the mean time he offered his restroom for anyone that needed it.  He helped the young man purchasing the car first, and then helped my daughter with her paperwork.  We were very grateful for his patience and his help.  He told us she was his last customer, and that he appreciated that she was cheerful and understanding.  Sounds like he may have had a difficult customer or two to deal with that day.  We thanked him again and were on our way.  What a wonderful experience for my daughter.

I like the odd inspirational saying, and saw one on the wall as we were being helped by this person.  Character: What you do when no one is watching.

I would like to again thank Roger.  It was his last day.  He wasn’t getting paid after the store closed (I heard him say so).  He stayed open late just for us, and he did so while none of his co-workers or the managers of the store were there.


I am an IT professional with over 20 years of experience. For much of that time I have worked with IBM Lotus Notes and Domino, helping organizations take full advantage of the tool for building workflow collaboration solutions. I have ITIL certification and a background in project management as well. Recently I have invested in how mobile devices may be used to extend business applications outside the office, and have also been learning how to add social components to traditional business applications. Away from work, I have three daughters and recently celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary with my wife in Hawaii. I coach hockey, cycle, and love growing garlic and then finding new ways to use it. I added a section of herbs to my garden last year and was very happy with the result. I ride my bike each year with my wife in the Ride to Conquer Cancer to raise money for research in childhood cancers, particularly brain tumours. Our youngest daughter lost her battle with a brain tumour in 2008 and through this ride we hope to help find a way to prevent other families from experiencing what we went through and continue to live with. If I have any spare time, I like to travel, so you may see the odd photo from our family adventures here too.

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One comment on “What You Do When No One is Watching
  1. Loretta Golby says:

    That is so sweet, sure don’t hear many of these stories these days !! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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