This happened in January ’19 and I think about this woman nearly every day.
I’ve worked for two UK-Based call centres. One for a bank (hint: think premier league) and the other was for a network company (hint: it’s a number). This story is from the latter, and it’s more of a positive one.
We’re encouraged to keep our calls to 350 seconds each, and my average time was around 200 so I wasn’t afraid of how long this call went. Around half an hour before my break, I got a call from a woman saying her internet had run out and she was looking to see if she could get any more. She had cleared security so I only asked for her name. In order to check the availability of internet for her number, I told her I needed to place her call on hold and she agreed.
I came back around a minute later about to tell her it could cost £5 for more data. She was chanting, softly to herself. I stayed on mute, not wanting to interrupt her. Around 2 minutes later I said “hello?” And she asked me why I waited so long. I explained myself and asked what the chant was. Turned out, this woman was a part of a Buddhist sect and had taken the time to chant for patience. I asked her, Why patience? She said she was waiting for a response from a team of monks that were going to travel from India (where I happened to be) over to Scotland (where she was). She had no internet to co-ordinate with them.
I’m an atheist, and had just gotten out of a relationship and hated my job. We spoke at length about her sect, about the Dalai Lama and how India had provided shelter to Tibetan monks, and everything that was wrong in the world. She told me I’m young and that I need to do what gives me happiness. We spoke about her sons and ex-husband. She seemed sad that he had remarried and moved on. I told her that everything is predestined and if he’s found happiness then so should she. She told me to forgive my ex and move on with my own life. She encouraged me to unblock him and speak to him about his infidelity and get closure.
It may seem like a small thing, but everything she said made a huge impact on me. She told me she was still on Facebook and asked me to find her. She even said that since I had her number she wanted me to call her whenever I needed to speak to someone. I told her it was meant to be that I was the one who received her call and both of us needed this chat with each other.
The call had gone on for 45 minutes at this point, and my boss came over to see what had happened. I told him I’m fine and I’ll be done in a bit.
This lady sounded 30 but she told me she was 54 and young at heart. She had the sweetest and most calm voice I had ever heard.
I broke the rules and gave her 2gb internet free. I also changed her plan to one with 2gb more internet added and reduced her bills by £20 every month. She seemed happy, and her happiness gave me happiness. I told her I needed to go and she told me to keep in touch if I could.
I quit my job a week later and now I work as an editor for less money but I love it.
I’ve forgotten this woman’s name by now even though i had written it on my hand (Catherine? Christina?) But I never forgot her or her words. I hope she’s found patience and happiness. I miss her.
Realistically, she isn’t on reddit and wont see this. But I wanted all of you to know there are good people in the world that call in and give happiness instead of anger or misery. I hope you find them too.