This brief story takes place about 15 years ago.
I’m 19, at my first call center. Been there less than a year. Pretty damn good at my job, but lots to learn still.
Sweet elderly lady (SL) calls in — awesome! They’re my favorite; I actually enjoyed helping them with super simple technology problems. They were easy to please and chatted nicely while I did my thing.
I don’t remember how we got to this topic during our small talk, but it went something like this…
SL: I’m in the hospital at the moment.
Me: oh, I’m sorry to hear that!
SL: thank you
Me: well I hope you’re feeling better soon.
SL: oh, I wont. I’m dying.
(said in a very sweet but matter-of-fact tone, mind you)
Cue my stunned silence because what on earth am I supposed to say to that? I’m barely out of training! They don’t prep you for this 😐.
And then immediate guilt for the stunned silence, probably followed by some stuttering. I don’t remember the rest, except that she never broke that sweet little old lady demeanor of hers. ❤️
Anyway, that’s the day I learned to avoid saying “I hope you feel better” unless the caller specifically confirms it’s a recoverable problem……like a cold, or a broken ankle.