It sounds hokey, but one of the reasons I love working in customer service is the chances where I get to transform people’s days. I am often in a situation where a customer comes in with a dilemma, and he or she seems hard-pressed to see any light at the end of the tunnel. It’s make or break time, depending on her or his attitude, and either I find them a solution or I don’t. Either they feel grateful at the end or they run off. Whatever the outcome, I usually remember the brief relationship. I’ve startled more than a few customers by remembering their names and following up with whatever small talk we volleyed before.
Yesterday I was making conversation with a woman who was waiting on some sort of solution to one of those relatively strange requests. While my associate went off in search of an answer, I stood by and started asking about her eye shadow color (Stars N’ Rockets, MAC) because I loved the prismatic quality about it. Then I asked her about her glasses, because mine are about five years old (Holy crap.) and I’ve been lightly thinking about updating them. She gave me the card of the Oakland boutique where she found them, and I mentioned to her how I’m an intern at the Guardian, and she mentioned to me how her son is Mistah FAB, and a beautiful friendship was formed.
I have an entire playlist in my iTunes dedicated to my ghettoer, harder-hitting rap music. It is titled “In My White Tee,” and I can’t listen to it within half an hour before going to bed because it just makes me want to party and “put a look on [my] face like I smelled some piss.” Mistah FAB has a sizable presence in that collection, because I love Bay Area hyphy music.
My coworker came back but legally had to go on break, so I took over the issue for Mama FAB. Teaming up with more people to figure out a workaround, we went through two or three attempts but still couldn’t produce the desired result. Eventually the end of my shift arrived, and I still didn’t have a solution for Mama FAB. I went back to Mama FAB, and she was clearly trying to hide her disappointment after having her hopes brought up every time I gave her an update on our progress. Personal ethical decision time: Hand her off or help her more?
I decided to walk with Mama FAB to a nearby place where we might find more support. (Thanks, DailyNic.com–Your moment is coming!) We ended up reaching our solution.
If I didn’t walk with her, she would not have found herself nearly in tears praising the powers that be for all the help she was receiving that day. And I would not have been shown the scar from her recent bout with liver cancer. She wouldn’t have told me that she doesn’t get out of the house much and that it’s difficult to shop at all these days. I wouldn’t have learned that her daughter’s birthday was the next day, that her daughter and my sister have the same first name, that Mistah FAB’s father passed away from AIDS when FAB was 12, or all of her opinions of the neighbors bringing down her area of Oakland.
When all was fixed and ready to go, she told me about her son’s new single, “Hit Me On Twitter,” and insisted that I Twitter him and tell him that I met his mother. Then she gave me two hugs.
When I got home I downloaded the new FAB track. His mom says it’s “poppin’.”
(I don’t like the song that much, but for nostalgia’s sake, I’ll keep it.)
P.S. She gave me one of his signed glossies.