Yesterday I met a woman at AT&T who was having a really bad day. It wasn’t bad in the sense “I lost my keys, they didn’t have Creme Brûlée ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s at the supermarket kind of day.” She was having a legitimate, top 5 worst days of all time kind of bad day.
She came to me, obviously frazzled, saying that her iPhone was not working. I came to find out, the reason that she was frazzled wasn’t necessarily the iPhone…that was merely the catalyst. So as she hands me her sick iPhone, I begin to take a look. While looking at her phone, her twin 8 year old daughters are proceeding to act like 8 year old girls. Not necessarily bad (believe me, I have seen out of control kids at the store), but definitely wanting attention from mom. Unless you are a parent, you can’t relate to this; there are times where you’re kids are necessarily misbehaving, but rather they are just simply annoying. Don’t get me wrong, as a parent you still love your kids, but at times you simply want them to back off a bit. This is where these kids were.
At AT&T, we are limited to what we can do to one’s iPhone. Our contract with Apple has them handling all their warranty or repair work. At the store, I am known as the resident Apple guy. I can usually look at a problem fairly quickly and determine whether or not it was something I could fix, or if it is something that needs to be taken to Apple.
So as I was looking at the phone, it looked like there was something wrong with her SIM card, but it wasn’t necessarily all that simple. I took the SIM card tray out, but it didn’t register “No SIM” like it should have. This immediately lead me to believe that this phone should be seen by the wonderful folks at the Apple Store. As I begin to explain it to her, she crossed the border between holding back tears and not. Her kids continue to annoy her, and you can see the whole world start to come apart around her. As she begins to calm down, it becomes clear that her emotions have nothing to do with the phone or her kids. I came to find out that yesterday was the anniversary of her father’s death, and that two months ago her mom also passed away. With emotional scabs torn away, she was definitely entitled to have a bad day…and her iPhone not working was not helping.
As she shared this with me, the girls were coming back up to talk to mom. I take a second to talk with the girls. In my family, we are big on making deals. We think that deals are important. We line out clearly what each side of the deal bring to the table. So this was a perfect time for me to talk with these girls about deals. I first asked them if they knew what a deal was…they didn’t. I briefly laid out the general concept of a deal, then proposed my own. I told them that if they were to calm down and behave for the remainder of our time at AT&T, then I would walk with them over to Jack in the Box and buy them a milkshake. They agreed, and went a sat down quietly and we finished working on the phone.
I changed out the SIM card, and initially it didn’t work. After a second though, as though miraculous, the phone recognized the new SIM, and she was back in business. I gave her back her phone, which was now working and finished up what I had to do on her account. I informed her that it would be worth her while to go over to the Apple store to have them check it out. I then proceeded to live up to my part of the deal. Initially the mom said that it was not necessary, but I believe that deals are important, and deals are not to be broken. After my insistence to do this for her and her family, she conceded. We made our Jack in the Box run. Afterwards, mom came up to me, gave me a big hug while holding back tears for a different reason now.
Afterwards, I couldn’t help but think about the passage in Matthew 25. The passage that says “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison and you visited me.” I am not saying that what I did was profound or all that life changing…but I do hope that one day, while standing before Jesus He tells me, “you know, I was having a really bad day…and you bought my kids a milkshake.”