Thursday, January 8, 2009

Did that really just happen?

This is probably the worst encounter I've had since working at my current job (State Farm). I figured I would document.

My co-worker and I were both sitting at my desk in the front as she was training me to do a Homeowners quote. Amy (my co-worker) and I were the only ones in the office at the time of this occurance.

An elder lady walks in to pay her bill as she does faithfully every month. She has a bit of a hearing problem and so I must shout in order for her to understand me. She had an extremely displeasing look upon her face and immediately told us that she was "not in a good mood".

Upon entering her payment, I was notified that her insurance had lapsed due to non-payment. No big deal, it can be reinstated but I have to enter whether or not she has had any accidents or losses since the date of cancelation.

So, I proceed to ask her, "Ma'am, have you had any accidents or losses since the date of cancelation?"

She stares at me blankly for a moment and shouts "What?!"

I ask again and smile.

She then shouts "I don't know what you are saying, so put it on my record!"

At this point I didn't see any need in asking again and I just answered the question myself. I printed her receipt and handed it to her and smiled...I just smiled.

She then says "Why are you making fun of me? You're so rude? Do you think it's funny that I can't hear you? I can't help the way God made me!"

She began to cry.

Tears instantly surfaced and streamed from my eyes as I attempted to convey to her that i would NEVER ever make fun of someone and that I was simply smiling at her.

Amy vouched for me and told her, "Amber smiles at everyone, she would never make fun of you!"

The lady then glared back and said "You both laughed!" and walked out.

I just sat there crying. Not so much crying because she was mean to me, but the fact that she really thought I made fun of her because she had a hard time hearing. I never have and never would make fun of someone with a handicap. My mom has a vision problem and I am very sensitive to people who are handicapped. I would never ever do something so cruel and heartless.

Thank God Amy was there. It seemed as though this woman may have had a bit of a mental handicap as well or she was just extremely sensitive and would prefer that everyone give her displeasing looks as opposed to a simple smile. Because smiling at someone clearly means you're making fun of them.

I have never been accused of such a thing in all my life, until today that is.

What a day.


Leah said...

Don't feel bad. She was already in a bad mood, as she told you and she was probably just taking it out on you. I'm sure something else had already happened so her perception of the situation was off. She's probably lonely, sad, etc. It could be so many things.

You are so sensitive and sweet and I know you won't forget this situation easily. Use this as an opportunity to remember to pray for her.

Mitzy said...

wow, that was a weird encounter!..

you didint do anything wrong!.. She obviously had some issues, that she is dealing with..

Hope the rest of your week is better!

Mark Driesenga said...

Hey Amber, I can definitely relate to that encounter to a certain extent. And I can personally attest to the fact that you're sensitive to those of us with disabilities, since I am totally blind, as you know. Btw, it's Mark, and for some reason, my comment I made last time was deleted. I hope this one gets through b/c I was trying to tell you some stuff, actually. I added you to Facebook, and also you might want to change your MSN address, since the Hotmail one seems to have fallen into the hands of spammers. Just thought you might like to know. Anyway, back to what I was saying, I've been in similar situations as you in terms of ppl not getting stuff like a smile or something b/c they misunderstood it. Nothing you can really do in those situations, I know. It's not easy to deal with, but it was, afterall, an isolated incident, and so it's nothing that regularly happens. anyway, I concur with the two other commenters so I won't repeat what they said, but it's so true.

Lindsey said...

Aww I'm so sorry! I hope the rest of your day is better!

Elizabeth said...

Aww :( I'm sorry that happened to you. I think she had more issues then just her hearing! like you said.. so don't feel bad.
My husband worked at a hospital a couple years ago (on the floor w/many elderly people etc) one older woman kept screaming at him, asking; "Why didn't you eat the food I made for you!???" over & over until clueless Nathanael finally just said "WHAT? I already ate it" and she said "I bet you did, you D*** glutton!"
haha. Old people are just a hoot!And sometimes they can't help the way they act in different situations.

So cheer up! :)

Shanny said...

Oh, I'm sorry you had such a bad day. I hope you don't feel too guilty, you didn't do anything wrong.
I'll admit that I would be sad too if I felt someone was hurt by me whether or not it really happened.
I feel terrible for her though. I can't imagine what she must go through everyday that she feels people make fun of her. My heart goes out to her. I hope she feels better next time she comes in and that she forgets this incident that she thinks happened.


aMbErDeNaE said...

dont feel bad! You def. didnt do anything wrong, but i totally get what you are saying! That sucks! Monday will be a better day Im sure!:)
xoxo a

RunTX said...

That's horrible. I've met folks like that and have learned that Hurting people only know how to hurt others.

Well, I look forward to you visiting my blog and becoming a follower as I will become one of this blog.

AmyT said...

awll you poor thing! I am very sensative - I cry at the drop of a hat - maybe she was just having a bad day and everything just upset her. Like you said, at least you were not alone!!

mrs.leah.maria said...

Oh my goodness girl. I'm so sorry that your simple attempt at good will was so misconstrued. I hope that she is in a better mood next month!

GirlonTour said...

Hey don't be sad. I probably would have done the same thing as you too though. You did your best.