Week No. 3 of Canuck in Kantuck writing on location.
OK, full disclosure: I am not actually writing inside the Verizon Wireless store. Instead, I am in my car in the Verizon Wireless parking lot, but not parked too closely to the door because I don’t want them to think that I’m crazy or, worse, plotting. Instead, I have a rather soulless view of the nearby Lowe’s.
Anyway, let’s back up.
On Saturday, I dropped my phone while attempting to put it in the fanny pack I wear when I walk the dogs (don’t judge).
I drop my phone on the floor by accident so often that I didn’t even think of it, just placed it in my pack (don’t judge) and Tilly, Fitz and I went on our merry way.
When I returned home, I saw that my phone was dead. So I plugged it in and tried to restart it.
That ingenious attempt didn’t work.
Long story short, my phone was irretrievably broken, and I needed a new one.
So, this morning I was off to the Verizon store. To be frank, I wasn’t in a good mood about any of this and already felt a little bit sorry for the customer service representative who was going to have to help me. I can tend to be a little snippy when I’m spending $800 that I really don’t want to spend, even if I’ve been given the option of paying it off in $33 increments over 24 months.
But as soon as I met my customer service representative Cooper, my bad mood lifted.
You know when you meet someone who you like immediately but immediately feel kind of sorry for as well? Not because they ask for sympathy, but just because you instinctively know they didn’t have the easiest time with the bullies in elementary, middle and high school?
Well, that was Cooper. After a little chit chat with him, I also immediately knew that Cooper is the kind of person who is the definition of an introvert but has somehow found himself working retail for a living.
Still, he was cheerfully plowing through his built-in bashfulness. We decided on my cheapest option and Cooper then asked me what color I wanted my phone to be.
“They have colors?”
“This one does.”
I decided on yellow and Cooper then told me that all of the high school girls in town had also chosen yellow, thinking they’d be different from their friends, and then they all realized they’d made the same decision so now no one got yellow anymore.
“That’s why we have it in stock. I haven’t sold one in months.”
He told me all of this in one breath, with amusement in his eyes.
“Well, OK,” I said, not knowing how else to respond. “Sign me up.”
“Yes, ma’am! I’ll go get one from the safe.”
I waited a little while, then reached in my purse to entertain myself with my phone and then realized that my phone was broken and that was the whole reason why I was there.
Finally, Cooper returned.
“Sorry that took me a year and a half,” he said, and looked tentatively up at me to see how his joke would be received.
I smiled and we started filling out forms online. Cooper typed on his computer, then moved to a tablet, then had me sign my signature on a debit machine.
“This job has really taught me how to multi-task,” he said. “Before, I wasn’t even much good at single-tasking.”
Again, that tentative look up and again my heart broke a little at how sweet he was.
He walked me through the terms of my contract, injecting punny jokes into his spiel along the way. He asked me my four-digit password and then asked if there were a meaning behind it. He said he always asks his customers that because his grandfather had used “1945” for game seven of the 1945 World Series when the Tigers beat the Cubs.
“He was from Detroit.”
It occurred to me then, and it occurs to me now as I sit in my car, how much someone can change your day just by being pleasant, just by offering you a piece of that happiness even if it makes them vulnerable. And that that kind of gift can make even the view of the Lowe’s parking lot kind of, well, beautiful.