Photo Credit: © 2006 Lynne Holder

Friday, February 17, 2012

God Bless The Kind Among Us

One thing about being in a tough financial situation is the realization that, generally speaking, the world seems like a very cold, hard place to be.

Case in point, I called Fidelity Bank to inquire of an account manager about the possibility of a loan payment holiday. They had offered this a few times in the past and I thought they might again, if I asked.

You never know until you ask, right?

My answer was swift and heartless.

Unemployment is not a hardship, Mrs. Holder, according to our policies.

Oh really?

I explained to the account manager that if it wasn't, I didn't know what was. I thought, Terminal illness, maybe? She followed her statement on unemployment with the contractual obligation speech, basically saying only employed people should have car loans.

I explained to her that I DID have a job when I bought the car, but no matter, I ended the conversation by explaining to her that I would deal with the payment that month, but the next month there wouldn't be one, because the car would be sold.

Okay, was her response. I thanked her for her time, said goodbye, and walked away feeling about as low as road kill.

The world doesn't give a crap about hurting people. It just sucks.

I sold my car a couple weeks later and paid off the loan. It's funny how that felt. I was crushed and relieved all at the same time.

Practice Kindness
Now for a complete 180.

Waiting until the last possible moment, with fear and trembling of nearly Biblical proportions, I called Chase credit card services to explain that I could not make my payment by the due date (a first for me), but would have the money next week.

This time, I heard a sympathetic, very helpful person with a soft, non-judgmental voice on the other end of the conversation. She offered me options, with the reassurance that I'm not the only one going through a rough patch right now.

I chose the option to make the payment next week, understanding there would be a late fee assessed.

To hear someone in a financial institution say she hoped I didn't take what she was saying as hard or unsympathetic was, even in light of the situation, uplifting. She, like the character in the drawing, was trying to shield me from hurt.

Without a lot of effort, what a difference practicing a little kindness can have.

p.s. The car loan was paid off with a perfect record.  I received a credit card offer from Fidelity Bank in the mail today, which I immediately filed in the nearest bin. *smile*

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