“Mrs. Danley, your bill for the month is three hundred twenty three dollars,” the softly-speaking woman said to me. I was ready to pay but first I asked her about an unfamiliar charge. She told me it was an AARP annual fee and that it probably belonged to my mother.
I think I’ve already told you this, but I’ll tell you again: Mama died on June 10 of this year. The death is fresh so I’m still caught off guard when some final bill pops up or I receive a piece of mail bearing her name.
Anyway: the Capital One Lady tells me to hold on while she puts a representative from AARP on the line so I can cancel Mama’s membership. I, of course, start to cry because mother’s dead and now I’m doing sad things that feel like watching her die all over again. Putting the nail in the coffin, as they say.
So Capital One Lady goes quiet as I talk with AARP Lady: “Um, yes, I need to (sniff, sniff) cancel my mother’s membership because she is (tears clogging words) um, not alive anymore. “
“M’am I am sorry to hear that. We will put that cancellation into effect immediately.”
“Thank (snot-choked) you.”
Capital One Lady, after taking it all in: “Mrs. Danley. I am so sorry you have lost your mother. I can hear your voice trembling when you speak of her. I want you to know that I lost my mother, too and it still hurts very much. As a matter of fact, I still keep her picture in the front of my wallet. You will never stop missing your mother.”
And I am crying harder but now the tears are lighter, sweeter. Capital One Lady has taken the time to show me that she heard my pain and that she cares. She really cares.
The kindness of strangers and all that lovely stuff. The beauty of reaching out and through the professional curtain and putting your arms around a customer. The loveliness of stopping to say I see you, I feel you and for this moment, I love you.
She still asked for my payment (Capital One doesn’t offer a grief waiver) and she still informed me that I had a huge balance, but she did so much more than her job required.
“Mrs. Danley, you have a beautiful day and you take care of yourself, ok?”
“Ok. You too. Thank you miss. I am sorry for your, loss too.”