I needed to call one of my older customers the other day, just to introduce myself and make sure she knew I was there to help, but I was a bit leery since she's 93. I don't like calling the ones over 90, because it feels like I confuse them or worse, worry them. Knowing though that I should suck it up and do it anyway, I called. The woman that answered the phone sounded like she was 114.
"Hello," in the tiniest, shakiest little old lady voice.
"Hello, this is Heather Sullivan calling from XYZ. May I please speak to Mrs. Customer."
"Oh ... she's not here right now."
And then I stumbled a moment before I continued, because I wanted to say "really? Aren't you Mrs. Customer, the 93 year old living at this number." But I went along with the charade and left a message ... maybe that was her way to screen her calls. Two days later, a woman came in and asked to speak to me. She said I had called and spoken to her mother which reminded her to come in anyway. When she mentioned her mother's name (a very distinctive little old lady name), I remembered my call and asked if I could tell her my amusing story. She laughed and told me that she was sitting right there when I called, but her mom tells everyone other than family and friends she's not home.
Remember the woman from a couple posts ago who told me about slapping her child over losing her mittens? She came in again with a daughter to get some additional help. When she introduced her to me, I asked if this was the daughter she had spoken about to me. She said yes and paused, so I lightly touched her arm, turned towards her daughter and said that her mother had spoken lovingly of her to me - trying to save her the pain of having to discuss it again. My customer smiled and said that although she did indeed love her daughter very much, she had actually recounted her greatest regret to me - slapping her child over something so insignificant. Then her daughter said that it had all happened a long time ago, and it was best to focus on positive things. It was lovely to see her try and soothe her mother that way, but as a parent, I know she's never going to stop thinking about that moment.