The other day I had to stop by the dreaded DMV to get a new tag for our vehicle. The lady behind the counter couldn’t have looked more bored if she tried, but I tried to put on my happy face. This place was not going to destroy my soul for the short duration of my stay.
A man in front of me in line was trying to pay his taxes, and the lady kept telling him he owed a specific amount. He told her the car had not been used in several months, and she said, “Well, if you can tell me the exact date then I can put that in.”
He seemed lost for a moment. He did not have any way of guessing the accurate date without a calendar, and she was not about to offer any information, so I pulled out my phone.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
“If it was the first Monday in September, that was the 4th.”
The man turned and looked at me with such relief, and I just turned back to my phone, somewhat embarrassed. I was mentally willing the transaction to finish at light speed. He turned back to the counter, and the lady said, “Well, you still have to tell me the date.”
The guy replied that what I had said sounded correct, though he didn’t have any way of verifying the date without a calendar.
She raised her voice and repeated, “I don’t care, you still have to tell me the date!”
He looked a little annoyed by the attitude, but he repeated the date and she went back to typing on her computer. A few moments later she handed him the form to sign and said, “You only saved $12 by going through all that trouble.”
He smiled and said, “Oh, but $12 is 12, and that’s worth something to me.”
She just shook her head, handed him the receipt, and looked to the next person in line. She’d already forgotten he existed.
I ended up using a different teller who was much more pleasant, and I offered her a loud and hearty “thank you” for her assistance when it was time to go. She was going to need the positive vibes if she was to be stationed next to the Grinch as long as she worked there.
A lesson for us all
This time of year is tough on many people as they are trying to make ends meet while still bringing some measure of joy to family and friends for the holidays. Some people can’t be home to celebrate (we’re praying for your safe return from Afghanistan, George!).
When you’re out and about and someone is serving you, offer them a smile and a measure of gratitude. It might not change their life, but it could make their day.