A Memorable Experience at the Tax Office

Can you say oxymoron? Sure, I knew you could. I’ve had plenty of memorable experiences with government-run entities — 100% of which were negative. Let’s face it there’s little joy in these necessary workplaces. The “customers” who visit are more than likely to be in a lousy mood, their minds pre-occupied with 1000 things they’d rather be doing. The typical scenario –You get in a line that is moving at a snail’s pace, and you notice everyone has their worst “resting bitch face” on. There are uniformed agents all around, so it feels like you are in line for the cafeteria at San Quentin.

America’s Favorite Pastime!
1 Ticket to Paradise

Finally, you get to the entrance into the waiting area. You say to yourself, “At least now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The door agent refers you to another agent standing by a machine who orders you to enter some basic information, and the machine spits out your ticket to paradise. (right). Then you walk into a large room with hundreds of chairs (one touching the other) and you look for a friendly face to sit next to and there are none to be found.

Certainly, you’ve seen this movie before. It’s like the sequel to Friday the 13th.

No friendly faces here

So what made my visit memorable?

While I was in line, I couldn’t help but notice this smallish older woman behaving strangely. As people entered the dungeon, she was greeting them with a big smile and a heartfelt, “Good Morning!”. This was not some automaton. She was obviously kind, and full of energy. Sadly, the vast majority of the patrons, weren’t responding to her greeting. Some were but it was barely audible.

My visit that day didn’t last long. I was starting to think my ticket number R3673 meant that there were 3,673 people in front of me. Patience thin, I made like Wayne Gretsky and got the puck outta there.

Go figure, when I returned to the crowded lobby, I heard that lone sweet voice still greeting the latest victims with a cheery, “Good Morning”. I couldn’t resist. I had to go up to her and tell her what a wonderful job she was doing. She smiled and said thank you then whispered to me, “Unfortunately my supervisor is very disrespectful!” Apparently, he doesn’t approve of her being cheery and welcoming to people as they enter the building. I could comment on her supervisor, but it would violate the PG-13 rating of this blog! I just told her, the world needs more people like you, keep up the good work. I wanted to hug her; we fist bumped instead. She made my day! I hope I brightened hers.

As I walked to out of the building, I decided my experience with “Little Miss Sunshine” was “blogworthy”. I needed to complete my mission at the tax off office the next day and I was sure I’d run across her again. My goal was to finish my business and wanted to grab a quick selfie with her to include in this article.

I walked in craning my neck to see if she was in the lobby and as far as I could tell she was not. I quickly advanced into the less crowded torture chamber, took care of my business and walked back out into the lobby expecting to hear her pleasantly greeting people as they entered. Unfortunately, all I heard was the other guards barking orders — “This line for car dealers, this line for personal business” blah, blah, blah.

I began walking around to find her. It was obvious I was looking for something so one of the guards approached and asked me with a tone of suspicion, “What are you looking for?” I described my new friend as, “The one who says good morning to people when they enter the building. Is she here this morning?” His response was terse, “No, I have no idea where she is; they probably assigned her to another building or something”. Fortunately, I was able to muster up enough self-control to refrain from kicking him in the shins!

There’s always another side to the story…

Maybe my little lady never shows up on time or she or she’s a constant complainer, or she had done something more egregious. All I know, in the cold, sullen atmosphere of the tax office, she was doing her best to brighten someone’s day…and I respect that.

About Culturedude

President of The Jeff and Bryce Fan Club, head cheerleader for my wife, Susan, lucky devoted brother of Beth and Barbara, perennial pal of the Bunko Squad, passionate customer service advocate, forever loyal fan of the Yankees, Packers, Buckeyes and Wildcats. favorite pastimes: writing, public speaking, golf, cartooning, reading, playing and blogging!
This entry was posted in change, culture, Customer Service, employee engagement, perceptions, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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