Two weeks ago, a very dear friend of mine was in a car accident. As a result, he was required to visit the one place where all of us feel especially vulnerable: the doctor’s office. I offered to accompany my friend to his appointments and was right there with him, watching the ways in which nurses, doctors and staff interacted with him and other patients.
This turned out to be a life-changing experience for me.
Throughout the day, I witnessed some of the most caring individuals I had ever met tend to my friend and others. They were kind, compassionate and truly committed to helping to create an environment that was comfortable for all patients and guests. Then there was the outlier.
We will call her the scary witch lady from hell.
While I can sit here and speculate as to why she threw salt on all of her words and interactions, the bottom line is that this woman was just pissed off at the world. Now, I have been around long enough to know the best ammo in this kind of situation is to shower (read: kill) with kindness. I smiled and did my best to warm the atmosphere but she was not having it. I could deal with her nasty attitude but my friend and other patients should not have to, especially when sick. Finally, I broke down and asked her “Lady, what the (fill in the blank) is your problem?”
To my surprise, she almost broke down crying and ran out of the room.
I don’t know if I should feel angry or sorry for her. In retrospect, it is clear that she was having a very bad day. That said, I don’t believe she had a right to ruin the days of those around her.
Obviously, most of us are in the event business and not in hospitals but I still am very curious to hear from all of you. How do you deal with rude people and poor customer service? Do you feel that we all need to learn to leave our problems at home? Is that even possible?
(Photo Courtesy of Hawaii Dermatology)