I’ve mentioned in a previous column that I am the collections manager for a very large corporation and there was an “art to collecting,” which I take great pride in. By now you should know that I am also the quintessential people person.
I love getting to know our clients and finding out more about them. It’s a nice way to add a little more flavor to the otherwise perfunctory day-to-day tasks that a job dictates.
Recently, I reached out to a client, and she was going to discuss with the owner when the next payment draw was processing. They had to finalize some issues and I let her know to please just keep me posted.
She remarked how nice and kind I was, and I emailed her that my title is really the collections manager and I explained that in my signature line I had changed my title to client account manager, because often when my clients saw the word “collections” they would get a bit startled.
I asked her if she would mind if I sent her my article I had written about my job, and she was delighted to have me do so.
Later that afternoon, she emailed me that she and her boss had both read it and were moved to tears. Her email was quite possibly one of the best emails I had ever received, and she told me to keep being me, because I made a difference.
A couple of weeks later I received an update that the final billings for this project were in the process of being reviewed. I made sure that the right person in my department also knew this so she could get that information to our client.
In that email, the owner’s cell phone number was included, and it said, if need be, to reach out to him if there were any questions.
So, I called him, and we started talking. I let him know that I was the one who had sent the article to them. He said he knew that.
Somehow, I felt such a connection to him. He spoke so eloquently, and his voice was very kind. He shared something with me, and I heard his voice soften if not cracking.
I listened as he told me his oldest son had passed away two years ago. That his son had been struggling with depression and anxiety so at the tender age of 33 he ended his life.
My eyes welled up with tears after I heard that.
I told him how sorry I was, and I asked if he was able to see any signs from his son letting him know that he was OK. I mentioned that when my mom had died at the age of 65, for about a year after her passing, I felt guilty if I laughed at anything, almost like the mourning needed to take precedence over everything else in my life.
I let him know that the second night after her passing I had been watching the news on television and as the station went to break, the commentator said, “If you like trains, then stay tuned.”
I looked up and, on the screen, it said: Next, Choo- Choo Heaven.
I told him that my mom’s nickname was Choo-Choo and all the grandchildren called her that. I said how comforting it was to see that on the screen.
I mentioned that my mom was witty and one time while I was waiting for the light to change, I looked out to the horizon and sky and asked my mom if she was having fun in Heaven. And that I then looked at the car’s license plate in front of me and the frame said, “I’d rather be in Vegas.”
And then I told him that the last trip my mom and I were on together was at a swim meet in Las Vegas about two months prior to her death.
I could hear him say “wow” on the other side of the phone. I asked him if he wrote the things down that he felt were signs from his son and he said that he did. We continued talking and he shared with me some very significate stories about his life.
He told me that, regardless, we are all in business and working, that we all have some difficulties that aren’t always known about by the people we work with.
I was touched that he was sharing his life with me. He told me that his birthday was coming up, and he was turning 65. I said, “What day?”
He said, “Dec. 19.”
I then told him that was my birthday too. I then said it was a God-Wink that we shared the same birthday and that we had been able to take the time to talk and get to know each other.
We continued sharing some of our “spiritual journeys” and he thanked me for my grace, and we ended our call.
To say I was in awe of being able to speak with this true gentleman would be an understatement. In fact, after I hung up, I emailed his office manager and told her I think I just spoke to one of the kindest and sincerest men I’ve ever had the pleasure to speak with.
I told her she was blessed to work with such a person. And, I then wrote, “I am blessed to know you both.”
Later that day, I sent him my article “Keepsakes of Spirituality” so he could get an even better idea of my spiritual journey and for him to know that the beauty of this thing called life is the sharing of our experiences.
Who knows why we were able to have such a nice conversation that day, but I know one thing: When you get that opportunity it is quite special, and while I know that it is my job to collect, I also sometimes take the two L’s out and add two N’s and “coNNect.”
Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.