Wednesday, July 13, 2022


"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."  (Micah 6:8)

The title of this piece, "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished"  is something that's frequently proclaimed by radio talk show host Howie Carr.  I'm not sure if Howie originated that saying. but when I was trying to think of a title this seemed like the perfect fit.

Some days at my customer service call center job I receive a few memorable calls.  Today there were a couple of them.  One woman called late in the morning.  She matter-of-factly told me of some items she'd found that had obviously been lost by one of our customers.  Whoever had lost the items could be quite anxious to get them back.  But the office she'd reached was not the correct place to handle this matter.  I knew of an office which would be much more appropriate.  I was certain that office could help her.  I launched into a twenty second blurb, announcing exactly that to the caller.  The end of my blurb would be me saying something such as,

"I can transfer you right over to that department if you'd like!"

I never got that far!  I never got beyond ten seconds before the caller began angrily demanding:  "MOVE IT ALONG, BOB; MOVE IT ALONG!"

I was stunned. 

I admit I started trying to talk over her.  I was trying to finish my twenty second presentation.  Again, and sounding even angrier, she demanded, "MOVE IT ALONG!"

Next she protested, "I'm trying to do a good deed!  I don't need to be needlessly delayed by you!"

Nervously,  I asked if she would like me to transfer the call. 


I could just feel her disgust and hatred toward me.  I struggled to sound pleasant and nice.  I'm not supposed to say something like this on my job, but I told her,

"I will transfer the call but you don't need to speak to me as if I were a piece of furniture."

In a split second, she was gone.  

If I could have done so, I would have signed myself off the telephone and computer and just gone for a ride for an hour - or more.

There's SO much I'd love to say to that caller. In Luke 14:28, Jesus gives a teaching about Counting the Cost.  The late Billy Graham preached quite a bit about Counting the Cost.  And listen - that doesn't only apply to the whole message about committing your life to Christ.  It applies to EVERYTHING.  That woman wanted to do a good deed ON HER TERMS.  She did not want to be inconvenienced!  If I were pastoring or counseling someone like that, I'd take them to the tenth chapter of Luke.  There we find the story of The Good Samaritan.  If you take a close look at that story,  The Good Samaritan didn't just sacrifice a half hour of his day.  Rather, in many respects he "killed the whole day" as it were.  He voluntarily Counted the Cost.  He was inconvenienced and he sacrificed much.  But as you read the story it doesn't seem as though this bothered him at all!  Quite a far cry from, "MOVE IT ALONG,  BOB!" - isn't it?

I can't do this piece justice without mentioning a call that came in about an hour before the one I just wrote about.  That call was from a woman who suffers somewhat frequent Grand Mal seizures.  One time recently while she was seizing, a person robbed her of her identification cards, credit cards, and so forth.  She was trying to replace the missing items.  She was dumbfounded about how a person could take advantage of her while she was experiencing a seizure.  She explained that she was raised in Judaism.

"I was raised in the Jewish way."  she said.  "I was taught to be kind, and to do good."

"It sounds to me like you were raised to practice Micah 6:8," I told her.

Micah 6:8 says, "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee,  but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."

Yes, that's what I opened with and I'll close with it.  Of course, if I were Howie Carr I'd probably add, "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished"!

1 comment:

Elaine S said...

Bob, You have to develop a thick skin to be able to deal with the public. I don't envy your job.

It seems that many people feel they have license to be rude on a call with a faceless employee.

What's important is not to take it personally.