Its now past Veterans Day, and many folks will move on to the next holidays..Thanksgiving, then Christmas, or one of the others. So with all the “stuff” happening we all move on pretty quick to the next thing..
I wasn’t sure I had enough strength to write this, but partly based on the shame I felt and perhaps the incredible sense of gratitude to the men in uniform I felt, I must.
Two days ago, later in the evening, with my thoughts turning towards leaving the office, I received one of the last orders of the day. I sell security cameras. To me it is cut and dry how they work, and like many folks who are “experts” in their field, I tend to be a little impatient when asked the same question repeatedly about the use of the tools I sell. Wednesday was no exception, when dealing with a late order, and dinner on my mind.
A man called and asked as most do, about camera capabilities, and gave me a little idea of what was going on with his situation. Kids were vandalizing the home he and his father were building. He wanted some equipment to watch it, didn’t have a lot of money for that purpose, but felt it would be better than the losses he was experiencing. OK So far, nothing out of the ordinary… except. I had to repeat myself… Often.
I should note this is a point in my career where I am reassessing my people skills and trying to assign some of the sales to the others in the office… If only for a little peace of mind. I was it however, and no one else was available so I did my best to deal with this person who seemed.. quite “slow” And while I was hardly OUTWARDLY short tempered, I felt it brewing. I took notes, and pulled together a system I felt would suit his needs.
Then I was thrown the curve.
While processing his credit card information, he briefly mentioned his head injury. My heart began to sink. I asked him how he got it, but I already knew before he told me, that it was in Iraq. A Little more of his story revealed he was not just impaired, but that he was a practicing physician prior to his deployment and injury. I felt for him, I then thanked him for his service, I gave him extra stuff, and a discount. Heck, I even wound up losing money on the sale. But strangely I didn’t feel any better.
And while this could be filed under “you had to be there,” it most certainly must happen more often, and to more people than I would care to imagine. It has been a little weight on me for a couple of days.
This soldier, who’s only current complaint was that he had some neighbor kids wrecking what he and his dad are building so he can reclaim his life, has had more taken from him than many of us have ever TRIED to HAVE. And in the process of trying to help another friend of mine who is also a Veteran, the reality of it came to me, and hard. I broke down, and I wept.
I am still with tear filled eyes.. it has been hours.
I know we cannot always give back to our veterans, our heroes, what they have given up for our ideals, and the freedom we enjoy, but I maintain that the LEAST we can do is to appreciate their sacrifices, and help them when they truly need it. I Promise.. I will.