Jacki Murphy

Half-Heartedly Trying to be Famous on the Internet Since 1999

An Open Letter to the Woman Who Sent Me a Flower

An Anonymous Flower

"You did not deserve to be yelled at by that horrible woman. Please know that there are those of us who appreciate everything you do!"

I came in to work for my evening shift at 7:00pm. I had actually had to give myself a pep talk on my way to the Internet Café - it had been that kind of day. Come to think of it - it had been that kind of week. I was nervous, and upset, and on the edge of some kind of breakdown. People are frequently angry about our Internet systems - it's too expensive/slow/whatever - but recently people had been upset with me. Don't cry tonight, I told myself, determined not to let horrible people further ruin my day.

Customer service is hard. Armed with their misinterpretation of the old adage that the "customer is always right", they are demanding at their best. At their worst they can be rude, vindictive, and downright abusive. And for a timid, overly sensitive person - those rude and insulting people can cut you right to your core. On one hand, you know they are just taking out their frustrations on an innocent person. It isn't really you that they are upset with, even if their words imply that. But, on the other hand, when you hear enough slander and vitriol flung in your direction, you start to believe it. You internalize their hate. You leave work at the end of your shift honestly believing that you are rude, lazy, incompetent.

I sat down at my desk at 7:00pm tonight dreading my shift. What other ways could passengers find to reduce a fully grown adult to tears? What was going so badly on their vacation that they felt the need to take it out on the girl manning the Internet Café?

After a moment or two, our onboard florist walked in. I assumed he was having some sort of issue with his Internet account - but instead he handed me a flower. A single beautiful pink rose, sent to me by a passenger. A kind and generous stranger had witnessed my being yelled earlier in the day, and felt strongly enough about it to buy me a flower. To apologize on the behalf of someone she did not even know, and tell me that my work is appreciated.

It is the kindest gesture anyone has ever bestowed upon me here.

To my anonymous flower-gifting friend: thank you. Thank you for your kindness and for taking the time for this small gesture of appreciation. You turned a horrible day in which I was doubting my capability to do my job into an evening of gratitude and thankfulness and appreciation. I am reminded that although most guests will not outwardly show it, my work here is not taken for granted. I matter. I am good at my job, and I matter.

Thank you, friend. Thank you for reminding a girl on the verge of a customer service-induced nervous breakdown that she is kind, and hardworking, and good at her job.

I wish you the very merriest of Christmases and a joyous New Year.

Tags: ship life . customer service
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