(names changed to protect the guilty, except mine of course)
I had a cell phone plan with Longshot Wireless and I wanted to make a change. As I waited in cue on the phone, they told me how important my call was to them and I was greatly encouraged. They also kept me posted on the ETA for help. While I took this as kindness, it actually served to remind me of how far away help really was. I grew too impatient and resorted to other forms of help.
Longshot’s web page was fascinating. I bolted through the first help portal I could find and was promptly asked for account information. Since that was what I was looking for, I was nonplussed. I botched something in my response and the system was nonplussed. It looked like fourth down, so I punted.
Starting over with account information in hand, I made another run at getting help. After repeated admonitions that my account information didn’t jibe with theirs, they froze me out. That’s when I saw the button that said “Need Help?” Ah! Help with help, that’s what I need. Click.
That’s when I entered the zone, twilight zone I think it was. I was given a magic phone number, no cues, instant help to help with help. I called, and after punching in numbers for my account, my phone number, the number I was calling from, the last four digits of my congressman’s social security number, and the precise number of yards gained by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter of their next to last game with the Washington Redskins, I connected with Nadine.
Nadine was very helpful. She understood exactly what my problem was. I had messed up. In my first botched effort, I apparently set up another account portal with a username and password that was different from the one I originally set up. Both existed kind of like parallel universes. I was in one world. They were in another. Imagine that! Nadine understood this but she could not fix this. However, she knew the very person who could fix this and she would patch me through directly to him. She did. I was stunned. Help was so near I could taste it. Trevor answered the phone.
Trevor was very helpful too. He wasn’t sure why Nadine passed me along to him, but if I would give him the username and password for the other world account, he would see what he could do. I did my best to explain to Trevor that I didn’t even know I had created such a thing, but it was no use. I was tired and not communicating well at all. Trevor said that I should drive an hour or so to Longshot’s Hotshot Store. They could fix me right up. I agreed that this would be best and hung up, being thankful to find release from help.
Little did I know. The first emails I received wanted me to do a survey on the quality of my experience at the website. The next emails wanted to know if my problem that prompted my phone call had been resolved. I did the best I could to explain the situation in a few words, but you see how many words it has already taken to try and explain it to you. And I’m not through.
The more I tried to explain, the worse things became. It soon became apparent to me that every single worker at Longshot Wireless wanted to help me. That’s when the phone calls started. One lady called me three times and fussed me out for not calling her back so she could help me. I was starting to get scared. I was slow to check my email. When the phone rang, I jumped. Help had me cornered.
Slowly the frenzy subsided and I was just crawling out of my hole, when one last email arrived. It was from the Longshot Wireless Customer Issues Resolution Section. It was signed by a very important person in the Issues Section, Ethan. Ethan wrote one of the nicest emails I have ever received. He practically begged me to let him fix my situation. It was obvious that Ethan was eager to help.
I responded to Ethan. “Ethan! Ethan! Ethan! I appreciate your sincere desire to help. I do not doubt it. But you have no idea what you have just stepped into. I am chained in a black hole of help and there is no way out for me. But not you, Ethan, not you! Turn back, turn back, O son of man, for why will you perish?” A bit exaggerated, but not too far off. I did inform Ethan that the problem had a history and he really didn’t want to become involved. Anyway, I had given up. Chastened and sore, I promised to never change anything, ever again, if they would just leave me in my misery and promise not to help me. So I guess you could say they did help me, in a backhanded sort of way. They didn’t change my plan. They changed me. Longshot Wireless must have a high retention rate among customers. If anyone tries to change, they beat them down with help.
This story is only slightly exaggerated. Each piece of the story really happened. I didn’t have to give my congressman’s SS number and fortunately I had seen the game between Dallas and Washington. Just kidding. But I guess that most people have been victims of help at some time and in some measure. That’s what makes it so sweet when real help is found!
Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth.
What a wonderful Savior he is!