Summer is busy. It is the season for driving instruction. No school to shove the lesson times into the afternoon. No "emergency football practice" causing kids to cancel at the last minute.
Aside: What is "emergency football practice" anyway? Did they change the shape of the ball?
Work is fast paced. The flow must go on. No time to waste. It is all to easy to get lost in the busy and become blind to the human story behind the people you serve. The human story is always there. It resides right behind the eyes of the person across from you. It is that incident, that motivator, or that current event that brings the person to your doorstep.
A couple of Saturdays ago, I was catching up on work. Saturday is a busy lesson day but a slow office day and I was working the office. Customers came by at a leisurely pace and over the course of the day, I was able to tread into the human story and remember why I work in this field.
image sourced from ora.ucr.edu
Take Aaron: He tried to get his license in California. He made an appointment 2 months out and waited patiently for his day at the DMV. Finally his appointment day arrived and the DMV canceled his test. He had to move without a license. Arriving in his new state of residence, he found that we offer 3rd party tests. Instead of making an appointment with the DMV, he walked in to find that we are not allowed to test adults on out of state permits. He got a new permit and came in to test, but he was so anxious, he made some significant errors. That day he was back to retest. He did exceedingly well, but he still had wait until the following Monday to turn in the paperwork and get a license. After I went over his test and told him he passed, I said to him, "You know what feels worse than failing a driving test? Failing two driving tests. I am glad you don't have to go through that."
Later, I met Aleksandra. She had lost her license in a situation unrelated to driving. At court, no one told her that her license would be revoked. No one told her a lot about the process of getting her license back. Some people actually told her wrong information. After a year, she was finally eligible to test. Considering the misinformation or utter absence of information, she thinks she will write her state senator and representative about the law and the process she experienced in the court system.
Toward the end of the day, Lisa came by. Lisa is the reason I am writing this post. See, when she walked in, Lisa was just another drive test. As I prepared her test forms, Lisa told me that she had spent a long time on her permit. Her dad was teaching her, until he passed away. Now her mom is ill and Lisa wants to get her license so she may better care for her mother. Lisa isn't just a drive test. Lisa is a human being--with a human story. She came to the office that day by the grace of God. She was his tool to remind me of the important things in life. I am glad I got to meet her, talk with her, and share some advice on safe driving--a little piece of my human story.
Oh, and she passed her test.