In the era of review Labelling has never been easier.
We expect people to behave in a certain way and when they don’t deliver we roll out the Labelling.
Social Media is hungry for labels.
I remember one school holiday the queue was backing all the way out to the foyer. We had both tills open and we were being hammered. We had one on coffee, one running food and two on the tills. The rain was pouring down and you could sense the restlessness of kids and parents. It was school holidays and none of us want to be in a queue let alone during school holidays.
Then came the news a little child of around 3 was wandering around in the car park unattended.
I remember excusing myself from the til to go and attend to the child. I quietly gave an explanation to the next person in the queue that there was a toddler unattended in the car park and I would need some time to sort this situation out and I was sorry for the delay. I was stunned by the reaction, “That child is not your responsibility. We have been waiting in this queue for ages and we deserve to be served.”
That parent followed up the outburst with a letter of complaint around service and that our responsibility was to the customer and not to someones irresponsible care of their child.
She labelled Tailrace with the label bad service. She labelled the mum with the label of irresponsible. We could have found some choice labels for the mum in the queue. Words were on the tip of our tongue. Review the mum in the queue, give her feedback, blast the pages of social media.
We label when we are distanced from the heart and soul of another.
For us the heart of the little is dear to our heart.
We found the wandering 3 year old and the story behind the littles wander.
The child had been placed in the care of siblings who had entered Kids Paradise and in the crowd they had all got separated and each presumed that the other had the 3 year old.
The mum had wanted a safe place for the kids to be in as she was facing a storm in her own heart. She simply couldn’t cope with that storm and the kids at the same time. In her anxiety, fatigue, tension and stress she had simply done the best she could. She didn’t have a lot of support systems. She had thought of a safe place. She thought that they would have been safe going from the car park to the playground. She wasn’t a bad mum. She was a woman, a sister, a mother, a friend coping alone with a storm of life and her heart and mind was caught in a whirlwind.
The story made sense.
Did we provide bad service?
To the woman next in line and probably to the countless of others who didn’t understand why we were suddenly short staffed we provided poor service.
But in our heart of hearts we felt we provided great customer service because there was a greater customer service call that day than the queue.
The call of service to the little was more important to our heart than the queue.
The call to love one another.
The call to be compassionate and understanding.
The call to be humanity to each other.
The call to not shame the mother.
Labels they’re easy to apply when we don’t know the story.
I’ve learned there is always a story behind every label and behind every label stands a human soul simply wanting to be understood and loved.
It is easy to review and label.
It is harder to seek first to understand!
To Listen to the story!
And to LOVE!