Looking For Customer Service

What ever happened to the days when people went to work, and did the job they were paid to do regardless if it is your dream job, or a job you are doing until you find your dream job? What happened to showing up to work everyday and providing the best customer service you can provide, because you signed on to give your best when you took the job you have now?

If you follow my blog, you know my husband, Bill, and I, have a daughter, Shantel, that is totally blind, but she has never let that get in the way of her living her life to the best of her ability each and everyday. She has a job in a call center, that just so happens to be in the customer service field, and she shows up everyday anxious to do her best to provide the best service she can for each and every call she takes.

The past two weeks Shantel has been working a lot of overtime, because the main call center for the company she works for is located back east, and they have been hit with extreme cold weather, that caused a lot of folks to not be able to make it into their jobs. So, all the east coast calls were rerouted to the Phoenix based call center where Shantel works. This caused Shantel to have to work ten-hour days, then deal with the two-hour Dial-a-Ride ride service two and from work. Dial-a-Ride is another whole nightmare story, in regards to customer service, but that will have to wait for another blog posting.

When I talked to Shantel today, she told me that last night she decided to treat herself when she finally got home from work, and use Uber Eats, to order her food and have it delivered to her.  I Googled Uber Eats and found the following information. “Uber Eats is a food delivery platform that makes getting great food from your favorite local restaurants as easy as requesting a ride. Uber Eats is the easy way to get the food you love delivered” Shantel has used Uber Eats several times in the past with no problems. So, because she was tired, and just wanted to order her food, eat, take a shower, and go to bed so she could get up and do her job well again the next day, she called Uber Eats and placed her order. She told me she always tells them she is visually impaired, and needs to have her order delivered to her door. In the past, this has never been a problem. However, last night, the driver called her when she was in the parking lot of Shantel’s apartment complex, and told her she didn’t want to walk to Shantel’s door with the food because it was too dark… She told Shantel she would leave her food order in the parking lot and left!! There is no way Shantel could have ever found her food order in the parking lot, and there is no way she should ever have to do that. Shantel called and made a complaint to the Uber Eats customer service line but they just told her “they will look into it”. I am beyond appalled at the lack of not only customer service by Uber Eats, but also the lack of common decency, for our fellow human beings ,by the Uber Eats delivery driver that told Shantel she would leave her food order in the parking lot and left, even though she knew Shantel is blind. If that woman was afraid to deliver the food order to Shantel’s door in the dark, perhaps she shouldn’t be working for a delivery service at night!

Shantel has also used Grubhub, which is another food deliver service, and found them to have excellent door delivery service. However, Grubhub doesn’t deliver from some of Shantel’s favorite restaurants.

Of course as her mother, I’m always upset when I hear about some of the obstacles Shantel has to deal with in her daily life. I know we all face obstacles in our lives, but sometimes I just think Shantel gets her share, and then some… However, being the beautiful, old soul ,that she is, Shantel never lets any of it get her down. She just keeps on going ,and makes the very best of what she has to work with… I asked her what she did for dinner last night since it was late, and her food order (that was already paid for) was left somewhere in the parking lot, and it was too late to start cooking dinner…? She laughed, and said “lucky for me, I found a can of soup in the cupboard”.

That’s our girl! We love you Shantel.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

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Unmarked

I’m not one to visit gravesites of the deceased. I don’t believe they are there in the grave so I see no reason to visit the gravesite. When my father died in 2006, I took my mother to visit his grave, and she would always take flowers to place on the grave. When my mother died, in 2016, and the graveside service was over, I never went back to visit her gravesite again. Again, I don’t believe she is there so what is the purpose of visiting the gravesite…? However, for the past few months, I’ve had a nagging feeling urging me to go and visit my mother’s gravesite. I shared my feeling with my husband, Bill, but again I reminded him that I don’t believe in visiting the gravesites of the deceased because they are not there…  But today, Bill, suggested we take a ride to the cemetery to visit my mother’s grave. I agreed, and off we went.

Before my parents died, they made arrangements for all their cemetery needs, from the gravesite to the grave markers, and everything was pre-paid in full. When my father died there was no problem getting his grave marker installed in a timely manner. His name and proper dates were all correctly installed on his grave marker, and there was a blank space at the bottom of his grave marker where my mother’s name and dates were to be installed…

 

When my mother died on 3/10/2016, and we met with the folks at the cemetery office, they assured us that everything was in order, and pre-paid, for my mother’s information to be installed in her space of the grave marker she would share with my father. They were both buried in the same grave as a double-decker type of grave…

Well, imagine my surprise when we arrived at the gravesite of my parents, and my mother’s information was not on the grave marker, three years after she has been dead!

 

You can see the holes in the stone where the information marker is to be placed, but no marker is there. So off we go to the office to find out what happened. Why was my mother’s information not on her gravesite stone?

After talking to the “family service counselor” on duty and explaining that my mother has been dead almost three years, and there is still no name or dates on her gravesite stone, and that all of that was pre-paid and was supposed to have been taken care of within weeks after she died… we were asked to wait in a room while the “family service counselor” went to speak with her manager. A short while later the manager came into the room and tried to tell me that the gravesite marker had never been ordered and had not been paid for. By now I’m doing all I can to try to keep some zen in my voice as I explain to him that everything had been pre-paid, and I was witness to when my parents paid for everything. I told him I could go home and get my papers (I never thought I would need to take them with me today because I never thought in my wildest dreams that her gravesite marker wouldn’t have been installed). I described the man that we met with, and the manager told us that man was no longer employed there, and there was a reason why he was no longer employed there. I continued to insist that the gravesite marker for my mother had been paid for, and at that point the manager said he was going to go back and reread the original contract and excused himself from the room. When he came back, he looked at me and asked if I’m a patient person? I mustered up a smile and said yes, but I wanted to scream I can be, but your making it very difficult!!! Then the manager said he found in the original contract where everything was pre-paid and it was their mistake and he just couldn’t be more sorry…

The manager showed us on the paperwork where the person (that was no longer working at the cemetery office) wrote on the paperwork when we met with him the day after my mother died which was 3/11/2016, “pre-paid final date (shown in the middle of the next photo. The manager said perhaps he was waiting for the final date to put on the gravesite marker.. Well I might not be the sharpest tool in the toolbox, but I know that the final date would be the date of death which for my mother was 3/10/2016, which is also listed on the paperwork. So instead of anyone picking up the phone to call and clarify, they just did nothing, and so my mother’s gravesite has gone unmarked for three years and counting… Had Bill and I not gone to visit the gravesite today, her gravesite might have stayed unmarked forever!

After a lame attempt to try to explain what might have happened, the manager looked at me, and most likely saw I was not buying any of it so he finally said “there is no excuse, this is entirely our fault, and we are going to order the gravesite marker with your mother’s information today. We will email you the proof for you to approve, and we will install it as soon as it comes back to us. He even offered to give us a memorial inscription free. I told him I wasn’t looking for anything free, I just wanted them to make her gravesite marker as we agreed upon in the first place which was to have her name, date of birth, date of death, and a cross to match my father’s marker.

So now we wait… it can take a couple of weeks to get the proof to approve, then 8-10 weeks to get the gravesite marker back and installed on her grave. That will put Bill and I into our time to leave Arizona, and make our way to South Dakota. So, because I have been reminded yet again that we have to follow-up on everything, and leave nothing to chance ,and hope good, quality, customer service will prevail… I asked them to take a picture of the gravesite marker when it is installed on my mother’s grave, and email it to me so I know it actually got properly installed this time.

When we left the cemetery, it was lunch time so we went to one of our favorite places, to get great, fast, food, Pei Wei. The next photo shows what my fortune cookie said…

 

I guess we will just have to wait and see…

Stay Tuned!

Enchanted Circle, Again

We loved driving through the Enchanted Circle, in New Mexico, so much so, we decided to do it again. But this time, we started from Taos instead of Questa. The scenery is so beautiful, I could never get tired of looking at it.

Well, not far into our trip, we had an “adventure” in the form of a flat tire. However, as Bill/papa was changing the flat tire, a very nice, older gentleman, stopped just to see if he could be of any help. Then, he gave us a great suggestion of where to go in Taos to buy some new tires. So off we went to get new tires, and while we waited, we walked next door and had lunch. Then, within 45 minutes, we were on our way again, to finish our Enchanted Circle drive.

The first time we came through here (going the other way), I hadn’t noticed this house that is set up to look like a big covered wagon. I thought that was very cool looking.

I love little country stores, so of course we had to stop in and check out this country store, located just outside of Angle Fire.

And, oh look, they happen to need camphosts! If we were looking for a hosting position for the summer, this could have been our home. The little store had all kinds of Native American sculptures and jewelry, and they even have a small restaurant adjacent to the store. I’m glad they are looking for help, because the lack of service we saw when we were there left a lot to be desired. No one greeted us when we entered the small store, but there was a woman on the phone (on a personal call) in the back of the store and she just kept talking even while ringing up our purchase. Another woman came from the opening to the adjacent restaurant, and asked if we needed help just as we were leaving, but no one said good-bye, thank-you, or come back again… I would for sure give better customer service than that. Ha!  I would even be happy to cook up, and sell, all kinds of homemade goodness in that little restaurant for the folks. Jambalaya, anyone?

The little RV Park, located right next to the country store, was nice and clean, and didn’t look like it would take too much to keep it up. We didn’t inquire about the positions, but it looked like a nice little gig to me, depending on the hours, and days, they would want you to work…

As we continued on our way, we saw two deer on the side of the road. We slowed down, and one of them turned and dashed across the road right in front of us, allowing me to snap two quick pictures.

 

The last time we came through this area, we saw the Big Horn Sheep right here. I just love the landscape in this particular area. I find it just so, so, beautiful.

Another fun-filled day on our summer celebration tour.

Stay Tuned!

 

Dial-A-Ride, Or Dial-A Problem

As many of you already know, our daughter, Shantel, is totally blind. She recently was hired at a large company, that can accommodate her computer needs, and she is currently in training for a new position that will allow her to take “live calls” regarding declined purchases and/or reporting fraud… She loves her job and looks forward to getting to work everyday.

Because Shantel is blind, and cannot drive, Bill and I help her out by paying $65.00 a month to Dial-a-Ride that is supposed to allow unlimited trips for her to travel to and from any destination throughout the Valley for $4.00 each way…

However that is not always the case. And what happened this past week, is but one example of what continues to happen over and over again. And, I’m sure this type of thing is not only happening to our daughter, but to many other people that depend on Dail-a-Ride throughout the Valley. In fact, I know for a fact, that the other two blind co-workers that Shantel works with report the same type of poor service from Dial-a-Ride.

Here is what happened to Shantel just today: She scheduled a 4:30 a.m. pick-up that would allow her to get to work at 6:00 a.m. (allowing for all the other folks that have to be picked-up and delivered along the route) but, keep in mind, that when you schedule your ride in advance, you are supposed to be guaranteed delivery to your destination “on time”. But, today, Shantel didn’t get to work until 6:25 when she is supposed to start at 6:00 a.m.

Of course Shantel was upset that she was late for work, due to circumstances beyond her control, and of course she called Dial-a-Ride the first chance she could to make a complaint. She explained the situation to the person taking her call, letting them know that the person that scheduled this ride should have to be put into the same position to lose their job as she is put into when they cause her to be late.

Shantel went on to tell the person taking her complaint that on the return trip home, her pick-up time was supposed to be 3:00 p.m. but Dial-a-Ride notified her that they couldn’t get there until 4:45 -5:00 p.m. So Shantel decided to take Lift ride service home (costing her $30.00). She had already been riding Dial-a-Ride since 4:30 a.m. and just wanted to get home at this point… I don’t blame her.

However, when she made her complaint, she was told the ride service was over 25 miles from her home  (which we have never been made aware of that making any difference ..) and “Rules are rules”,… and that perhaps she should move closer to work… then they hung up on her!!

Yes, this job is more than 25 miles from Shantel’s home, but that should not make any difference when we are paying a monthly fee to make sure she can get to and from her destinations on time… This is but one example of how our daughter, who is not the only person out there that could just sit home and collect Social Security Disability payments and food stamps every month and not work…, but wants to work, and earn her own way in life… but is met with more obstacles than you and I could ever imagine dealing with each and every day just to get to work..

There has to be a better way for people with disabilities that want to work to be able get to and from work safely, and  on time. Shantel can’t take a bus or light rail because that requires her being able to cross a street by herself, and because she lost hearing in both ears due to the chemo she received while being treated for the cancer that took her sight, she wears hearing aids in both ears so she is not able to pick up on the traffic surge when the light changes to cross an intersection safely, and now with the electric cars, she can not pick up on them at all.

Shantel, Papa and I continue be amazed at how hard you work to get to work… We love you and are so very proud of you, and we continue to pray that things get better for you and all people with disabilities that just want to work… Never give up on your dreams baby girl.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking For Common Sense

Anyone that knows me, or follows my blog, knows my husband, Bill, and I legally adopted our first granddaughter, Shantel. She had both eyes enucleated due to cancer before she was two years old. If anyone reading this doesn’t know what enucleated means. The dictionary says it means ” removal of an organ or other mass intact from its supporting tissue”. In layman terms, it means both of her eyes were taken out. I hate to be that blunt, but as you read this post you will understand why.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many people, from the time Shantel first lost her sight, to this very day, come up and ask what caused Shantel to be blind. When she, or I, explain she had to have both eyes removed due to cancer, and that what they are seeing when they look at her are prosthetic eyes… These folks will actually ask if she can see anything through her prosthetic eyes?I have to say, I think sometimes, the folks Shantel ,and/or Bill, and I come in contact with when we are out together, just don’t grasp what we are telling them about Shantel’s loss of sight. They ask questions before they really think about what they are saying…

But I will never, ever, excuse that kind of questioning from people in agencies, that are supposed to be there to help people in their time of need.

To say the very least, Shantel losing her sight, and all that followed trying to help her become the contributing member of our society she wants to be, was a horrific experience that I would not wish on anyone. But it was a journey both Bill and I were willing to take with Shantel to save her life and because we love her.

Because Shantel is totally blind, she can, and does, receive social security disability insurance from time to time. I say from time to time, because Shantel doesn’t want to depend on any government assistance. No, she wants to make her own way in life.

Shantel went to a Community College, and graduated with two AA degrees. One in psychology, and one in general studies. And, she also has a license to sell life and health insurance in Arizona…

All Shantel wants to do is work. When she graduated college, she made it her job to find a job. She went on endless interviews. I took her to these interviews, so I know first hand what she was told.

Over and over, Shantel was told ” you don’t have enough work experience… Of course not, when she was in High School, like all her High School peers, she applied for jobs in every burger joint etc. around our community, and not one place would hire her stating “we have more qualified applicants”…

Fast forward several years… Shantel is out on her own. Living in a one bedroom apartment. She finally got a job working in a Call Center. She LOVED working there even though they couldn’t support her need to have a screen reader on her workstation. She went through two training sessions, because they were not ready for her to take active calls after she graduated the first class… So, finally, she was assigned to listen in on calls with new employees and help them know what to say to the customer… She worked there for about nine months when the company was sold, and the people in the division Shantel worked in where let go.

So, what now for Shantel? Well, she applied for unemployment benefits, and was told she would have to go to get a note from a doctor that says she is “visually impaired” before she can receive unemployment benefits.  Shantel told the unemployment office she has a doctor’s letter from Social Security stating she had both eyes enucleated before she was two years old.

This is where I’m looking for  “common sense”. .. The unemployment agency actually told Shantel,  “you need to have a letter stating that you are still blind today”. Apparently the unemployment agency does not understand what enucleated means…

So Shantel had to go to yet another Doctor today, just to give her a letter saying… YES, YOU ARE TOTALLY BLIND, and your EYES ARE NEVER GOING TO GROW BACK!!!

OMG, as her parents, and going through all that we have gone through just to get Shantel where she is today, which is where we are so PROUD of her to be… We just can’t believe she still has to deal with this kind of incompetence …

If you know where common sense is… please let me know!

Beyond belief…

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Friend!

Bill and I have met so many wonderful people since we have been here at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. All of the staff, and hosts, are so welcoming and friendly. But I want to dedicate this post to my new “huggie” girlfriend, Bonnie.

Bonnie, and her husband, Craig, have been hosts here for about 10 years. They are both very friendly and willing to help in any way they can. Craig always stops by the visitor center when Bill and I are working and asks if we need anything, and always tells us to call him if/when we do need anything. He is really a great guy and we appreciate all he does.

Bonnie is one of those people you meet, and immediately feel a connection, and just know it won’t be long before you become friends. Bonnie is beautiful inside and out, and she has a personality that just lights up any room she enters.

Bonnie trained me to make camping reservations and/or changes to reservations for our guests that visit our park. She has the patience of a saint and never seemed to mind the endless questions I had while I was being trained.

Bill and I were scheduled to work Christmas Eve. We didn’t mind because we are one of the new host couples here and we know we all need to “pay our dues” and take our turn working holiday’s… However, Bonnie knew Bill and I were going to spend Christmas Eve at our daughter, Shantel’s home, in Phoenix, and a big storm, with heavy rain, was predicted to arrive in our area within a few hours of the time we would finish our shift at 4:00. The problem with big storms with heavy rain in this area is that we have three washes to go through to get out of the park and make our way to the highway to get to Phoenix.

Bonnie and her husband were not planning to leave the park on Christmas Eve, they were going to have a little after hours gathering at the visitor center with some of the other park hosts. Bonnie had already worked her scheduled hours for the week. But, Bonnie knew Bill and I were a bit worried about getting out of the park before the heavy rains came that could flood the washes we needed to cross. So, Bonnie, being Bonnie, sent me a text around 11:30 yesterday morning letting me know that she was going to come in around 3:15 and take over so Bill and I could leave and get to Shantel’s home to start our Christmas celebration!

Both Bill and I were very happy to be getting off a little early. Now, imagine our surprise when Bonnie walks in at about 2:00 and said she had finished up the things she wanted to get done and decided she would just come on in and let us go even earlier!! OMG, both Bill and I were so surprised, happy, and very appreciative. We both hugged Bonnie, and told her how much we appreciate her, and wanted her to know what a great person we think she is. I mean how many folks do you know that would give up their Christmas Eve afternoon off to go and let people they just recently met get off early…? I’m sure there are a few folks out there like Bonnie that would do that, but let me just say, Bill and I have found that those kind of people are few, and sometimes hard to find… And when we meet people like Bonnie and become friends, we never for one minute that that friendship for granted!

So, a BIG shout out to my new girlfriend, Bonnie. THANK-YOU for being the beautiful, fun-loving, kind-hearted person you are. We were blessed the day we met you, and we look forward to many years of friendship.

Merry Christmas!

Kindness

As most of you know our daughter, Shantel, lost both eyes to cancer when she was two years old. If you follow my blog you also know how hard she has worked to become a strong, independent, contributing member of society. She is entitled to receive Social Security Disability benefits (which isn’t even enough to pay the rent and utility bill for her small one bedroom apartment), and she receives a small ($77.00) monthly food allotment which she can only use for what she can eat. She cannot buy personal care items, cleaning items etc. Only what she can consume… I don’t know how they expect anyone to live on that… And for those that say “get a job” well, again if you read and/or follow my blog, you also know how hard Shantel works at trying to “get a job”. She has two college degrees, and a licence to sell health, life, and medical insurance in the state of Arizona, and still she can’t get a full-time job even answering phones in a Call Center… But, Shantel is determined that she is not going to live on Social Security benefits for the rest of her life. She is tenacious, and she never gives up. She recently was offered a sessional position in a Call Center working through the end of the year, helping people choose the Medicare plan that is right for them… She gave up her Social Security benefits and food allotment card when she accepted this temporary position hoping it will turn into a full-time job, but if not, at least it will give her more work experience for her resume…

Bill and I could not be more PROUD of how hard Shantel works to be independent, and it just absolutely breaks my heart when I hear how sometimes people that she is forced to depend on to get her to and from work, to and from the grocery store etc. can sometimes be so unkind.

Shantel uses Dial-a-Ride when she can, meaning if she has the time to schedule Dial-a-Ride in advance… But, sometimes she is forced to use other transportation services like cabs, which are very expensive, so she recently started using Uber which only charges her $11.00 to take her to work and $11.00 to take her home from work as opposed to paying $28.00 for the same distance using a cab. And the $11.00 charge for Uber includes the tip!

Shantel told me Uber offers two types of services. Regular Uber and Uber assist. Uber assist drivers are trained to help people with disabilities and are required to offer to walk a blind person to their door. The only drawback to using Uber assist is that like Dial-a-ride, there is a bit of a wait time if you can’t schedule the service well in advance… Regular Uber drivers are not “required” to walk customers to the door. However, Shantel told me that every time she has used the regular Uber service, the driver has always offered to walk her to her door which she very much appreciates. One of the regular Uber drivers even told her that if she can’t get Uber assist in a timely manner not to worry about it because most regular Uber drivers will get out and assist a blind or disabled person to their door. He went on to say “if they don’t then they have to be a complete moron…”

Why am I sharing all this with you, you might ask? Well last week, Shantel was called into work early so she had no choice but to call the regular Uber service to take her to work. When she got off work that day, she needed to stop at the grocery store to get her food for the following week. She called the regular Uber service to take her from work to the grocery store. That driver walked her into customer services where she asked for someone to help her select her groceries. Then, after she purchased her groceries, she called for Uber assist but was told she would have a long wait time. Since she had some cold and frozen food in her bags she decided to call the regular Uber service. That driver, a woman, picked her up at the grocery store, drove her to her apartment complex and told her the ride was over and she needed to get her groceries and leave the car. Shantel asked the driver if she would help her to her door, which is approx 75 yards from the parking lot (not a real long way, but a long way for a blind girl carrying four bags of groceries, her purse, lunch bag, and trying to use her long cane…). The driver told Shantel it wasn’t her job to help her to her door and that if she wanted that kind of service she should have called Uber assist!

Now, I understand that that Uber driver wasn’t “required” to help Shantel…or any other disabled person… But for the love of God, what happened to kindness, understanding, empathy, and compassion for our fellow human beings…?

Both Bill and I have spent most of our lives doing things that “were not our jobs”, or were not our responsibility etc., but we always try to step up and do the right thing when we see someone in need.

I can’t even begin to explain how it made me feel when Shantel told me how hard it was for her to make her way to her apartment carrying four bags of groceries which made it impossible for her to use her cane so she had to try to follow the walkway with her foot until she got to her door. Then she had to put all the groceries down so she could find her key in her purse and open the door. Then she had to go back outside and try to make sure she found all her groceries off the door step because some food rolled out of the grocery bags… It broke my heart and still brings tears to my eyes as I write this just thinking about what all Shantel has to go through just to get through her day doing what so many of us take for granted.

I started writing this blog years ago, mainly for Shantel, as a way to document our lives for her so she can read back on our lives when I’m gone. Because of course, being blind, photo albums would be of no use to Shantel.. But sometimes, like today, I share this story as a way to bring awareness to others of the difficulties people with disabilities face each and everyday, and to perhaps encourage you, if you don’t already, to step up and do the right thing next time you see someone in need, even if it is not your responsibility. It costs nothing to practice kindness!

Stay Tuned!

Previous Older Entries

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the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

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Living An Active Full Life

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