28 November, 2008

DB Holiday Cheer

I go to the train station to buy some tickets for two up-and-coming trips to Berlin. Late Friday afternoon. Crowded. One DB employee is trying to issue an old woman her tickets for her grandson’s visit over Christmas. She insists on paying for him to come up to visit her, while his parents insist on paying for the return trip. The old woman knows her grandson had a DB card (discount card), but she doesn’t know if the discount is 25% or 50%.

The DB employee patiently suggests that the woman should find out whether it is 25% or 50% before purchasing the ticket. The woman is obviously distraught at the prospect of having to come back again.

The DB employee sees the old woman’s disappointment and offers to let her call her daughter. She asks the woman for the telephone number. She doesn’t remember. Then... how about the name and address? The old woman says “Meyer” (like Smith) and the city, but she doesn’t know the street name. The DB employee checks an online telephone book on her computer for the name. She blinks twice. Then puts on a brave face, “Oh, there are a lot of Meyers in Fulda. Why don’t we start at the top. Does xxxx Ave. sound familiar?”

They were still at it, after I purchased my ticket and I am leaving. I’m a real Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. I’m glad the DB employee is not.

1 comment:

  1. I understand, Lia! I used to be a long distance operator for AT&T and it was an adventure in patience. I 'loved' the people who wanted to call John Smith in Cleveland (or NYC or Chicago) but had no middle initial or address and got angry with me when I told them I couldn't help them.

    Now I look back and am grateful for the training I received. It taught me to smile and say 'I'm sorry' in the face of someone else's frustration and has served me well in other jobs. Where I work now I say 'lo siento mucho' and it eases a lot of frustration.