I remember the day very clearly (it’s in my book). About four years ago, I was standing in front of someone and trying desperately to communicate in German – my 6th language.
“Ich weiss mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut,” I said.
“Ja und nicht gut genug.”
I know my German is not so good….to which he responded, “yes and not good enough.”
I refrained from saying, “Oh really? How’s your English? Tell me your thoughts on the Oxford comma? Passé?”
Today, I was dealing with a Swisscom employee. I am already a day behind because of Swisscom and also 400CHF poorer. This to say nothing of the pounding headache I have had since purchasing their product that would make my life “einfacher.” #itdidnt
Go on a little “with me” trip, as I call it. Especially those of you who get frustrated by non-native English speakers.
Picture yourself as a technical idiot trying to explain, in your sixth language, something said to you the night before on the Swisscom hotline by an actual technical expert. Imagine while this is happening, you are watching the minutes slowly tick toward the departure of your train.
Then, imagine the manager telling you in Swiss dialect “kein Englisch nur Tüütsch” (no English, only German), even though English is one of the working languages for Swisscom. Next, imagine missing both trains and still there is no solution from the people who sold you the mountain & the gold for 400CHF. You there? Great.
Now, add on to it that you, like everyone else in the world, have your own issues to deal with.
Really. Imagine all that.
It’s more than a headache. It’s the problem, in a global sense, with customer service and general apathy toward others – in particular, those who are foreign to us in some way.
Again, I’m not Mother Teresa (read the post entitled “I’m not Mother Teresa,” you’ll see), but when I see someone is struggling, for any reason, I go where they are. I can attempt other languages (including Latin and sign language) if I have to. Why? Because it’s not about me. It’s about the other person needing the help I can give.
I really don’t care if we are talking about a 5G connection cockpit username upgrade or directions to the bathroom or even spiritual discernment. Egal (I know that one…it means, “it’s all the same” like “equal” but super-sized). I am going to try my damnedest to be there and to help.
If I were in Texas and someone walked up to me (as a customer or a mere human) in need of my help and said, “passt Deutsch?” I would never say, “huh uh.” See, that’s the Texas (dialect) version of English (official language). Why would I do that? I have no need to make another person feel small, stupid, or subordinate. I would say “natürlich passt das, wie kann ich helfen?”
One of my favorite quotes, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” We should all make sure we commit that one to memory.
In every language.