Helping People Isn’t Complicated

On her front lawn chatting with friends, Miller Offspring #2 (of 7) saw some boys grab an item from the street. It was a wallet. The kids handed it to Tara and ran off. Now, Tara was ready to help.

Quick observation: Helping people doesn’t require a college education, “continuing ed” credits, or fancy letters after one’s name.

Helping others is rooted in …….. desire.

What Happened Next

Tara searched the wallet for ID but found only a Kaiser Permanente medical card, an AmEx credit card, and a Colorado-based credit union debit card—a financial institution dedicated to serving members and their families. So, Tara focused on the credit union—the organization that existed to … serve its members. 

Reaching a credit union branch (not a call center) “banker” by phone, Tara informed the person she was trying to help one of their members. Here’s how it went:

Tara: “Hi. A wallet belonging to one of your members was found near my home, and I’m wondering if you could contact the owner.”

CU Person: “Okay, so … wondering how we’d do that?”

Tara: “If I give you the account number off the debit card, maybe you could call the person? I could even bring it to your branch.”

CU Person: “Hmm, I just don’t know how we’d do all this.”

Tara: “Oh, well … just trying to help this person. Otherwise, I’m unsure what to do with this wallet.”

CU Person: “I don’t know either.”

The call soon ended, and that was that!

Disclaimer

No one is asserting the credit union individual is a bad person. 😊

QBQ! Antithesis

Tara then called me, saying, “Dad, I have a great anti-QBQ! story for you!” 

“Anti,” of course, is the prefix of antithesis—meaning the direct opposite. Tara knew what she’d experienced was 100% contrary to the QBQ! book’s message of Personal Accountability. Growing up in the Miller family, she knows QBQ! is all about asking questions like, “What can I do to contribute?” and “How can I help solve the problem?”

My Realization

As Tara told me the story, it hit me: Helping people is a “want to,” an innate desire; no new skills or fancy training are required.

This lost wallet problem could have been solved. Or, at the very least, Tara’s call could have been escalated to someone at the credit union who knew what might be done, if anything.

Imagine the “customer service” story the wallet-owning credit union member might be telling friends and family today. It’s a powerful picture—and an opportunity missed.

The Lesson

This story’s teaching is simple: To be a helper, I must want to help. It’s not complicated.

Are you a helper?

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7 Responses

  1. this is a great story, there is always a way to help, you just have to take a little time out of your life and want to.
    If it was reversed, you would want that person to do all they could to locate the right owner.

  2. John, This story makes me sad but it’s not uncommon. When I sense a Customer Service agent has given up on me, I attribute that to poor training & little empowerment to allow the agent to think outside of the box of “normal” customer service. Bruce.

  3. Great story – but I want to know the ‘rest of the story’? Were you able to figure out another way with the different contents of the wallet? Sure appreciate you guys.

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