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I had an odd experience last night.  It started with a Telstra problem (which admittedly isn’t odd at all) but it developed after I rang their 24hr helpline at 10pm.

By midnight I was onto my 9th Telstra employee – Ahmed in the Adelaide call centre – who also wanted to transfer me to someone else to sort my problem.  Again, nothing unusual there.  It seems to be the thing with call centres.  If your problem is at all challenging, the easy road seems to be redirection: “Oh you’re a business customer.  This is residential,” or “Sorry, they’ve transferred you to IT support, you want IP support.” Etc. Etc.

Anyway, by the time I’d reached Ahmed I was low on reserves.  I’d spent two hours being shunted from one unhelpful person to the next, and while listening to piped music I’d been stressing about how I could run a business when I couldn’t email my customers.  Only certain customers, admittedly, but you know how situations always seem more dire after midnight.  I think there’s some Universal Law at work with that.

So when Ahmed wanted to transfer me back to the 125111 helpline I’d been sent to three times already, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’m ashamed to admit that I begged.  I told him I knew call centre staff had time restrictions on calls, and that it wasn’t his fault that someone had transferred me to the wrong place, but could he please, please, please take the time to find the right person for me before he transferred me through.  Ahmed was clearly an intelligent guy and he’d understood my problem, so I was counting on him also knowing the sections of Telstra (sprawled across several continents) and being able to find the needle in a haystack that I wanted.

And God help me he did.

I sat quietly listening to piped music for fifteen minutes while he burned off his call average for the night searching for someone to help me.  Then he came back on and apologised for making me wait.  I swear, I wanted to reach through the phone and kiss him!  He transferred me to Dimple in the Philippines who understood exactly what I was talking about, and through a process of elimination over the next two hours she found my problem and fixed it.  I feel like an idiot, but I’m crying now as I write this because I was so happy, and so relieved.  I didn’t want to be one of those people who complains about call centres all the time.  I wanted to be someone who gets looked after well and feels grateful for that.  And I was.  At 2:30am when I went to bed, everything was right with my world.

This morning (after a good sleep in) I did my usual routine of spending time with my gratitude journal.  I’m currently working my way through the new book by Rhonda Byrne (of The Secret fame) called The Magic.  Part of that program is writing ten things you’re grateful for, and adding why they make you feel good.  Ahmed and Dimple were top of my list, and having a working email system (which I’d previously taken for granted) came in close second.  Last night I’d gone to the Telstra ‘positive feedback’ website and detailed how much I’d appreciated Ahmed and Dimple, and in the light of a new day today (and a more awake brain) it occurred to me that there are lots of things I appreciate as passionately as I did their help last night, which I never take the time to acknowledge.

And high on the list is books.

Admittedly I’d done the odd review when I happened to be online, but only when it was convenient to me.  I’d never gone out of my way to show my appreciation for reading, which is crazy because my love of books is one of my big passions in life.  And how hard would it be to pop into Amazon and leave a review under the book I’d just read, and to add a review in Goodreads?  Saying Thank you makes me feel good, and because I wasn’t in the habit of saying Thank you to other authors for the time and effort they’d put into their stories, I was missing out on precious feel-good emotions.

But now, thanks to Ahmed and his inspiration, I won’t miss out.  I’m going to make sure that when I finish reading a book I Tweet, Facebook, Amazon Review and Goodreads review the book, because that’s the least I can do to show how grateful I am for the pleasure of reading someone else’s carefully chosen words.

If you love books too, think about getting onboard with #thanks4theread and let’s see if we can trend it!  There really can’t be enough gratitude in the world, so let’s start with something we all love.