Off-the-clock call of duty

Editor’s note: As we celebrate our 30th year, we DelCorians have a heightened awareness about our impact on those with whom we work daily as well as those we encounter randomly. We were recently reminded of how good deeds can affect others, even when it’s not part of the job. Here’s one such story to brighten your day.

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I took a day off recently and figured I’d schedule a trip to the dentist in my downtime. I pushed all the thoughts of my normal work day out of my head. Server upkeep? Network maintenance? PC troubleshooting? Not today!

Today was reserved for me, and after I finished this one minor inconvenient visit, the rest of the day was mine to waste away. I strolled into the dentist’s office looking very off-duty – unshaven, sweat pants, and a t-shirt.

I walked up to the reception desk, fishing insurance information from my wallet, already wishing I were done with this so I could resume my demanding schedule full of pawning noobs in Call of Duty and wolfing down Cheetos by the handful.

I went through the motions of signing in, ignoring the customary blood-curdling screams and high-powered bone saws one often hears in a dentist office. However, amidst the torturous cacophony echoing throughout the office, there was one sound that was both out of place, yet strangely familiar to me. 

“Stupid computer!” exclaimed the woman behind the desk, the look of defeat fresh in her eyes.

“Problem?” I said, arching an eyebrow at the frustrated receptionist.

“This dumb thing isn’t connecting,” she responded with anger. “None of the computers back here are.”

I hesitated before uttering my next sentence, thinking only of my precious day off. My warm video game chair beckoned in my thoughts, and the slacker anthem of “doing nothing” echoed in my ears. Why taint a perfectly good day off? Besides, computers are touchy. It’s never a simple fix. It’s always something far more.

Aw, to heck with it, I couldn’t help myself.

“Ya know, I work in IT. You want me to take a look at them?”

“PLEASE!!!” she cried, her eyes wide with relief, as if I had just rode through the doors on a white horse wearing shining armor. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a damsel in distress.

And so, I went to work, starting with the most basic troubleshooting technique and working my way up. Time passed and patients moved past me in line, but I got their computers connected. And for my efforts in the negotiation, I was given a traditionally painful teeth cleaning and news of a cavity. No good deed goes unpunished.

Yet, as I went to pay for the services rendered, now fully aware of just how many nerve endings resided in my mouth, I noticed an oddity on my bill. A small line item appeared at the end, showing a reduction of $25. Looking up, I saw the smiling face of the receptionist staring back.

“Just so you know, you are my new favorite patient,” she gleefully beamed. “Thanks again; you were a great help.”

“Happy I could be of assistance,” I said with a salute, and moved toward the door. One call of duty answered, I was eager to get home to the other Call of Duty.

 

Flickr photo by Yodod