I come from a family of storytellers. Say a word, use a phrase, spout an opinion, or reference an article and at least one person in my family will say “That reminds me of a story.” After reading Ruvy in Jerusalem’s “I Am A Jerusalemite,” I started thinking about all I’ve read with regard to the beliefs, conflicts, and problems surrounding Jerusalem. I don’t fully understand all the issues and concerns. But even without a full understanding, I can appreciate that Jerusalem wants what it wants.
And that reminds me of a story.
My brother, Gary, is a fully trained and licensed master craftsman, a literal jack-of-all-trades. He knows wiring, plumbing, carpentry, masonry, you name it. He could build a house from the ground up and he’s not too bad with cars. Greater than all of this is his sense of customer service. Within his means, he has, without fail, given the customer what they wanted. When it simply wasn’t within his means to do so, he found someone and some way to make sure the customer was happy. He didn’t operate from the standpoint that the customer was always right. Instead, he held that the customer was a person with a need, and that needs don’t have a right or wrong about them. This philosophy has worked for him for over 25 years. Superiors have questioned his methods and even his skills a few times over the years but he’s always been proven right. He finally enjoys a position where his word is final and his approach with customers is taught by the human resources department where he’s currently employed.
As a young man in his 20s, he was the 2nd lead in maintenance for a 300-unit apartment building. A trouble ticket was passed onto him more as a joke than anything else. Even then he prided himself on getting to the bottom of any problem and his co-workers were sure the little old lady who reported the problem would be the challenge that could take him down. The ticket read “Light in refrigerator stays on when the door is closed.” He visited the little old lady (who turned out to be a whopping 55 years old) with a new light bulb in tow. He patiently and respectfully listened to her assessment. Without question he changed the light bulb. She called back the next day with the same problem. Gary’s co-workers chuckled and snickered with the thought that there was no customer service skill of his that could overcome what was clearly a psychiatric delusion. Gary assured the tenant he’d be right there. Just as respectfully as he’d done before, he again gave the refrigerator a good once over. When he was done he stepped back and asked her what made her think the light stayed on after the door was closed. She said “I keep my jelly jar right there by the light; last week I reached in to pull it out of there and had to use an oven mitt to get a hold of it because it was so hot.” Gary checked the refrigerator again and found a problem with the switch that turns the light off when the door closes. That switch would have eventually started a fire. He replaced the switch and graciously accepted the basket of goodies she sent to his office.
You don’t have to fully understand what someone needs to make sure they get it, help them get it, or even give it to them if you’re in the position to do so. It might even be that you’ll never understand the why of it all until you make sure they get it, help them get it, or give it to them. If my brother had used his superior skills to trump what first appeared to be her illusion, her need would never have been addressed, much less met, and he would have at a later date found himself cleaning up the charred remains of the building he once worked in, set aflame by the neglected switch in that refrigerator. He would have come to rue the day he put himself above someone else, paying dearly for not realizing there were other possibilities outside his own reality.
Twenty years later that little old lady’s company needed a highly skilled and professional maintenance man. She refused to take applications and instead sent her human resource department out to look for Gary. They found him and she hired him. He’s paid well with great benefits. And she died peacefully knowing her company would never burn to the ground over something as ridiculously simple as a switch that had been overlooked by know-it-alls who thought someone else’s need was just a little crazy.
And that’s why Jerusalem should get what it wants.