Lost Keys and Kindness

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Submitted by Christopher Stefanic

At the end of a long day last year, when I was still a temporary employee, I was gearing up to leave. It had been an emotional day, which had lent me to taking lunch in my car to just relax. As I was leaving the building, I noticed my car keys were missing. After searching my bag and jacket pockets for about five minutes, I began to get frantic. I dashed out to my car to look inside, thinking that maybe I accidentally left my car keys in the car when I locked it after lunch. It certainly wouldn't have been the first or even second time! Berating myself for the "lunkhead that I can sometimes be" when I get emotional or stressed, I ran back inside, checking my bag and pockets continuously, going over and over and over, until it felt like I was going to go crazy. What an awful way to end an already not-so-good day. As I returned to my suite, Joe Herrera, head of HR, was leaving for the day and noticed my state of mind, and that something was wrong. I briefly described to him what was happening, then dashed out to my car for a second look out there again. By now I was sweating bullets, as I had someplace I needed to be. I probably lost all reason in terms of my search methods by this point, and as I was running back, dreading how much it was going to be to call a locksmith or a tow truck to come up in the TCW garage and unlock the car for me, I saw Joe in the garage. He calmly walked over and asked me if I needed any help. Full of pride and anxiety, I told him it wasn't necessary and I'd figure it out. He then told me it was no bother, and that he had an account with AAA, that he would happily call them for me so I wouldn't have to pay for a tow truck. He meant it, too; it wouldn't have been any trouble at all. After an instance of really thinking it over, not feeling like I was worth his time, being that I was only a temp and hadn't really interacted with him very much, let alone his position with the company, a rush of calm came over me. In front of me was a successful role model of a person at this company where I was interested in working that was willing to help me out like that. It may not have been a big deal to Joe, or in the greater scheme of things, but to me it made world of differences on many levels. It acted as both a welcoming gesture that stood more or less from the company as well, it showed that I had a team member and an ally that would be there, and instantly assuaged any further anxieties I had about the job or my future there. At a loss for words, all I could do was thank him profusely. I went inside to grab one more thing and as irony always has it, LO! There were my keys under my desk! I updated Joe and thanked him once more and we both went with ease our separate ways into the Friday night. I have experienced many random acts of kindness at AEG, but this one still resonates the most. The myriad of ways I was affected positively has indeed left a lasting impression. I try to uphold this example and act as a positive influence over whatever situation or problem comes my way, and it certainly isn't a bother to me, either.

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