Clear the air

I’ve had a customer’s computer for about a month now. It was a really old one, but for doing homework, it got the job done. The woman brought her sister’s computer to me, and asked if I could clean install Windows. I accepted the task, but took a long time to get it done.

During the weeks while I had her computer, her son told me that she thought a lot of me when it came to computers. She would turn to me for any computer issue, and tell everyone else about me. I wasn’t living up to her expectations, though, was I?

A week ago, I told her I basically finished it and was going to deliver it to her. However, I failed to keep that promise.

This morning, walking from the parking lot to church, she drove in and stopped to ask me for the computer back. She was blunt, and I could sense some anger. I couldn’t blame her. I politely told her I would bring it after church, and she drove by to park.

I just got back from bringing the computer to her house, and I felt that it ended on a positive note.

First, I apologized. “I’m sorry I took longer than I said I should.” She replied telling me that she wanted to help me with “my business”, and she would rely on me if there was any computer issue. She understood my hectic schedule and was still very understanding, despite the length of time I took.

After that explanation, she told her son to get her purse from the car so she could pay me, but I insisted otherwise. She insisted that she pay, but I told her I’d just tear up the check. It was my turn to explain that I needed to rebuild my integrity for not delivering as I promised.

I couldn’t take the money after all that, even if it would still mean some cash to hold me over for a day or two. I think that she respects me more for standing my ground like that. I’m hoping that what I thought would be a ruined relationship will only get better from this moment on. I felt like a moron before this – but now do I feel better? Absolutely!

How do I want people to view me? If I want people to trust me, I need to give them a reason. What’s my track record in these matters? I need to be as honest as possible. Why? If other businesses, won’t take the blame for whatever faults they incur, I’ll be way ahead of them because I do the opposite. Sure, I’m not a big business. This is only a side job, by word-of-mouth. However, I really don’t know where this will take me. I’m relatively young right now, and if I show integrity, I hoping that it might grow into something big. I never know.

Mrs. Ortega, if you’re reading this – thank you.

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. He's also a cat whisperer. Sometimes…a photographer, and card magician.

3 thoughts on “Clear the air”

  1. On the bright side eating up the cost of clean installing a OS isn’t much. Really more of a game of patience, but nothing if you are doing other things in the same room.

    People are so silly about paying a person even if they don’t want the money.


  2. Wow, if I was computer illiterate, I would go to you also. I like a man with your type of standings. Too bad I can fix my own crap 😀


  3. @Anthony: Yeah, it was basically a thing where you start it up and let it run. But something that seems so simple for us is usually really tough for others. At work, I witness that type of reaction quite a bit. I’d do something super simple, and get lots of praise for it. I’m not complaining!

    @Chris: Thanks! 🙂


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