I was the metaphorical bear with a sore head. Well, actually, it was bear with a sore tooth in my case, but what’s the difference between friends? Having lived on a cocktail of painkillers and antibiotics for over a week along the odd glass of brandy (purely for medicinal purposes, of course) and very little sleep my usual sunny disposition felt a million miles away this morning.
Not even seeing my horses or driving the favourite part of my commute to work where the bright morning sunlight dapples the road as it shines through the tunnel of trees could cheer my mood this morning. So, I knew that it was going to be a very long day indeed. In fact, it felt like a long day before I had even arrived at work and I thought then that I should maybe have stayed at home instead. I can handle almost all ailments whilst retaining my composure…and a smile. All that is except for sleep deprivation. When I get tired I lose my perspective, reasonableness and good humour. I’m sure it’s the same for us all but other people just seem to handle it better.
Turning on my computer I wondered what might await me. Depressingly the awaiting emails reflected my mood. Pieces of information I had been waiting on, new requests for information, reasons why I would still have to wait a bit longer for documents I needed urgently, a few unusual queries, comments from customers which would need some consideration because they covered several different departments and I’d have to be careful they weren’t overlooked, a moan…you probably get the idea and, yes, I probably was reading everything through my tired and grumpy eyes.
That was until I came across a very ordinary email titled ‘Harecastle Tunnel’. It had been forwarded to me by our customer service team so my assumption was that it may be less than positive and need my attention. Though you should never assume anything (one of the most valuable of life lessons, I’d say) because as I read through the email I saw that what it recounted was the most delightful, unassuming and touching act of kindness from our tunnel keeper, Derek.
New to boating, our visitors from New Zealand had missed their chance to moor up and purchase some oatcakes, a memento of their visit. To make up for their disappointment Derek had invited them into his office and donated them his very own oatcakes (which were also his lunch!). When reading their email you certainly didn’t have to be a genius to work out quite how much Derek’s kindness meant to our visitors.
I’d also like to thank you Derek. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart because, not only did you give our visitors the most touching memory of their visit but you have single-handedly restored my faith in humanity and, with it, my sunny disposition.
Who needs sleep, eh?!
Sarina joined us in 2008 as our customer services co-ordinator. Among other things, she manages our national customer service team, complaints procedure and requests for information made to the Trust. She says that the most important thing to her is to be able to go home and feel as though she’s achieved something, however small that might be. Her job is hugely satisfying, widely varied, full of deadlines, immensely interesting, sometimes challenging and no day is ever the same, although some are surprisingly familiar!See more blogs from Sarina Young