This story is of Joe. Joe was a busy and hardworking immigrant working in Australia. He worked hard climbing the corporate ladder and was a shining star in his eyes and eyes of his peers. One day while in a meeting he gets a call from an unknown number. He ignores it. After seeing someone desperately call for 5 times, he finally answers the call. “Hello, Joe speaking!” He hears a question from the other end “How are you son?” in a slow but firm voice.
“Oh mother, I am good. I am in a meeting, will call you back in few minutes”, said Joe and disconnected the call and continued with his meeting.
Next day, in the afternoon he gets a call from unknown number again. He answers and before the person on the other end can finish saying something, he blurts “Ahhh, I am busy right now, will call you back soon” and disconnects the call.
After two days, when he checks in to his Facebook account, he see a lot of wall posts and private messages. One message said, “Sorry for your loss Joe”, another read “Heart felt condolences. Your father was a good man. RIP.” The sky crashed on Joe and he felt as if lights have been turned off and he’s sitting in complete darkness. He immediately realised that why his mother called him twice in two days and that he has not returned her call yet. He visualised his mother walking 3 kilometres just to make the phone call from her village without phone lines or mobile phones. He had neither words nor excuses. It was already too late.
He later finds out that the first call he received was when his father became really sick and was still alive and second call was when his father left this world.
This is a tragic story. I can only begin to imagine that what would Joe go through for the rest of his life. There are few lessons from this story but the important and simple lesson being “Call Back” when you said you will. When you promise someone that you will call back or sent an email, do so and do it as promised. Make it a matter of discipline. Make it a matter of choice and do it every time.
You never know how desperately someone is waiting for your call or the information that you can provide. You might not understand completely how much your loved ones miss you and want to hear back from you. Keep on your words on calling back.
I have to admit that I am no saint at this and I miss sometimes calling people back, but I am constantly working on it. Do you call back? Do you do it even more when you don’t need anything from the person at the other end?
This post is part of Improve Your World series of posts and this is post #3 for year 2012.