Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hope, Faith and Charity


THE most fabulous thing has happened and I feel like CELEBRATING!

Remember my blog post from the other day, Life Insurance Companies Suck? I wrote it because I was devastated when I found out I was denied life insurance based on, as they wrote in their report, "multiple criminal charges." I got their report in the mail last night and something in it intrigued me. "We've let your advisor know about our decision although we may not have shared all the reasons for it. To protect your privacy we're unable to share certain information."

I thought, what information? The agent already knew about the criminal charges – he phoned me and told me. What could be worse than that? Did they find out I have AIDS? What? What could be worse?

Curiosity got the better of me so I picked up the phone. The report said I should call my agent if I had questions but screw that. I wanted to speak to someone at the insurance company, preferably to the director of underwriting who had signed the report. Yes, I know his signature is just a stamp; that, in all likelihood he never even saw my application. I didn't care – his name was on the document so his butt was in the hot seat. I called the 1-800 number on the letter.

After a little bit of phone tag hell I got through to an extremely pleasant young woman whose name I forget so I'll call her Hope. She pulled up my records and reiterated what I already knew – I was denied coverage because of those "multiple criminal charges," nothing else.

I was going to thank her and hang up, but then I opened my mouth and started telling her the story I have told everyone over and over again. At first I spoke plainly because there is little emotion left in the retelling of such an old tale – but like the singer who has sung her hit song for the thousandth time and still has to dazzle her audience, I realized I needed to tell my story with the heart it deserves. I told Hope about my otherwise stellar, crime-free life, about doing volunteer work in the community, about covering the police beat for the local newspaper. I told her about my husband of 19 years cheating on me, and how it literally made me lose my mind. I told her about smacking him with the Dr. Seuss book and the police charging me with assault; then, as I begged and screamed for my husband to help me, one of the officers put his hand over my mouth to shut me up – so I bit his thumb. And there, in a heartbeat, were my multiple charges: assault and assault police.

Hope listened, not revealing much. When I was done talking she said, "I almost never do this but I'm going to transfer you to an underwriter. Can you hold?"

I was on hold at least 10 minutes. Finally a second female voice came on the phone. Let's call her Faith.

She said, "Calls are virtually never transferred to underwriters and I have to tell you, Hope was passionate as she described your situation."

Faith used the word "passionate." My heart leapt.

"I think I've got all the information I need but if you'd like to share anything else, I'd be happy to hear it."

So I told Faith the same story I had just told Hope, adding more details. As I spoke, the story got under my skin and I broke down at several points. I know Hope was in tears, too. I heard her sniffling over the telephone wire.

"I can't re-open your case," she said, "because only the original underwriter can do that. He's gone home for the day but I am going to take this to him first thing tomorrow morning. I can't promise anything, but I'm going to make sure he sees this."

I felt elated. I didn't care at this point if the insurance company changed its mind because SOMEONE HAD LISTENED. Someone CARED. I went to bed last night with a happy heart.

***

When my husband got home from work today, I was already here. We shared pleasantries and he said, "that was pretty good what the insurance agent had to say, eh?"

I looked at Dave like he had three heads.

"What do you mean?"

The agent had called him to say the insurance company had reversed its decision and was willing to sell me insurance. They had completely dropped all application references to my criminal past.

"WHAAAAAAAAAT??????????" I was gob-smacked, bowled over.

"Didn't he call you? He called me to ask for your phone number because he had misplaced it."

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO," I squealed. "He didn't!" But then again, maybe he did. I had stepped out of the office for a while in the afternoon to run some errands. And, truth be told, I didn't check my phone to see if anyone had called while I was gone.

When I finished screaming and jumping up and down and hugging Dave and generally acting like a lunatic, I asked if our agent was surprised. "Oh yeah," he said. "First of all, he couldn't believe the company changed its mind. But what he really couldn't believe is that you got transferred to an underwriter."

Seriously? It's that big a deal? Apparently it is. And apparently I owe Hope a great deal of thanks. She could have brushed me off. She could have said, "Well, them's the breaks, ma'am, sorry about your luck." But she didn't. She let her humanity and her common sense and her brilliant helpfulness take over and she did a wonderful thing.

Yes, she did the unthinkable – she transferred my call. But she did so much more. She made me feel like a real person again. A worthy person. Someone who is more than just a set of toothmarks in a Kevlar glove and the slapping sting of a children's book on a cheating husband's thighs.

68 comments:

  1. Your story made me cry too, so I bet Hope and Faith went through a few Kleenex after your call. That's wonderful news, both about the insurance, and that there are people still out there who will actually listen and think for themselves. Hugs.

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    1. Isn't it wonderful? I was so excited last night I had trouble falling asleep!

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  2. Here's to people who listen, really listen, and then do something about it. The unsung heroes of every day. What a super story. Thank you for telling it to us--gives me hope, faith, and a bit of charity, too. Peace...

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    1. They are rare, unfortunately, but they are out there. "Unsung heroes" is a perfect description.

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  3. What an awesome experience for you! I'm going to repeat myself for the umpteenth time and say it's because you have such passion in the story, since we all know they shouldn't have denied you in the first place. Would you get your book out there so other people can experience your voice for themselves?!!!

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    1. Yes, yes, yes, I'm actually WRITING! I am really hoping to be done the first draft by the end of the summer. I know that sounds like a LONG way away for you but to me it's just around the freakin' corner!!!!! (I wanna be you when I grow up)

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  4. WAY back in the day before EVERYONE in this country starting not paying their debts, I was negotiating with my credit card companies so I could pay them off without destroying my credit. You have no idea how well talking to someone HUMAN helped out. And by human, I mean someone if this country, not in an another country who barely speaks English. And you could actually get transferred to a manager who could ACTUALLY help you.

    Congrats on your coverage. Now, just stay alive so you won't have to use it. :)

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    1. YES, Juli, that's exactly why I'm so bowled over. Talking to credit card companies or the phone company almost always leads to frustration. Actually having someone within your own country, who speaks your language, is a HUGE deal. I say that because it doesn't matter WHAT country you live in – if you're in India, I'm sure you don't want to speak to someone in Canada.

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  5. It IS a big deal for a member of the public to be transferred to an underwriter. I know, I was one.

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    1. REALLY! Wow. Bowled over some more.... I'm sure you were just as wonderful an underwriter as Mizz Faith!

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  6. WOW! That is just fantastic, Cathy - and a happy reminder that it IS possible to overcome that "just a number, just the facts" approach.

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    1. Isn't it? As you well know, it's like spitting into the wind most of the time! Thanks Paula!

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  7. She was your angel! Wonderful the decision was changed, Cathy.

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    1. Vindication is exactly the right word, Sarah. I was doing some fist pumping, I'll tell ya!

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  9. A little humanity and compassion go a long, long way - let's hope it's contagious!

    Congratulations, Cathy!

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    1. I'm hoping for us all, Sue!!! Have an awesome day!!! And thanks!

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  10. Its a nice blog thank you so much such a nice description about life insurance great post...
    Over 50 Life Insurance

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  11. You're so passionate in your story-telling. You should be a writer. ;)

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  12. The woman who talks to underwriters! I'm so proud of you, acting on your very motherly instinct to get to the bottom of it, and doing it. Wow! Well, I'm out of superlatives, but still smiling.

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    1. *grinning ear to ear at your comment - sounds like a Horse Whisperer or something*

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  13. Sometimes all we need is a lot of perseverance. For me getting through all the hoops is the hard part. Anyway, I'm glad you were finally able to get insurance. The things we have to do today to give people our money! I swear.

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    1. Yup, the hoops are a big pain in the arse.... and you're right -- all these hoops and they want money too! The nerve!

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  14. all I can say if F'n A. so glad for you. so very glad

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  15. What fantastic story, I'm glad you overcame the odds. The original story, however, is just a head smacker of a tale. All the truly bad and wrong people in this world who get away with murder and they nailed you. And a Dr. Suess book was involved. Somebody should give you a Kafka award.

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    1. Oooh, a Kafka award! That would look swell on the side of my blog, Pamila!!! Hey, does mean you're out and about and blogging again? Perhaps a visit to the Bella Vista Motel is warranted... *she says, excitedly*

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  16. You know that I LOVE visiting your blog, right? OMG- this story was hilarious and amazing! I love that you smacked him with the book and bit the officer's thumb! LOVE it! I mean, not that it all happened but, if it had to, I like how you stuck up for yourself. And I'm glad you told your story and that someone cared enough to listen! You make me wish y'all lived closer to us! I think we'd be good friends!

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    1. Pam, I love visiting yours, too. You are SUCH an inspiration! Hope that exercise ball is still working for ya! (And yeah, I think we'd be good friends, too!)

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  17. Congratulations!
    And I have to say (although I hate having to), be glad it was a woman you got on the phone.

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  18. Very happy for you! Really! And it was so cool to see someone else use the word "gobsmacked"! Yay! Great news!

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  19. I am still trying to fathom: Your husband called the cops on you? That sounds as bad as the infidelity. Is he afraid to go to sleep at night? I know, women tend to download these things and they can pop up days, weeks or years later.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. Oh no, Buzzard, I called the cops on him... but it's a lonnnnnnnnng story. So long, I'm writing a book about it!

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  20. Congratulations on the decision reversal! It was only fair, I mean those 'criminal' charges were ridiculous at best. In this day and age of complaints, perhaps a heartfelt thank you to the company would be in order. :)

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    1. They were ridiculous, at least I thought so – but they were treated with the utmost seriousness from police and the courts and the damned things are still haunting me. Thanks for the support, JoJo!

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  21. Well, this is a fairy tale come true, indeed. Blessings on the head of Hope, in particular, and in Faith, for having Faith in Hope (you chose these pseudonyms justly, that is sure). This shouldn't be so rare, of course, but it's good to know humanity still resides somewhere in the bleak house of insurance. And blessing on the head of, I shall call you Persistence, for hanging in there through No Hope, No Faith.

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    1. Love your comment, Susan. Reminds me of an Aesop Fable or a Greek tragedy and we're all goddesses...

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  22. Yay, I love this happy ending! So nice that she took the time to listen to you and make a difference. :)

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    1. It IS nice, isn't it! Thanks Super Earthling girl!

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  23. Hooray, that's awesome! Now maybe that can take that little episode off your Permanent Record.

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    1. I'm working on it, Daisy. I have the forms at the ready and on Monday I'm starting the process.. it's time to be FREE!!!!! :)

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  24. I'm very happy for you and all I can say is they shouldn't have denied it in the first place, those criminal charges were laughable. Seriously I'm glad someone not only took the time to listen but also act. This deserves some sparkly glitter if anything does! .✶*¨`*¸.•*´*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.
    .............•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•.
    ✿•*¨`*•. (¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯) .•*¨`*•✿
    . . . ✿•*¨`*•.¸(¯`v´¯)¸.•´*¨`*•✿ . . .

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    1. Helen that is the BEST, no the BEST BEST BEST glitter I have EVER SEEN!!!!!
      You are like David Bowie, the queen of the glitter rock stars, because you rock!!!!!!

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  25. It is stories like this that restore my faith in humanity. It takes a lot for someone to look past what is in print right in front of them and really hear the story behind it. I'm glad that those women had compassionate ears. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. It does take a lot and very few people in their positions, who hear so many sob stories, still have the wherewithal to listen with a sympathetic ear. Thanks, Heather!

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  26. Wow! RESULT!!! Way to go, Cathy. We need more of this kind of humanity in the grey corporate world.

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    1. I'm still woot-wooting all over the place!!!!!!! Thanks, Botanist!!!

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  27. Wonderful news! Nice that you got the human touch!
    On another note, it was nice to meet Dave today. You're such a cute couple....Have a great weekend! Hope it's another "quiet" one, lol.

    karen

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    1. Awww, great to see you, too Karen!!! (I am SO SORRY I called you Kathy! I was mortified... I ran out to the car and said to Dave, "I am SUCH an ASS sometimes!!!"
      Oh well, good to see you, really - you always have such a brilliant smile!

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    2. Oh my goodness, Cathy, don't fret over that. People have been calling me Kathy all my life. I think my husband even did that once or twice!
      karen

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  28. What a great ending to this story! You almost never hear of these things happening in real life, so close to home that is. I hope this is an indication that many others can forgive and forget in your life too. Maybe we can all pass it on as well!

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    1. Yes, Ron! I do think forgiveness is the most important thing anyone can do. Move on! Move up! Life is short - grab it by the balls and enjoy every stinking moment!!!!! YAY US!

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  29. I hope you are proud of yourself. I am weeping sooky little tears here. Cathy, Hope and Charity have made a perfect stranger cry. Which is the truth.

    Just the same I am doing my best wobbly little dance of happiness for you.

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    1. I love the word "sooky", EC... you have the best expressions!!! And hooray for great blogging friends and wobbly dances!!!!

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  30. Wow, an underwriter a heart!There is still hope for humanity yet. I'm so happy for you Cathy. This is a happy ending.

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  31. Oops, I meant "with a heart" sorry.

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  32. Okay, I stopped in to simply say thank you for your kind words on Alex's blog, but got completely sucked into your story. Wow, I felt your pain and joy. When the woman transferred your call I nearly cheered. Sometimes all we need is someone to listen.

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  33. Best read of the day and my first smiles! WOOT!!! Good for you and congrats on fighting the system and snagging a WIN!

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  34. Hello! Lovely to meet you!! I'm so glad you were treated like a human being by a corporate person. Bless her soul! This shows that a little kindness always goes a long long way! Take care
    x

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  35. "If you haven't any charity in your heart you have the worst kind of heart trouble" to cure it
    Help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save lives"!
    mawaddainternationalaid

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