Monday, March 19, 2012

A Change in Perspective - Ahavat Yisrael

My telephone number is mistakenly listed on a non-profit-listing website as the correct telephone number for a non-profit organization. Although I've tried to do something about it, nothing has helped. (Believe me - NOTHING!)
This saga started many months ago. It seems that this non-profit began making automated telephone calls to folks all over the country. Big deal, we all get automated calls of one kind or another. Well, this organization must have had the computer set to call repeatedly every day, even every hour.
When the receivers of these calls were annoyed enough, they looked up the non-profit and, lo and behold, found my number. They called to complain. Not one person, or five people, but an average of seven people a day - every day (except, B"H, the Sabbath). The phone calls start in the early morning and they continue until late night.
Most people are irate. "You have to stop calling me. You have to leave me alone. I am going to call the police," they tell me. They yell and scream. It is very unpleasant. They are being harassed, so they harass me. 
In the beginning, I said, "I don't know what you're talking about." They often said, "You are lying." Our phone conversations were often terrible.
I called my lawyer. I wrote to the website. I called people from the organization. Nothing helped to change the number on the site. And my number remains there even now.
But I was able to change one thing - my perspective on the situation.
Until two weeks ago, when I received a phone call, I frantically tried to get rid of the person on the other end of the line. I tried to make excuses and unsuccessfully calm his/her anger and I often became short-tempered myself.
I still get the six or seven phone calls every day (I just got one a moment ago - that's what reminded me to tell you about it), but I have changed my own attitude about these calls.
I realized, "People are calling me from all over the country. People from places that I've never visited. Types of people that I'd never get a chance to speak to. What an opportunity for ahavat yisrael (love of one's fellow Jew)!"
So, now, when someone calls, I don't start a whole debate. I simply say, "No, you have not reached the organization. I am a private person who is receiving dozens of phone calls every week. But I am happy you called, because I want to wish you and your family all the best, and especially now, I wish you a Happy and Kosher Passover."
The person on the other end says, "I'm sorry I troubled you. And I wish you a Happy Kosher Passover too."
These phone calls are exciting for me now. Instead of the annoying intrusion on my life, I am pleased to be able to say hello to my fellow Jews from near and far (most far, and places I've never heard of). And I think they're happy to speak with me too.
This phone mix-up must have happened for a reason. I'm trying to make the best of it. Remember the old AT&T telephone commercial - "Reach out and touch someone"? That's what I feel I am doing with every mistaken call. I only received three calls today so far. I'm looking forward to the next four. "Happy Passover, friend."

1 comment:

  1. Good change of attitude, so very unfortunate when these things happen, make the best of it, and move on -

    I do hope you are not charged for all those calls though!