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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Accent (02/21/13)

TITLE: Long Distance Information
By lynn gipson


Have you ever called a number for customer service and were directed to a person in a land far, far, away? If English is not that person's first language it can be a little tough getting a answer you understand. When recently I had to call for help with my new broadband, a delightful young man answered, who was eager to help. However I couldn't understand every other word he said.

The conversation went something like this...

“Hello!(Unintelligible)?” His enthusiasm is promising

“Hi, I just got this new broadband device from your company and it doesn't seem to be working. I wonder if you might help me.”

“(Unintelligible) help, Ma'am, (unintelligible) computer? You got Toshiba?”


“Name-on-your-computer, please.”

“Oh. No, not Toshiba, Asus.”


“Asus. A-S-U-S.” I calmly spell it for him.



“What that?”

“The name of my computer.”

“Oh.” I thought I heard snickering. “You hold?”

“Yes.” I sighed, as all my questions begin competing for attention against the onslaught of ten whole minutes of computerized music on a repeat cycle, interrupted by friendly voices—also on repeat—that assure me how important my call is.

“Okay, (unintelligible) number?” He's back, breaking into my daze.

“Number?” I can feel my blood pressure rising and my pulse quickening.

“Phone number, Ma'am.” I can tell he is losing patience.


“(Unintelligible)?” I think he has asked another question--it's hard to tell.

“Pardon?” I'm starting to sweat.

“(Unintelligible) password!” His tone is starting to lose that warm, friendly touch.


“(Unintelligible) Windows 7?”

“No, I have Windows 8.” I guessed at this one!

“Ahhh. That (unintelligible).”

“I'm sorry, what?”

“Windows 8, Ma'am, (unintelligible) not work.”

“What won't work?”

“Windows 8 (unintelligible)!” In a now-testy tone.

“My Windows 8 works fine. My broadband doesn't.”

“No! (unintelligible) will not work!” He almost shouts in my ear.

“I'm sorry, can I speak to someone else please? I can't understand what you are saying.” Now, I am joining him in getting testy.

“Okay, you hold!” It's hard to tell if he's angrier at me or at himself.

Fifteen minutes later I get to talk to a new young man who speaks much better English. He tells me my broadband device is somewhat incompatible with Windows 8 and takes me through the steps to remedy the situation. I thank him and ask him to tell the other young man I hope there are no hard feelings.

“Oh, no Ma'am, he's used to it.”

I was thoroughly exhausted by the time I got off of the phone, but my broadband now worked, so it was all worth the effort. Thinking about the young man whose accent I couldn't understand, I couldn't help but wonder how many other times he had been asked for someone else to talk to. Maybe I should have used a little more patience with him, for was doing his job the best he could.

I got to thinking about what Christ does for us. He understands each and every one of us because He knows we as Christians usually do the best we can. He is very patient as we struggle to do the right thing each and every day. Maybe I could have shown a little more understanding and patience with my delightful young foreign customer service provider.

Maybe next time I will.

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This article has been read 421 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Melanie Kerr 03/02/13
I have had many of those kind of conversations and I would like to say I have become more patient - but I haven't. Jesus is patient with us when I don't seem to be able to speak his language!
Allen Povenmire 03/02/13
I read this and became frustrated along with MC, as you effectively wrote what all of us have experienced at times. You used an everyday occurence and made good illustrative use of it. Well done.
Alicia Renkema03/02/13
Life is so unintelligible at times. And we all need to learn to be more patient with one another. Thank you for writing this highly relatable piece.
C D Swanson 03/02/13
This was a clever entry and held an authentic tone that almost everyone will relate to. Nicely done.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/02/13
This is such a delightful read. i think pretty much everyone can relate to something like that. My hubby is an IT guy and I'll hear him on the phone trying to help someone through the troubles. his favorite story is when someone called IT because her computer wouldn't turn on. The first question asked was is it plugged in? She responded with Hold on I need to get a flashlight because the electricity is out. Like you said, how wonderful that Jesus is far more patient than us. I do suspect, however, that at times he might bang his head against a cloud (my husband bangs his on his desk, but stopped when he realized others in the office were staring.:) This was a great read and right on topic.
John Huckstep03/02/13
This is so well written--something we have all experienced. Excellent!!!
Judith Gayle Smith03/02/13
Am there - doing that! I love how you wrapped this up.

Because He lives and loves,

Noel Mitaxa 03/03/13
How brave you are to profile a scenario that offers a banquet of frustration, and turn it into a devotional challenge. Well done.
Danielle King 03/03/13
Superb use of the topic. And yes, I too have lost it with many a young man from far off lands. Good job we never get to meet them. Great job, in spite of being specless.
Cheryl Harrison03/03/13
I can relate to your story. Good message within. Good job and God bless.
Loren T. Lowery03/04/13
Great take on the topic and the way it causes the reader to pause and reflect. I often stop to think in situations like this that the person on the other end is not trying to be difficult and truly wants to help - and it up to me to do my part and try to understand so we both can get through this all the better for having patience and persevering.
Bea Edwards 03/04/13
What a hoot... and perfect description of many of my worst technical nightmares. I have come to cringe after dialing a number that's answered by anyone with any type of eastern tinged accent.
I appreciate this humorous reminder that I need to demonstrate more grace and less impatience.
Great dialogue!!
Myrna Noyes03/05/13
I have been through conversations similar to this, and they do stress me! It's hard enough for me to understand how to do computer things when the instructions are in clear English! Anyway, I'm sure many of us can totally relate to your amusing, very believable piece! You did a great job with the dialogue! :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/07/13
Congratulations for ranking 6th in level 3 and 16th overall! Happy Dance! (I hope this soothes the pain some. ((gentle Hugs))
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/07/13
oops I made a mistake you are 15 overall not 16!
Alicia Renkema03/07/13
I am so happy that your piece got recognized and so many related. You did have a "speak" with your dialogue that translated this piece into a place where we all felt, "Been there, done that." Only this piece went a step farther with the precious little devotional at the end and the humility the MC showed. Congrats on getting 6th place in your level and 15th over all. Way to write...