I did the unthinkable tonight: I actually answered the landline in our house and talked to a telemarketer who called during dinner. (Don’t ask me why we still have a landline)
Maybe I was in the mood to answer some questions or more likely I felt like giving some relief to a harried telemarketer who was undoubtedly receiving significant abuse during this vicious election cycle, but I agreed to answer her questions as long as I could ask her one question for each question she asked me.
She chuckled, and perhaps out of boredom, curiosity, or just a desire to actually record some responses, agreed to the bargain.
The following is our exchange:
Her question: What is your opinion of Hillary Clinton? Favorable, somewhat favorable, neutral, somewhat negative, or negative? [response deleted]
My question: Where are you calling from, and is it dinnertime there as well? “Central Florida, and I have no idea where you are.” (Not a great start)
Her question: What is your opinion of Donald Trump? Favorable, somewhat favorable, neutral, somewhat negative, or negative? [response deleted]
My question: How did you get into this political poll calling business? “There was an ad on Craigslist.” (Still breaking through the ice at this point)
Her question: If the election was today, who would you vote for? Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or Gary Johnson? [response deleted]
My question: What is your view of the American public from your conversations on the phone? “Really scary.” (Now we’re getting somewhere)
Her question: How likely are you to vote in the election? Likely, somewhat likely, don’t know, somewhat unlikely, or unlikely? “Likely”
My question: If you could wish for one thing for the American public, after your experience calling people for their opinions every day, what would it be? “I’d like people to be happier.”
That’s a fair answer. And, in fact, I couldn’t agree more. Regardless of who they’re voting for, whether they have a landline, or if they’re willing to answer a political poll, everyone deserves to be happier.
So, what could the two of us do to fix a national problem? One, an educator trying to figure out how to make education relevant on a daily basis, and the other a telemarketer who was simply trying to pay the bills by calling people during dinner.
We decided that the two of us could make people happier one at a time, starting with one person each. So, before ending the call, we both agreed that we each would commit to making one person’s day happier tomorrow.
The hard thing about this promise is that if I don’t make good on it, I have no idea how to call her back to apologize. Somewhere out there in central Florida is a woman who just might try to go out of her way to make someone happier tomorrow, and who should be expecting one other person in the country to make good on their end of the bargain. Maybe this is the best kind of deal: one that I should be making anyhow, and one that I can’t back out from.
Feel free to join me in trying to make someone’s day happier … it sounds like everyone around us could use it.