As everyone who knows me is aware, I have been grieving the death of my cat, Tucker, who died on 6/27/08.
I finally got around to calling the ASPCA today to cancel the pet health insurance policy that I purchased for Tucker several years ago. The customer representative who took my call was named Shelley; she treated me with a kindness and compassion that I will never forget.
She pulled up my information, confirmed that my policies were for Tucker and Gus, and then asked how she could help me. I told her I needed to cancel the policy for Tucker; she asked "Oh, did something happen to Tucker?" "Yes, he died", and I could feel my throat tightening up as I started to cry. With a very sympathetic voice, she expressed her condolences and asked when he died. I felt a little embarrassed because I was calling almost 6 months after the fact, and I said "Well, it's been awhile. He died in June, but I haven't been able to bring myself to make this phone call until today." Shelley then said that she she understood and that she could cancel the policy retroactively as far back as September. I was surprised at this, because I never in a million years expected a refund. I replied "Well, I didn't expect you to go back even a day, so three months sounds very generous to me." She explained that the ASPCA permits retroactive cancellations and will give refunds because they understand that it sometimes takes awhile for a grieving pet owner to take care of any business that must be addressed following a pet's death. As Shelley gave me my confirmation number and we prepared to hang up, she said warmly, "Give Gus lots of extra hugs and attention now." I smiled through my tears and thanked her.
I have been making monthly donations to the ASPCA for several years, and I was already a big supporter. Speaking with Shelley today reaffirmed for me that my money and my support are in the right place. She was genuine, compassionate, and empathetic. It was refreshing and encouraging to find that in a total stranger, let alone in a customer service representative.
I'm in the process of composing a letter to a bigwig at the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance division in order to tell them about how marvelous Shelley was to me. I could write a million letters, though, and Shelley will never ever know what she means to me.