05 Sep An irate tourist tested my commitment to civility. And guess who won?
An irate tourist tested my commitment to civility. And guess who won?
Rarely am I pushed to my limit as I was by an irate tourist who called my mobile phone Thursday screaming at me because he received a parking ticket.
Assuming the purpose of the call was to rant, I let him do so for about five minutes never giving me a chance to respond. He told me that he had been visiting one of the Beaufort area’s ocean front islands, from his home in Greenville, for the past thirty years and would never return to Beaufort because the city “stole” his money from the parking meter. He indicated that he parked for free in Charleston and Savannah which “have so much more to offer than Beaufort” and that he parks for free in Greenville.
Without success, I tried to interrupt him several times to remind him that Charleston and Savannah have meters as well as parking structures, and the cost is higher than in Beaufort. He did not want to hear as he continued his rant.
Finally, when he ran out of breath, I finally had a few seconds to say: “I am sorry that you were inconvenienced, and want to help unleash you from this anger so you can return to our City that you know is very special.” Accordingly, I asked him to please send the ticket to my personal mail box and, even though I cannot get it “fixed”, I would in good faith send a personal check to pay the $10 fine.”
He was by then silenced, wrote down my personal mailing address and sort of apologized saying he “just had to vent.” I reassured him that was okay and that I will gladly pay the fine if he promises to return to Beaufort on his next vacation.
I did not lose my cool, agreed to personally invest $10 in our city because it is a pretty good value proposition.
I believe I “won” the conversation by simply listening and remaining respectful and civil.
While I wanted so share yet another of my experiences as Mayor, please note that I cannot afford to pay everyone’s ticket so please don’t sent them to me.