A lesson in patience

patienceSometimes things don’t go as planned — and that’s a good thing.

Went to the gym late this morning anticipating I’d have a leisurely swim in a near-empty pool. No chance.

All three lanes were fully occupied with two swimmers each, and I found myself in a queue of six people waiting to get in. It was 11 am and the gym was going to close at noon for Christmas Eve, but no one in the water was making any accommodations for that.

Finally got into the water as part of a circle swim and was in and out in 10 minutes. I cut my workout way short out of consideration for others still waiting.

Went to the locker room, where I found a towel hook missing on my shower stall, virtually every soap dispenser empty, a paper towel dispenser also empty, and the water fountain broken.

Not at all what I expected. In fact, you might say I was a tad irritated.

On the way out, I stopped at the front desk and said to the woman behind the counter, “Excuse me, can you tell me the name of the manager?”

She smiled and said, “That would be me. I’m Danni.”

And before I could say a thing, she said, “I know, I know. I’m working on it.”

She explained that she’d been hired as manager a week ago, but had been told by her district supervisor not to report to this gym until after the day after Christmas, as she was already managing a different gym. Presumably, the outgoing manager would tie up loose ends at this facility.

Well, that didn’t sit right with Danni. She said she was trying to replace two janitorial staff and had interviewed someone with relevant experience that very morning, and hoped he’d be able to start on Wednesday.

She knew all about the broken water fountain and the empty soap and towel dispensers. She said she knew it was unacceptable and told me that if I ever noticed anything in the future that needed attention, to let her know.

I’ve had minor issues with this gym before involving billing and basic maintenance. I’ve also been aware of ongoing staff turnover, not just among group exercise instructors but also front desk and janitorial employees, so I can understand if it’s not the easiest thing to hire replacements.

On the day before Christmas, I might have come off as a jerk to the new manager had I complained. Fortunately, Danni didn’t even let that happen. With her disarming smile and promise to make things right, I left with an appreciation for the way she handled the situation and a valuable reminder to always give people the benefit of the doubt.

Once again, I’ve learned that you can never know the full story in a situation unless you give another person the space to explain. On this Christmas Eve, I salute Danni for being so honest and direct.

Lesson learned and taken to heart.

Image: Aubree Deimler

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One thought on “A lesson in patience

  1. There’s a reason for the saying “Patience is a virtue” and good for you for possessing it. I gotta also say that in the pools I frequently use, the etiquette is to observe the pace of the swimmers that most match yours, drop your toes in off the wall, smile assertively and then ask them to go in circles. Making people wait because the current swimmers don’t want to share is really rude!

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