I took Dack to get his driver’s license a few weeks ago on his 16th birthday. After the excruciating two-hour standing in line process, we are given an appointment time to return three weeks later and take his driver’s test. Then, and only then, can he receive his driver’s license. I look over to see my strapping, almost six-foot tall sixteen-year-old son’s bottom lip starting to quiver. Broke my heart.
As we return to the car to leave, he tosses me the keys and says, “you drive, I just don’t feel like it now.” That’s when you know your future driver is really upset and disappointed.
As we are driving through the DPS parking lot to leave, I notice the examiner is standing there with her clipboard and no other car or driver. I casually roll down the window and ask nicely, “Sorry to bother you, but I have to ask one more time. Any chance someone has cancelled their appointment?” She looks up, smiles, and replies, “Yeah, just had to cancel this last one and the next one is not here. Come on, let’s do this.”
So, not only did Dack get his driver’s license for his birthday but he also learned valuable lessons that day:
- Be patient. As we stood in line, we were respectful and did not complain.
- Be friendly. We engaged strangers in conversation and lightened the mood, making it a better experience for all
- Be aware. I saw the examiner take a break and go to her office. I followed and asked about the appointment process. She explained they are overworked and understaffed. She went on to explain that their office actually had appointments sooner than most and the wait was still at least three weeks. And, when I asked about cancellations, she added there are rarely no-shows and, if there are, that’s when she catches up on paperwork. I smiled, thanked her for her time and got back in line with Dack.
- Be kind. I knew the disappointment was coming but didn’t tell Dack right away.
- Be gracious. We thanked the nice clerk, got our future appointment and left without any drama.
And the most important lesson learned?
- Nicely ask for what you want or need. More often than not, you will receive what you ask for. If not, repress the drama and move on. At least that person will know what you need in the future should an opportunity arise. And, if you have been nice about it, the odds are in your favor.
Oh, and one more:
- Be thankful. I drove all the way back to that office late last week with cupcakes for the entire DPS staff.
Dayna Steele is a business success speaker, spreading her Rock Star Principles of Success across the globe. For more information on her presentations, click here or contact her. She doesn’t bite. Often.