Today the act of procrastination allowed us to peek into the window of a stranger’s life. Our refrigerator had inconveniently died so my husband and I had to do the old Sunday afternoon trek into town to buy a new one. After nearly an hour of deliberation and opening every door of nearly every fridge the store had in stock, while the sales assistant stood patiently by, we made our choice and headed to the sales counter to finalise the purchase. All was going smoothly until we got to the part where Danny, the sales assistant, offered us the extra 5-year warranty such that if anything at all went wrong with the refrigerator in the next 5 years, the store would either repair it or simply replace it at no charge. Danny had given us a much-discounted price for the 5-year replacement warranty, but it was still a hefty $210 on top of the purchase price. This led to much procrastination as my husband is the most anti-insurance person one could ever meet, and I am very pro-insurance. The husband was adamant that we did not need the replacement warranty. I hesitated and argued that maybe we did, while Danny stood in the middle of all this making small talk with light banter to convince us that we definitely should take the warranty.
I don’t even know what led to what, but Danny was a very engaging fellow, who before long was telling us about how he came to live and work in Australia. He described how it felt to arrive at immigration at Melbourne Airport, all the way from Bangladesh via Singapore, with $15 cash in his pocket, knowing very little English, feeling terrified and looking across the arrivals crowd for the one person he knew in Australia who was there to meet him. This was back in 1997, so I guess he would be have been a young adult just out of his teens. He told how he found a job initially as a telemarketer, but hated the feeling of hassling people all the time over the phone, trying to sell them something that he knew they didn’t want or need. In order to find a better job he then went from shop to shop, with a pile of resumes that he had paid to have printed, asking through all the electrical and department stores if they had any work he could do. He described how at one big department store, he gave a girl his resume to pass on to the boss. As he turned to walk away he heard the girl rip his resume in two and discard it. He left the store feeling very disheartened and sad, but then with a feeling of indignation and anger at the waste of the money and effort he had spent to print his resume, returned to the store demanding that they hand back his resume. The boss of the store heard the fuss going on and upon investigation, Danny told her how he had come asking if there were any jobs and the sales assistant had taken his resume and ripped it in half. The boss was extremely apologetic for the girl’s actions, sacked the girl on the spot and asked Danny to come back in a few days time for an interview, along with 17 other job applicants. Danny got the job, working 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week for 9 years before the store was taken over by the store he was now working in. The boss who had taken him on and given him a chance ended up becoming the godmother of his children. I could see how that could happen; Danny was such a likeable fellow who obviously had drive and tenacity to come to a foreign country on his own to find a better life for himself. It was an unexpected pleasure in our day to cross paths with him and to hear his story. Needless to say, we bought the extra 5-year replacement warranty……..