The utility company. We’ve all had our bad experiences with rudeness, long holding times, waiting for them to show up, to turn the service on or off. Perhaps there was a dispute over a bill. We take our utility services for granted and we fall completely apart and start complaining when we lose them. We are the public consumer, ungrateful, impatient and irate. Based upon the news, at least, this is how I think we must look to the utility company.
But I have a different story to tell. It is about the water company and a man named Tony. This summer, The water company decided it was time that the neighborhood had it’s water lines replaced. This meant ripping up the street with huge, extremely loud machines. It was going to take the spring and all summer. For most of my neighbors, this was an annoyance. For me, it was agony.
Your see, I have a brain injury and I suffer from constant migraine pain. I have a sensitivity to sound. No, let me correct that. Sound, like that from construction equipment is nothing short of torture. I go into spasms, and my head feels like it is going to explode. I have had to endure noise in my neighborhood that actually made me feel I was going to die from the pain-inducing sound of motors.
I’ve hidden in closets, cowered in the basement, and huddled in the bathtub. I’ve used all manner of earplugs and headphones and taped pillows around my head. When I knew it was coming, I left and went to my mother’s house. But once there, it offered no guarantee I would escape the professional lawnmower service.
So, when the water company showed up, my husband and I become greatly concerned. “What were we going to do?” My husband decided to call the water company to find out what their schedule was, and more importantly, how to deal with the noise.
We were prepared to get little concern or help. But that was not the response we received.
My husband talked to a man named Tony, who immediately got on board with our situation. Not only did he have sympathy, he was empathic. He made arrangements to call my husband every step of the way to keep him informed as to where they would be and when and for how long. He also called all the contractor’s involved in the project, and told them they were to keep us informed. They did.
When he went on vacation, he had his replacement call. Whenever, they pulled off the job to go work somewhere else, Tony called. When they had problems, Tony called. Whenever there was any news of any kind, Tony called. We have a water treatment system in our house, so when they flushed the lines, we had to put in all new filters. He knew this, so when the time came, Tony called.
They started work at 7 a.m., so this required us to get up at 5 a.m., get me packed and ready with everything I need for the long fourteen hour day til my husband could pick me up, and take me home, where I would collapse into bed, to do it all over again the next day. Everyday, my husband would call and say, “Tony called,” and give me the update.
I spent most of the time laying on my mother’s couch with ice bags on my head. Sometimes, I would sit in the chair. And since I am also sensitive to light, she had the curtains closed and blankets over them. She had to awaken at 7 a.m., so this required much adjustment on her part as well. We have great love between us, so she was happy to help.
It took a long time and tomorrow it comes to an end. And Tony will stop calling.
How do you thank a man for going to such great lengths? Had he not called, we never would have known when or if they were coming and our life would have been well beyond the threshold of how much I could endure. Even with all the calls, I had many trips to the headache doctor. It was no easy task for any of us. And yet, I ask myself, “How many Tonys are there in the world who would take so much of their time and go out of their way just to ease the suffering of one individual? “He was always professional, he never complained, and was always ready to go above and beyond the call of duty. Just one brain-injured women, no one important to warrant such celebrity-status treatment. And yet, even so, Tony called.