There are moments we have that stop us in our tracks, tell us to slow down and soak up the intrigue of belief in something bigger than us. This past week, such a moment occurred in my life through the interaction with a business that I was about to give up on. I’m pretty loyal and have owned businesses in the past where I had to right my wrongs for my own conscience and accountability. I have only lived in the Kennesaw Ga. area for a little over a year, and migrated from the North for numerous health complications and to seek warmer climate. When I started tanning at 24hr Tahiti Tan off of Chastain Rd. nobody knew my reasons were to positively impact my health. I froze my account during the summer because I was able to embrace the days outside, but recently wanted to reinstate my membership. The young girl, Maddi who worked the front desk informed me of new credit card limitations which would change my eligibility for services unless I paid upfront. I agreed and believed my after-hours pass would remain activated.
Exhibiting some pain the other day, I went after hours so that I could relax for a moment after a long day of work, I am a pastoral counselor and going back to school for my Masters degree in trauma therapy. (Now that pursuit should give you a clue about my own need for self care which I find paramount.) The log in was unsuccessful and Maddi wasn’t accessible fast enough for my impatient texting, so I hastily left in annoyance.
I left a note at the tanning salon, called and left a message for Maddi and expressed my opinion about the inaccuracy of computers being able to substitute running a business for people. At this point if I was paying for 24 hour access and not getting it, I’d be better off just canceling the package and getting a refund.
Now this is where the road took a turn. The next morning a different employee calls to tell me that I failed to purchase access to the facilities which would cost an additional $30. In my perplexity I reminded her that I got inside the building with my activated key, so what was I missing? More money. Bottom line, I needed to shell out more cash to get the status of a “member” able to tan 24hours. All I kept seeing in my minds eye were dollar signs that I didn’t have because all of my holistic remedies to maintain my health cost thousands and this was my scraping of the bottom of the barrel just to obtain a last ditch effort of temporary relief. At least if I could get my money back I could invest it in another modality of care. But then Maddi called to say that she would have to be the go between to her boss and ask if I could get reimbursed.
I admit that I did not take too kindly to this suggestion because I have had to satisfy many customers with grievances over the past 20 years through my own entrepreneurship with credits and or refunds. I said a few choice words up to heaven and asked for help as my personal pains were weighing me down and financial resources were slim. I called and asked some friends to pray for me as I ranted at length about my always having to represent my business reputation with integrity and how that has become a lost art. Finally I had to surrender what I thought I needed and asked for God’s plan to override my own because I was tired of fighting to be heard and justified.
I have people who question faith over every Wednesday, so I shared with some of them trickling in the door about my disillusionment with the technological age we live in. Then, I got a phone call from Maddi and she immediately apologized for calling so late into the evening but wanted to follow up as she had promised. I liked that business savvy and had already disarmed my hostile stance because I could sense she was distraught. After telling me that I would not be able to utilize the 24hr access without paying extra, she did say that the owner would refund my money in cash. I was halted and surprised. I thanked her and then asked her if she was okay? She explained of her own personal dilemma with her car that I actually experienced with my first car as a teenager, the water pump dying, which was going to cost her money that she simply could not fathom.
I asked if I could pray for her and as I began I felt tears come to my eyes as the spirit within me nudged to offer her my cash refund. “Just take that money you were going to get from the bank for me and use it toward your car. I want to thank you for being the communicator to your boss on my behalf, so please use it.” We were both crying because I needed the release from gripping something I was trying to hold onto, and she needed the help I was able to give.
I invited her to stop over one Wednesday if she ever wanted to eat and get loving support from others who have daily concerns. I hung up and was able to share that testimony with my group. I felt free as a feather and the expectation for belief in the goodness of people ignited others to start sharing stories of hope. Then Maddi called back. I answered with concern, wondering if she needed a ride or was stranded, but instead I heard this, “Miss Angie, my boss Derrick heard what you did for me and couldn’t believe that you were giving the money you needed away. So he is re-instating your membership without charge and with the up-grade to free 24hr access. He and I want to pay it forward.” And I stopped dead in my tracks because only God knew how important this whole situation was to me.
This establishment will forever go down in history for me as being the catapult to change that I needed to trust God works through His people. My faith has been restored greatly because of the personal struggles this girl and I had going on in the midst of having to answer to ways of this world. This young girl taught me much and I am forever grateful.
The need to face my fear of not being able to use a service that offered me peace, was the exact moment of belief in people returned. She did override the lack of computer enterprise with her determination and connection, the very thing my heart and soul was crying out for. I can’t express to you the healing both my body and soul needed through this whole ordeal that seemed so bleak in the beginning. During the Thanksgiving season, I find this gift of a story, to be one worth sharing so all can appreciate the possibilities of heartfelt moments to prevail over bottom line numbers and profits. It seems some small business owners still know the investment in people will come back in dividends.