Glenn is a technician at Te Papa Museum who was mending the support desk when I came to him asking for help.
So I was scheduled to give a presentation at a conference this morning at 11.45AM. Thanks to my awesome time management (??!!), I only managed to pull the presentation slides and script ready by 2AM the previous night.
When I checked in with the conference organiser, she told me to come to the Speakers’ Prep Room during morning tea and someone would sort me out.
So there I was, coming to the Speakers’ Prep Room at 10.45AM, merely an hour before I was due to go to the stage. There, I found Glenn.
I asked if he could load the presentation slides for me and while saying that, I’ve also prepared myself that okay if he says it’s too late, it’s fine. I’m just going to bring up my laptop and roll with it.
To my surprise, he said "Of course" with a very very very big smile.
Then my slides were uploaded, I tested them, feeling happy. Then I asked: do you know if there’s any printer around that I can print my script?
He said there are printers but the fastest thing to do is he will have to print it for me, and it will take about 15 – 20 minutes. And he asked me to come back, just before coming up to the stage and collect my print-out there.
And I thought, hmmmm, that sounds a bit risky. What if he forgets to print out for me then, do I have to wait then? What if when I come back, he’s not there anymore, who am I going to ask. Etc and Etc.
So I say: I can wait if that’s alright with you.
He hesitated a little, probably evaluating how important it is to print stuff for this random person compared to perhaps a million other things that he’s supposed to do now. Right at that point, 2 men walked in and asked him about their presentations.
I sat down on the bench and just waited for them. Fortunately, their questions were answered very quickly. Glenn then stood up and said: alright now i’m going to print this for you. It’s gonna take 15 – 20 minutes. And he ran away.
So I waited and waited. The nerves must have been kicking in that I started to feel impatient and anxious. I stood up and started walking up and down the room. The clock now shows 11.15AM, then 11.20AM. I’m thinking: hmm what if he gets caught up with other things on the way. And I waited and waited. I heard footsteps running up and down and I wanted to rush out to see if it’s Glenn coming back. But then I thought: Be cool, be cool. It’s okay. Don’t show your nervousness! The footsteps come again, but it wasn’t him! I tied up my hair. Checked myself in the mirror. Touched up my lipsticks. Smiled to myself in the mirror. Turned left and right and see how I looked like. Pulled my sleeves, adjusted my shirt. I sat down again, thinking: when is he going to come back!!!
Finally, Glenn appeared and he rushed in, panting, handing me the papers and jokingly said: HEY! Wake up, don’t fall asleep.
We laughed it off and I said: wow the printers are so far away eh?!
He said: You know it’s one of those things that you have to go through. Plus this is Te Papa, you have to go here, and there, pass this and through that. I have to use two passwords and ask someone to check me in. Well….
Then at that point, I realised … Glenn was a stranger to me a couple of minutes ago. I asked him to do me a favour that he could easily just decline to help. I wouldn’t even mind if he did. Instead, he helped me, ran around and jumped through a few hoops to help me print some papers that I totally can live without. He was neither being difficult nor being challenging about the whole thing. He did just help me and didn’t probably realise that gesture had given me so much confidence and a little peace of mind.
Reflecting back, this experience has grounded me and reminded me to always be helpful to our customers or clients, or just anyone in need.
Thank you Glenn of Te Papa!