I recently decided to get a Vanity Number in order to make it easier for everyone to memorize it. After spending a couple of days to find the right combination of characters to be used in the Vanity Number, I called my phone provider and inquired if the specific number was available.
After a couple minutes of research from the great customer service, Bingo, it was available. Quickly made the reservations and took only 72 hours to get activated.
Not long after the number was provisioned, I started getting calls. I was a bit surprised because the number was freshly provisioned and it was not yet even published/revealed. Intrigued, I answered in the hope of getting great news. Wrong! It was only people trying to purchase beer. Yes, Beer! The positive person in me decided to get the most out of it and to get familiar with every business calls instead of getting aggravated.
After about two dozens of calls in about 2 weeks, I called my VOIP Provider and asked them what was wrong. It turned out I was given a recycled number. I believed that the calls would fade out after a couple of weeks, specially having me saying “Nope, Wrong Number”. It did not.
One afternoon, I got another call and this time I decided not to pick up and let it go to voicemail. I was very close to delete the voicemail without listening. Curiosity made me play the message. It went as follows: “Hello Sir, can you please call me back, my name is *Robert and I would like to ask you a question about your phone number”.
Sounded very fishy, however, I still ended up calling back. The gentleman picked up and thanked me for calling back. He explained to me the following situation: The Vanity Number I had purchased was previously his number and he had it for a very long time. It had a very personal value to him. The Number made up his Family Name completely, something like 1-800-Robert. He was also a businessman and had gone through some ups and downs then he ended up losing the number to me. I figure it was probably because of a change of address and a couple unpaid bills and the number got disconnected.
I was not there to judge but to listen and I felt that it was such a huge disappointment to him given the fact that the number was to be passed down to his children and was carried from generation to generation in the family business. In the end, *Robert simply asked if there was a possibility for him to regain possession of the number or if I was not willing to, he would totally understand.
For me, there’s more in life than not collaborating and finding a solution. People in front of us sometimes smile and appear as great businessmen, we get an opinion in a few seconds that people are super wealthy sometimes because they drive a big car and wear suits to the office every day. Behind the scene, we very rarely ask ourselves what is going on in people’s life. It’s way too easy in 2018 to judge, move on, and in the end, our approach is not as caring as it should be.
I immediately told *Robert, that we would definitively figure this out and find a way to transfer him back his number.
After roughly two weeks of working technical details and having re-obtain another vanity number, protect the previous number from getting released to someone else and transferring it to the previous owner, we finally made it successfully. Not to say I had to reprint business cards.
You may be asking yourself why I am writing this. For me, it really made my day to be able to make someone happy. It is rewarding personally to do something good when I can do it. This is how I have always treated people around me and expect the same if I ever hit some rough patches; someone will eventually be there to help.
As an entrepreneur and being almost a decade in business, I have learned that there’s more to life than just to focus on performance (individual, business), metrics, KPI. Don’t get me wrong, those are needed to drive a business. However what drives a business is also made up of the strong bond, relationship with internal and external collaborators, colleagues, friends, etc.
I hope this short article about a real event will spark an interest in the readers to see if there’s a situation where they could put a smile on someone’s face.
*Robert is a fictitious name used to preserve confidentiality and anonymity of the real character.