I went to get a new driver’s license recently in a new state. Very tough process . . . lots of extra technicalities and as you might expect, a series of bureaucrats who were experts at saying no and sending you down the line. Except for one . . .  Maria. Somehow, while the other grumpy clerks shuffled me around because they allegedly could not help me beyond their little box, Maria took me under her wing and personally knocked down one administrative barrier after another.

If she got stymied, she did not just send me away; she jumped on the phone and called other departments until she overcame the obstacle. It quickly became apparent that the license people had more discretion than they let on. But most of them were either being lazy or just plain ornery, while Maria had decided to use her resources and provide excellent service. The result . . . she made my day and I will never forget her.

What’s in it for Maria? Perhaps nothing in the short term since I doubt if the government pays her any more at her pay grade for working harder, being more industrious and being friendlier. But over the long haul, it will be impossible for her NOT to rise above her peers, and in the meantime she will have the immeasurable satisfaction of knowing she is helping people every day.  It just never ceases to amaze me why any service provider would behave any other way.

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