The Light of Empathy

The Light of Empathy

I, like many people, take my own talents for granted. There are many things I can do, and when I want to do them, I just do them and they are done. These are therefore not a big deal to me.

On the other hand, to someone who is unable to do them, they are a big deal. I work at The Home Depot. It is my job to help people. I help people everyday, but sometimes I get an opportunity to change or improve someone’s life.

A few days ago I met a lady who was recently widowed. Her name was Shirley. She came in and asked if Home Depot could install two light fixtures for her. She had already purchased them from a mail order catalog and showed me the pictures she cut out of her magazine. The truth is that our district is one of few that to don’t install lights or fans. I explained this to her and apologized. I asked if she knew anyone else who could help her. This is when everything changed for me.

She said her husband used to do all these things. She went on to say she had called seven different electricians and no one returned her call. She did not even have a power source where the lights were to be installed because her apartment complex would not allow this. She accepted this and decided she was content to have them hung just for decorations.

When people are asked questions, it is just a reflex to simply answer them. Many people in retail believe their purpose to be just that. I suppose they are not wrong. However, I did not hear a question for which I was to  provide an answer. I saw a poor defeated lady who just wanted to improve her surroundings and all it would take was someone willing to care enough about her.

Home Depot does not generally make a practice of going to customer homes to do this kind of thing. Particularly not when it for something they did not buy from us. I wanted to see a good ending for her, and so I asked for her phone number and told her I would call her in an hour. I said, “Shirley I am going to figure this out for you. Go home and wait for my call.”

I got permission from a manager to leave work early and go to her home and take care of this for her. When I called Shirley and told her of this she did not believe me at first. She was overjoyed and could not believe this was going to happen the same day we spoke of it. She asked me how much I charged. I laughed and said “nothing”. She cried and said “Thank you so much”.

I got to her home and put up the lights, but kept thinking how much better it would be if the lights were to work. When I got finished, I asked her to come by the store the next day because I had an idea for how to make the lights work.

The next morning as soon as i got to work, I took two regular light bulbs and glued a battery powered LED light to them. When she came in they were finished. She remarked that this never would have occurred to her. She said,”Tom you are an amazing brilliant man”. To which I replied, “Yes ma’am I really am. How astute of you to see that”. She laughed. She then cried and hugged me and then I cried. She could not have been happier. Sadly my job with her, was done.

I think how tragic it would have been if she had gone to another store or spoke with another associate. I count myself lucky was the person she asked. it is sad to imagine her walking out of the store no better off than she went in. I take great pride in having a job at a company that celebrates this type of initiative and allows me to make this opportunity into a reality.

It doesn’t happen everyday or even every month. Sometimes when I think the things I do are not important or that they don’t matter, I think back to some of the Shirleys or Edies I have encountered. It is then I am fully aware why I do what I do.

I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.

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A Stop Sign for Edie

2016-05-01 16.21.07I am Tom Nardone. I work at the Home Depot in the electrical dept. Having been there for 17 years, I have a wide array of skill sets and therefore I am one of the default people who are called upon to answer questions not known by some of the junior associates. You know because… I’m awesome.

Near the beginning of April I was called to the front of the store and asked to speak with a lady named Betty. She explained to me that the girl she was with, was her grand-daughter and her name was Edie.

They were out looking for a stop-sign because Edie desired to have one hanging on the wall in her room. I explained to her we did not carry them and was not sure where they could get this anywhere else.

I noticed that this made Edie upset and I could tell from her movements and mannerisms she was Autistic. Home Depot is, and has been for years very involved in “Autism Awareness”. This was the beginning of April which is Autism Awareness month so I decided I would take a project upon myself and make a difference in the life of another. I asked Edie, “Edie what if I was to make a stop sign for you?” she smiled very big and I was sure I would figure out how to do this for her.2016-05-01 16.21.21

I wanted to make the sign very big. It was 4 feet square and the first thing I did was to cut out the octagon. This was a challenge but I got it done because you know, Tom Nardone.

I painted it red but I was unsure at my ability to properly write out the letters. I enlisted the help of a coworker who runs the flooring dept. She got the letters traced out and began to paint them.

I tried to get in touch with Betty (Edie’s grandmother) but no matter how many times I called I was unsuccessful. I told Chris don’t worry about finishing because I had not heard back from her in a few days and I was not sure I would. A week went by then two and I had all but given up on it. I stored the unfinished sign and put it out of my head. I was very disappointed. I thought maybe she did not really want it and seeing my excitement, she just could not bring herself to tell me so.

2016-05-01 16.20.55Then quite unexpectedly today on the first of May she came back to enquire about it. I told her I would have it done by 4 o’clock and to come back.

I managed to finish the letters and the trim and it was ready.

Edie showed up with her parents and was so excited she kept asking if she could see it. I took her and her parents and her sister to the back of the store and asked them to wait while I went to get her brand new stop sign, and brought it out and put it in front of her. The look on her face was worth it all. She was so excited she seemed not to know how to behave. She agreed to have her picture taken with me. That was my favorite part.

I suppose no one would have thought any less of me if I had a month ago simply explained that I did not know where to find a stop sign. If I had simply asked them to check the internet which is quickly becoming the most common answer when people don’t know where to get things.

File May 01, 5 10 56 PM

Rarely in our lives do opportunities present themselves and just as rare are our ability to see them as such. I am unaware of how many I have missed, but I am quite aware of those I have seized.

Edie is a lovely girl and I do not see as a seized opportunity, but I do see the both of us as the beneficiaries of an opportunity not lost.

I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.

1400You can Listen to The Tom Nardone Show on Itunes or at thetomnardoneshow.com

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THE ULTIMATE HOME IMPROVEMENT

Tom Nardone

by Tom Nardone

Your first house; most of us remember the day we saw it. They day we sat in the lawyer’s office closing. We remember the day we first arrived, and for the first time pulled into our own driveway. This was what we worked for. It was another one of life’s milestones that we that we had reached. We thought about how beautiful we would make it. We looked past every imperfection, seeing them only as opportunities to make it better. We were so, careful as we moved in. “Don’t scuff the walls” or “Oh that goes here” we got everything just perfect, but shortly after the magic, we met the true identity of our home.

He was a monster and he required much of us. We were now his slaves for as long as we would own this prison.. This house that seduced us, and lured us in, with the hope of freedom, to live in a home of our own, was actually preparing our limbs to wear the shackles of life’s most concentrated, and pure forms of bullshit; “Home Ownership”.

YOUR HOUSE IS YOUR MASTER

Home improvements and repairs can make you feel you don’t own the house. The house owns you. You may not understand this yet, if you are in a new home owner, but you will. Yes! That house owns your ass, and it will eventually feel the need to establish its’ dominance over you. It will treat you like a nineteen dollar used blow up doll bought at a garage sale. Oh yes, you will feel its sting.

Your house is in cahoots with the government, the banks, the contractors, the insurance companies, and the police.

Your House is your master, and your master is at all times required to feel good. There is no negotiating this. Your master hates you, and the more you try to love it the more it will reveal its’ hatred for you. You decide one day, you want to install a new toilet. That is typical behavior for a good and obedient slave. Your intentions are good but when you begin to remove the toilet you realize that there was a leak where the toilet once was. So being a good sport you pull up the flooring only to discover that the sub-floor is rotting. You look up to the ceiling and your master says

“HA  HA  HA  that’s right slave. Make me new again. You will rue this day that ever tried to make your life more comfortable HA  HA  HA ”

You tried to serve you master, and he rewarded you by drilling you right in your fucking ass. The hardest thing to digest is the feeling that you walked in there and bent over for it.

Perhaps your master is bored one day and decides that it would like a brand new drainage system. Without warning

The Home Depot

your houses just clinches and backs up your plumbing. Or maybe it just busts the pipes and takes a shit in your crawl space.  It knows you know nothing of how to address this problem. So you drive to the local Home Depot, and hopefully talk with a kick-ass human being who knows his shit. Tom Nardone will explain to you exactly what you need, and what to do. Well your house is not worried because it knows that you will be working in the crawl space.

Your master uses the crawl space to indiscriminately allow all the fucking hooligans of nature to bed down, and have sex and multiply at will. Your crawl space is in fact your homes anus, and it welcomes your attention there like the lonely sadist deviate that it is. You may in fact get this problem fixed but you will not relax for a moment. The fear of snakes, and spiders alone drain you of any enthusiasm you might have bullshitted yourself into having. You will take the smell with you into your home. It is lose lose.

Or maybe one day when you get home from working third shift, and go home to bed, you will wake up two hours later sweating your ass off.  You get up to adjust the AC, only to discover that is 85º. Your master just said

“ah ah ah get your ass out of bed, and fix my cooling system.”

You will just do it. Your house is well aware you will not be able to put up with the heat. Your day is now spent on the phone, in the attic, or outside. Even if you know how to fix it, your house has a deal with the AC people and the government where you cannot by the Freon or the parts for this unit without a license. That’s right drilled in the ass again.

YOU WILL FINANCE YOUR DISAPPOINTMENTS

Well ok you have been busy. You have worked hard and now it is all done. Your house has caused you to make so many improvements, that you are now happy again. You might even remark to your spouse upon their completion and say “Gosh honey, look at our wonderful home that we have built”; followed by a warm hug, and a smile.

All of a sudden the doorbell rings. You walk to the door thinking “who could that be?” You open the door and it is the tax assessor. It seems while you were improving your home the real estate market was kicking ass. You were making your home and your yard look amazing and now the value of your home has gone up. Yes all the money you spent has actually resulted in you paying more money for your home in taxes. I wish I could tell you that it ends there but it doesn’t. You now need more insurance and of course those rates have gone up too. Your home sensed your happiness, and therefore had to intercede.

Weeks later the dishwasher leaks into the house and destroys your hardwood floors. This time it is three thousand dollars damage. Well shit! You don’t have that much, so you decide to use your homeowners insurance that you have been paying on for years.

They come out and inspect and two days later, they inform you that you did not elect for the water damage add-on that nobody mentioned. Sorry, but you are not covered so they are not giving you shit. However, just for making a claim that they didn’t even pay, they are well within their rights to raise your rates, They do this because now they know you consider your policy as a means to actually protect yourself. Your master is a student of the game.

If you own something then, you are responsible for it. I think we all know that the secret to happiness in life is less responsibility.

If you do own a home, hopefully your master has not rendered you helpless with no escape. If your master has crippled you to a point that you have no viable options, then there is but one path to freedom.

Currently I would love to not be tied to my house. If I were somehow certain that no one would ever find out about it, I would only then take the following actions.

I would gather up all the pictures, computers, TV ’s, and clothes, and take them to a friend’s house far away.

Then I would come back one quiet Sunday evening while the family was away on a vacation. I would climb up on the roof and cut a hole in it. As I was taking a leak into the hole I would shout down to my master, and say:

tomfire “Well…. who is laughing now you son of a bitch? I have called you master for the last time. Do you see what I am holding in my other hand? This is the last thing I will ever give you for the rest of your soon to be over reign of terror. This is a Molotov Cocktail, and I will be serving you shortly. After you are burnt to the ground;I will come home, act surprised, and maybe even try to shed a tear for the nice firemen and policemen who will have failed to save you. I will cash the check that those motherfuckers at Nationwide denied me, and after you are reduced to nothing but ashes. I am coming back and I am going to burn your fucking ashes. I will have two hundred thousand dollars in my pocket and I will own the land where you once stood. The only thing it will cost me, is your life. I am going to curse the smoke that rises from your burning corpes, and if I see anybody here trying to buy parts for salvage I will destroy them right in front of their eyes. I will make damn sure they burn and find you in Hell. YOU HAVE DRILLED YOUR LAST ASS! HA   HA  HA  HA  HHA HH AHAHA!!!”

Since I lack the sack to go through with this all I can hope for is that some asshole that really hates me will go to my house and provide this service.

I have discussed this with several people in a less theatrical setting and I was surprised at the number of people who would enjoy watching their house burn.

I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.

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They Gave Me Creative Control. Me!

Tom Nardone

by Tom Nardone

I am Tom Nardone. Many of you know that I work at the Home Depot. A few years ago in November the store was preparing for what we call a Goldcup Walk. This is when a bunch of people from the corporate office come in and look at several stores and give an award to the one who is most prepared for the #Christmas season.

I happened to be in earshot of my store manager when I heard her explain that she wanted something big this year that would really bring attention to the store. I saw an opportunity for a fun week rather than the day to day business that I do every day. I love what I do, but one of the cool things about Depot, is that  sometimes you can do projects for the store that are fun.

She wanted two things. She wanted a replica of “Christmas Town”, and she wanted “Bumble”. Bumble was the name of the Abominable Snowman from the rudolph story.

I of course jumped all over this. I told her that under no circumstances should she allow anyone to be a part of the snowman build that was not Tom Nardone. I went on and I said “look you have a choice to make. You can either let someone else spend a whole week to build you a giant disappointment, or you can let me build something that the whole community will come to the store just to see” She could see that I wanted to do it and I suppose my passion to build this thing is what carried the day. I got the gig. I am Tom Nardone and I always win.

The irony is not lost on me. I am building a character from the story of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Yes I am aware of my story where I was critical of Rudolph and rewrote the ending.  It is without a doubt, the funniest thing, in my opinion, that I have written to date. I am just going to ask that you give me a pass on that. In my story I never listed Bumble as a problem for anything.

It was an awesome experience. I got to pick a helper. Jonathan Parker a good friend of mine helped me through most of the build. I had the vision for this thing in my head from the moment I got the gig.

This is what my store manager did not fully understand. She did not understand that I am Tom Nardone, and she gave me complete and total creative control over this project. It took all forty hours of my week, and in the end as I promised, it was a work of art. I created a spot on replica of this monster. It was and I think still is the coolest thing anyone ever did for Christmas in any home depot ever at any store their ever was. To put it simply, it was perfect in every way.

I will never forget the day when John and I rolled this ferocious Christmas icon to the sales floor. I had to remove its head as we entered the lumber roll up door because it would not fit under it. We reattached the head and as this thing rolled down the main aisle, everything stopped. Everyone was standing in the aisle with their mouths open. They were in awe of this thing I had built. For customers and associates alike,  time stood still and I simply smiled as I ate all the attention up with a spoon.

We staged it prominently in front of the paint desk where it stood proudly and every person that walked by it stopped to take note of it. Almost all of them took a photo or had their kids pose in front of it.

And YES!! Of course I have a picture. Behold

#BUMBLE

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 I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome

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Smart Money w/ Tom Nardone.| Put Your Future in My Hands

dollar tomI disagree with the idea that you must save your money all your life so you can “retire with dignity”. What I do believe in; is being happy today. I place no importance on investments. Continue reading

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Cell Phone For Tom Nardone? | I would rather just have a fishhook in my ass.

Cell Phone No More

I did own a cell phone about seven years ago. I was at the point where my contract was up in three days and was set to renew automatically. I thought about it and said “Hell I guess I’ll just let it renew.” The next day was Friday. I was at work and it was fifteen minutes before I was going to leave. I had the weekend off and I could not get out of there soon enough.

Finally, it was five minutes ‘til 3:00pm, and I began that magical walk toward the time clock, I hit the clock and was on my way to the front door, and it happened. RINNNNNNNG! It was my wife she said “Tom are you still at Home Depot” I said, still at this point with a smile on my face “Yes dear I am walking out the door” She said “Well I am glad I caught you. I need you to grab a few things on your way out.” I didn’t want to do it but if it makes her happy I thought fine. I can just do it, and start my awesome weekend off on a cooperative note. I said “OK dear, what do we need?” with her next words I knew that whatever plans I might have had for a great weekend were now in the shitter. She responded “You are going to need a pen”

Here are the things that I grabbed on the way out. 25 bags of mulch, 60 fence pickets, a wheelbarrow, a hundred foot garden hose, and a bunch of other little things. For those of you not cursed with the burden of owning a home, these are the kinds of things homeowners buy to ensure that they have a real shitty weekend. Most of you know my position on yard work. Nothing gives me the red-ass like being stopped on my way out the building after I have clocked out, but after this, I was devastated. If you have ever gotten so mad that your anger turns to tears or crying, then you know how I felt. I wrote it all down and managed to push the words “I love you dear” out of my body, and then I hung up.

BROKEN CELL PHONE

My cell phone, my wonderful, fifty dollar a month, pain in the ass, heart-breaking, soul killing, cell phone,  with a fist covered in talcum powder had screwed me for the last time. After hanging up with my wife, I looked at my cell phone and smiled. I then dropped it, still smiling, and watched it go hurling toward the concrete floor of the Home Depot. My smile turned to anger and I began violently jumping up and down on that phone like a child throwing a tantrum. There were pieces of cell phone flying everywhere. When I finished, I noted that two couples that were shopping, were watching my performance. I looked at them and said “I just got some really bad news from home” They nodded as if to offer me their sympathy, and I got the stuff and went home.

I got home and went insides the house and Yvonne said “Did you get everything?” I said “yes dear, I have to go upstairs and take care of something.” I went up to my man-cave and called Sprint. I told them I would not be renewing my contract. They explained to me that to cancel my contract they would need a letter from me thirty days before the termination date.

I did not even get mad. I just said “Well it is your right to continue my service, just as it is my right to not send you any more money. I am not going to write you a letter, but I will stop sending you money. I imagine you will get tired of providing me with service before I get tired of not spending fifty dollars a month, thereby giving other people access to my ass for the purpose of causing it pain.  Believe me ma’am your services has caused me more pain today then I have time to explain.”

The Sprint lady said “Sir this will be reported to the credit bureau, and will result in a negative mark on your credit.” I said “Well of course it will, believe me many others have gone there before you. Sprint will be, but another drop of water in the Sea of Tom Nardone. So by all means, feel free to do your worst. Thank you for your time ma’am”

YVONNEI hung up the phone, and went downstairs and began the hell that would be my weekend.

Cell phone for Tom? No Thank You. I would rather have a fish hook in my ass.

I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.

 

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