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.

Help me. I can only spread so much bullshit by myself.
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Confessions of a TV Addict

yvonne nardone

by Yvonne Nardon

I never thought I could give up my cable box, or my DVR. I loved that I could tape all my favorite TV shows and would eagerly wait for them to be recorded. TV was my best friend. I would even watch TV and search and record for stuff that was playing so I could get an uninterrupted fix of recorded commercial free TV. At one point I was having conflicts on how many shows I could record during the same time slot. I even started recording late night talk shows because there wasn’t any conflict. Even though I didn’t like the talk shows that much, but at least they fed my habit until I could get the real junk in my veins.

yvonne in prison

Yes I was a full blown addict. I would lie cheat and steal to get my shows. I hogged up the recording  so much that my family got shorted and had to get their own box. I even secretly recorded the Kadashians and would delete it quickly so that they  wouldn’t  how far gone I was.

syringe - upMy intervention came when I opened the cable bill instead of throwing it in the trash. I set it up on auto pay to avoid the sting of having to look

at the bill each month. When I opened the bill it hit me like a bolt of lightning. Lightning turned to anger, and then anger turned to regret. I Knew it had to stop.

Like stages of grief I was in denial about the bill. I even started to bargain with the “SYDCC” to try to get my bill lowered. As hard as I tried, in the end i was not doable. With the help of my husband I canceled my entire TV service.

I’ve been clean for one week and so far I’m OK. I still have Netflix until that runs dry. So far  I’m satisfied. I’m going to get an antenna to watch to news and that’s it. I will miss my friends; Ellen, Chelsea, and the new fall line up, i will make it though, one episode at a time.

At last I’m free. I fired cable TV.

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My Wife is Just Wrong

 My Reasoning is Infallible, I Am Tom Nardone

tom1My wife has a word that she likes to throw around. I get it, and my father-in-Law, George gets it worse than me. The word is “Cheap”. It doesn’t really bother either of us. I just don’t get why certain things are so important to my wife.

OK, I have a man-cave above the garage. It is the place where I go to play with my toys. It is my room. It is my sanctuary. The deal we made when we moved in was I make every single decision about this room and she gets the entire rest of the house. Please, don’t think me generous, I simply don’t give a damn about any other room. One summer we got an electric bill for 280 dollars. I almost went Spartacus, but a couple of hours of crying, and I calmed down and accepted that we would just pay it. The following day I came home with 2 AC window units (one for me, and one for Brett) and shut off the central air. This apparently was a problem because she said it was against some Home Owner Association covenant. Well, we live in the cul-de-sac. So that rule obviously doesn’t apply to us. Yah. You just let them to say one word, I will buy red lights for every outside light we have and light this place up like the “Amityville Horror” house. She raised Hell every day when she got home, saying how awful it looked in the front of our house. She even called her air conditioning guy to see if we were even going to save any money. He said “Not a chance in Hell” Well I am happy to tell you that those 2 window units in the heat of summer run constantly and we pay 100 dollars less than we ever did with the central air. HA!! Game, Set, and Match. Tom Nardone Here.

One of my other favorite songs on the “Yvonne’s Greatest Hits” album is this one. Over the course of a period of a year my windshield wiper blades were wearing out. I put off getting new ones until one day I was actually looking through a small thin area on my windshield that was the only place I could see out of when it was raining. I stopped on the way home that day and went in to get some wiper blades. Well, I did not want to spend 10 dollars on a pair of windshield wipers. So I bought one single wiper blade. My wife and I were going to the movies the next day. We got ready to leave and she said “Oh!! I don’t want to drive us there. Did you get your wiper blades fixed” I said “Hey! We are good” We got in the car and got on the road and she couldn’t believe what I had done. It was raining very hard and we were doing about 35mph by the time she looked up. She said “Tom I can’t see a thing” I said “Well you have driven this road a thousand times, is there something you wanted to look at?” she said “Damn it Tom! Please tell me that you didn’t drive all the way to Advance Auto, and put yourself out by taking care of your car, and then you get all the way to the register and whimp-out of splurging for 2 windshield wipers” I explained to her how bad it sounded when she says it like that. I told her, ”OK Yvonne, Look! I am driving and I can see fine. I have a perfect wiper blade over here. I am the driver. Therefore I am the only person who needs to see out of this window. The only thing you have to worry about is running out of stuff to yell at me about.” The ride home wasn’t much better.central system.

4311105154_33d6f738baAnd then there is also the gas issue. Back before my wiper blades wore out, my truck was perfect. Yvonne even drove it sometimes. She asked me to put gas in the truck on the way home from work one day because she needed it the next day, so I did. She asked me the next morning, if I remembered to gas up the truck and I told her yes. 3 hours later she got back and said “I thought you put gas in the truck” See the problem was that I only put about 5 dollars in. She thinks that I should fill it up every time. She said “It’s on empty!!! How much did you put it in” I thought she was going to die when I told her 5 dollars. She said (after a long pause) “WHY?” I explained it to her and she didn’t get it. I said “When I am standing at the pump, 1 of 2 things happen. One, I get bored standing there doing nothing waiting on a pump and so I say, good enough and just end it. Or two, sometimes when I am watching the numbers change I come to a realization that those numbers actually represent dollars flowing out of our bank account and that just plain pisses me off.” She bit her bottom lip, regained her composure, and then said very calmly in a very eerie voice, “Tom, where was it you said you need to go this afternoon?” I said “I was going to go to GameStop to pick up a new video game for my Xbox” she said “OH, OK, I was worried you had your priorities screwed up. Have a good time” and then she just left the room, leaving me in the den by myself, alone and, in silence. Now you tell me. “Does my wife not kick total ass or what?” I went out, and got the game and salvaged what could have been a terrible day.

I will stand by the decisions I have made. I am Tom Nardone. I am awesome. I am smarter than the Air Conditioner Guy, and my life is no less abundant as a result of the choices I have made. So bring it on world, what will be the next thing you have that I will not pay for?

I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.

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Help me. I can only spread so much bullshit by myself.
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