What would you do if you received the letter below from your pest control service provider?
To my valued customers,
In January Action Pest Control will be turning 40 years old. It seems hard to believe that I have been in business for that long.
There are many reasons for my success, first and foremost my loyal customers. I appreciate each and every one of you, whether you have been with me for all 40 years or just one year. Your trust and support have been overwhelming. My family and I thank you.
With that said, I am announcing my retirement as of October 1, 2022. I don't want you to worry about your Pest Control needs as I am putting you in very capable hands...[he included new contact information here]. Again, my family and I thank you for everything. It has been my pleasure to serve you.
Would you complain that it’s inconvenient to have to adjust to a new provider? Would you shrug it off because it doesn’t really impact you? Would you be happy for him or even care? Or would you break down crying? That’s what I did…and so did most of his clients. It caught me off guard when I felt so strongly. It felt like a deep loss. I didn’t want him to go. He was a constant in my life for decades when nothing else was. Yes, he kept pesky critters away from me and my house and he did so much more. He asked me how I was doing in a way that made me know he cared about the answer. He inquired about my mom and told me about similarities with his. He shared information from his experiences that helped me get clarity on what I was going through. He would take my security cameras down so I could recharge them. He would help me with my thermostat. Once a month, he did his work; quietly, if I was working at home; invisibly if I was gone; and on the best months, we were able to visit and discuss our families, politics, and the craziness of the world. I always felt better after he visited. His energy was so nurturing, it would hold me until the next month.
I feel guilty when I think about the times I referred to him as my pest control guy when I was talking about him to someone. I had no right to limit him to what he did for a living when he was so much more than his job title. He kept the pests in my head away as much as the ones on the ground or in the walls; he acted as one of my therapists. He was politically astute and active and challenged me to see things in a different way even though we were politically aligned. No matter what challenges I was facing he, or someone close to him, had been through similar circumstances and he would freely share how they dealt with it. I have no doubt if I called him and asked him for help with a flat tire in the middle of the night on one of the 30 days he didn’t come to my house, he would have been there immediately. He was there for me, and he was there—present, willing and open—for all his customers.
Yes, I cried when he retired. And then I wondered…who would cry if I retired? It’s different from who will cry when I die. Who have I nurtured, supported, and held space for in my work in such a way that they would feel the loss if I retired? I want that. I want to be that person. Who would cry if you retired?
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