It all began with a loud pop and a burned thumb.

What began?  Compassion for the vacuum cleaner.

Previously, the vacuum just hung out in the closet, occasionally seeing the light of day to help clean. Then back into the closet.  Nobody really cared.


On this particular Saturday, the vacuum succumbed to being treated badly (having its plug pulled from a distance).  It stopped working and snapped back at me. A burn smell filled the house.  My thumb singed.

I put the vacuum in the car and headed off to the closest vacuum repair shop – a new place for me. There, a rather gruff woman informed me it would be 5-7 working days and at least $85 to fix the cord.

Feeling a little uneasy, I gave her my vacuum.  As if I left my child with a questionable sitter.

As I drove home, I recalled a vacuum shop from my past, up on Michigan & 106th Street, Ace Vacuum.  I felt good about that shop.  Although, the strip mall where it was located burned down last year during an electrical storm. I called to see if it was back in operation.  It was!

Back home, I shared the whole situation with my daughter.  A rather mortified look came over her face that I would leave our vacuum in the hands of someone questionable.  I felt like I sold out the family.

She said, “I’ll come with you to rescue Vacuum.”

Notice, Vacuum has suddenly become part human.

We parted quickly.   Racing to make sure not too much harm was befalling our Vacuum.  I walked in and explained I wanted to reclaim our vacuum and take it to someone who could repair it sooner (and for less which I didn’t share).  The gruff woman doubted my claim, but I wasn’t going to be intimidated.

The very kind man at Ace fixed Vacuum in 15 minutes for half the price.   I felt good about the whole experience.  I am now forever a loyal customer.

This story tells me a lot about customer service.  It also brings to awareness how when someone (or thing) suffers and we know about it, it changes the relationship.

When we know someone needs help, people often rush in.

What prevents that kind of compassion when things on the surface appear okay?

BTW, Vacuum currently has a rather majestic place in the entryway.  And, for now seems to be more part of the family.