Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Most People Only Dream of Angels, but We have Held One in Our Arms

While I cannot take credit for the title of this blog, (we all know, I am not the writer in the family and if I write something, it's usually to the tune of a well known song, I sing it in a cartoon voice, and I make up the words as I go along) it is the Angel's Hands Foundation slogan, I can testify that I have truly held an angel in my arms. Today, I said good bye to that angel. Our Heavenly Father has called my 7 year old nephew home after a two year battle with brain cancer. He is no longer suffering and I know I can see him again someday.

So, Daniel, I will miss you. I love you and I look forward to our happy reunion someday.
Daniel was such a special spirit. He had a life that was filled with heartache and sorrow for the time he was a little baby he has fought. If there ever was a child who had it pretty crappy from the very beginning, it was Daniel. In spite of all odds against him, he fought and fought. The most amazing thing was the attitude in which he fought. It is this attitude that I would like the focus of this post to be. 
One of Daniel's trials in life was when he was going through chemo treatment, he didn't eat much. Daniel with his imagination and a little help from his Grandpa Lawrence and other's around was able to turn almost anything he had to endure into a game. For example, his feeding tube. He thought it was silly to drink chocolate milk through his nose. Another example is Daniel had to do some mouth washes because of sores that developed. Grandpa Lawrence made him a "Swish Chart" where he got to put stickers on it. He hated the mouth swishes, but the stickers won out. 
In August 2010, he was granted a wish by a great organization, Make-A-Wish Foundation. He got to go to Disneyworld and meet one of this favorite characters of all time, Lightning McQueen. 
One of my favorite stories of Daniel was from August of last year. He was at R.C. Willey's, a furniture store in Utah. Daniel asked one of the salesman how he was doing. The man said things we're going so well and he was having a bad day. Daniel corrected the man and told him it was a great day. The sun was shining and Daniel was happy. Mind you, Daniel was in a wheelchair and bald from chemo. The man corrected himself and said he was right and it was a great day.
Another example of Daniel's imagination is his visits to the space station, or radiation visits as us untrained astronauts call it. He, I think, actually looked forward to the Astronaut Doctors. There he got to wear a space mask (oxygen mask) that was Strawberry scented. When he would wake up from his astronaut nap he would  he would talk about the planet he visited. Usually it was Mars because it's Red and that's his favorite color. There were times he actually looked forward to it. This just shows me that everything can be turned into a game and have a positive spin on it, no matter the outlook and how bad it is.
Eat Your Heart out Peter Breinholt,
he rocked with me first.
Kids aren't spoiled, they are just so loved. However, spoiled wasn't a term that was used around Daniel, Daniel wasn't spoiled he was just really really loved. Around Christmas time in 2010, the Orem LDS Seminary wanted to follow our Savior's example and "go about doing good." They sent Daniel 22 Christmas cards each written to Daniel, and custom decorated and written. Daniel was so happy with all the cards. His comment was, "I am so loved." Yes Daniel, you are so loved. At one point in the hospital, he was receiving gifts on a daily basis. They were a good distraction. At one point when Grandma Jan showed up Daniel asked, Did you bring me anything...I just love to be loved."

Daniel also taught us to not take things personally. Kids say the darnedest things. He often attended Kindergarten through Skype. Once a couple of boys asked him if he was a robot because he was in a computer attending class. 
He was also very found of saying Cancer Sucks. He wore a badge that said so and would wear it and point it out to people. He was very courageous.
Daniel loved to get a reaction out of people. He would often think of things that would just seem gross to get a reaction out of you. One of his favorite things to ask someone, especially his nurses because he was a ladies' man was, "What do you think of pickles and onions on your cake?" He would also like to say, "trick or treat, smell my feet" and then proceed to put his feet under your nose if he could. 
All homes need to be filled with love. Daniel loved to love. One day he felt Grandma Jan's home needed more love in it. So they cut out hearts and plastered the entire house with love. It was really sweet, and those hearts have stayed up for a long long time. I think there are still a few of them hanging around and it's been over a year.

Now if I haven't lost you or bored you yet, I think this post is really for me, it's kind of therapeutic, just to show you how wise my nephew was I leave you with this story. When we found out the cancer was back and was aggressive, his Mom and Dad planned a trip to California to spend what little time they had with them creating memories. Many of my best childhood memories were of me with my family and aunts and uncles at Disneyland, memorizing the Ghost Host at the Haunted Mansion, racing the canoes around Tom Sawyer's Island (we'd have our own canoe), and eat Monte Cristo Sandwiches at the Blue Bayou. So, when they told us they were going to California and going to Disneyland, no way was I going to let a nephew of mine go to Disneyland without me at least once. So Beth, Alyssa and I packed up our bags and spent the week in California with my family and then going to Disneyland a few times with Daniel. While we were there Daniel started to do something that showed wisdom beyond his years and gave me an idea that he knew his time on this earth was short. When you would say to him, "I love you Daniel" he would respond, "I love you too, love each other." He would say it to anyone who said, "I love you Daniel." 
With that, I love you Daniel and I will do everything I can to love others. You are gone, but not forgotten. You are loved and will be missed. I look forward to when we can be united again, so I can be an influence in your life. Someone has to Uncle No and keep you in check right? Good bye Daniel. The time we spent with you at Disneyland and getting to ride Autopia with you, will be a memory I will cherish forever. Thank you.
PS. I didn't proofread this, so sorry if it's horribly written.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Social Media Marketing Seminar

Yesterday I attended a Social Media Marketing Seminar in Salt Lake City for work. It was interesting and I learned a few things on how to better utilize LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for our business needs. Much of whatever I learned I had read in a couple of other books, most recently in the Thank You Economy and Delivering Happiness. However, one important fact that I did learn was there are approximately 7,000 more Star Wars Fans on Facebook than there are Star Trek fans on Facebook within 50 miles of Salt Lake City.
This conversation had started because the instructor had asked if there were any Trekkies in the room. I pointed out that Trekkies consider it a derogatory term and they prefer Trekkers. I referred to them as Trekkies the rest of the seminar. One person raised his had. I mentioned she should have asked about Star Wars instead. Later, when going over Facebook and finding people with like interests she went back to the Star Trek reference, and searched for Star Trek fans in Salt Lake. The number was a little over 5,000. She was about to move on when I said, "You have to check Star Wars now." She did and the number was over 12,000, which I replied, "Winning!"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Fitting Obituary for My Grandpa

Raymond Paul Horspool Sr. (1920 - 2011)


RAYMOND PAUL HORSPOOL, SR. Longtime resident of Riverside, passed away on March 13, 2011 at the age of 90. Ray was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 21, 1920 to George and Kathryn Horspool. While in early childhood, Ray\'s family moved to Los Angeles, California. Ray attended David Starr Jordan High, graduating at 16 years of age and was valedictorian of his class. Ray enrolled at UCLA in Sept. of 1938 and was in the first Naval ROTC class from which he graduated in June, 1942. After graduation from the Naval ROTC program, Ray was immediately commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy and shipped out to join the war. On June 24, 1942 Ray began his first assignment as an Assistant Gunnery Office aboard the USS Lamson. While attending Ordinance and Gunnery School in Washington, DC, Ray met Margaret Farley. Ray married Margaret on August 26, 1944. At the end of World War II. Ray returned to UCLA and graduated in 1949 with a degree in Chemistry and became an Agricultural Chemist. He accepted a job at the UCR Citrus Experimental Station and moved his family to Riverside. When the Korean Conflict broke out, having a sense to serve his country, Ray returned to active duty in the Navy and served as an executive officer aboard the USS Massey. In 1952, at the end of the Korean Conflict, Ray returned to Riverside, his job at UCR and the Naval Reserve. Ray ran the Naval Reserve Unit in San Bernardino, CA during the Vietnam conflict overseeing the training of the reserve units that were shipped out to Vietnam. Ray retired from the Naval Reserve in 1973 with the rank of Captain. In 1955 Ray began his 30 year career at FMC from which he retired in August, 1985. During his time at FMC he developed several new processes in the application for and the preservation of fruits and vegetables. Ray proved to be invaluable to FMC during his employment with the company. Ray was a prominent figure in the citrus industry in the United States and around the world. Ray was an enthusiastic genealogist, an avid gardener, a devoted husband and father and an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is survived by his second wife, his nine children, 29 grandchildren and 37 great grandchildren. A memorial service to honor Ray will be held today, Saturday, April 23, 2011, at 2:00 pm at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 181 E. Blaine St. in Riverside. Ray\'s interment was in Roanoke, Virginia on March 22, 2011 with full military honors and next to his first wife Margaret.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Attention Companies: The Right Hand Needs to Know What the Left Hand is Doing

The other day my wife gets a phone call from someone claiming to be a T-Mobile rep. This person told her how he could help us save money on our phone bill and get her a free MyTouch 4G. She told him she would talk to me when I got home from work, and then call him back. He gave a number we could contact him at and that was that. I got home and she told me about this, and the first thing I think is it sounds too good to be true, and it must be scam (that's just the way I think, if it's too good to be true, it probably is). I researched the phone number, and from the sites I checked, it sounded fishy. Not one to let a good opportunity pass me by, I get on chat with a T-Mobile rep to confirm the number is good or bad. To add to the mix, part way into the chat, I call the number and got a rep on the phone, stating they were with T-Mobile.

Here is the ensuing chat. My comments are in parentheses. (The names of the reps have been left out as well as some information I didn't want floating around in cyberspace).

Gary: Hi, quick question. we got a phone call from someone identifying themselves as a t-mobile rep 
Gary: the phone number they wanted us to call them back @ was XXX-XXX-XXXX. Is this legit? 
Agent: Hi Gary , welcome to T-Mobile live Chat. I’m (Agent X) and I will be happy to assist you. Please give me a moment to review your question. 
Agent: Are you a current T-Mobile customer? 
Gary: Yes. 
Agent: Ok. 
Agent: Please verify your mobile number. 
Gary: XXX-XXX-XXXX is mine. My wife's is XXX-XXX-XXXX. 
Agent: Thank you. 
Agent: Please verify the last four of the SSN on the account. 
Gary: XXXX. 
Agent: Thank you. 
Gary: However, I was told my name was put on the account so I could discuss it last time I called in. 
Agent: Your name is on the account, however we do need the last four of the SSN to verify the account as well. (I was annoyed at this point because I had already entered in all this information before I started the chat).
Gary: k 
Agent: Thank you. 
Agent: Please allow me 2-3 minutes. (This actually took 8 minutes)
Gary: k 
Agent: Thank you. 
Agent: I have looked into our center wide directory and I do not see this number, nor do I see an out bound call made to you on your account. 
Agent: I would not make the return call to this number. 
Gary: Hmm...interesting. Okay. thanks. (This is when I place the phone call to the number that is suppose to be a scam). 
Gary: the message they say is they are t-mobile rep 
Agent: You are most welcome! 
Agent: It must be a scam. 
Gary: saving me money for preferred customers. (Listening to the message with the phone tree). 
Gary: can you look up one more number? (I explained to the person who answers, what I'm doing and that I'm told they are a scam, she then is great and trying to alleviate my concerns and get the person I know to be with T-Mobile to confirm).
Agent: Yes, 
Agent: Yes.* 
Gary: it's the courtesy department. 
Gary: says it's for the winback line (I'm basically repeating what the phone rep is telling me)
Agent: Please allow me 2-3 minutes. (More like 5). 
Gary: k 
Agent: Thank you. 
Agent: This number is not matching either. 
Agent: Are you still there? 
Gary: yes 
Agent: Is there anything else we can assist you with today? 
Gary: nope 
Agent: Thank you for contacting T-Mobile Chat, have a great day! 
Gary: have you heard of the outbound project? 
Agent: One moment please. 
Agent: Unfortunately I do not know of this. 
Gary: what about this refid? XXXXXXX her name is (Agent on phone). she works in telesales. (It should have been Rep ID).
Gary: That is who I'm on the phone with right now. 
Gary: anything? 
Agent: Gary, you are unable to be on the phone and chat at the same time. (Pretty sure I am, duh). 
Agent: If you are on the phone with telesales this is a different department than I am in. (Ya think?)
Gary: is that repid a t-mobile rep? 
Gary: *Rep ID? 
Agent: Unfortunately I am unable to release another reps information. 
Gary: so she is a rep is what you're sayin.. 
Gary: Therefore the number i gave you early MUST be a t-mobile number...correct? 
Agent: I did not find the numbers you listed about in our center directory. 
Gary: that's not what I was asking, I need to know if it is a t-mobile number, so I know I"m not being scammed. 
Gary: do you have a number for telesales? 
Agent: The number for telesales is 1-800-TMOBILE. (The phone agent tells me that just goes to Customer Service). 
Gary: do you have a manager I can chat with? 
Agent: Please allow me 2-3 minutes. (Time was about right here, but didn't get what I wanted).
Agent: I have spoken with my coach, I am unable to provide you with account information, however I can see your account has been accessed by one of our T-Mobile reps. 
Gary: Was her name (Name of Phone Agent here)? 
Agent: I am unable to release personal information. (Really? You gave me your real name, I hope). 
Gary: Seriously? So, this "tmobile" rep calls me and tells me to call a number that you've never heard of to get a good deal on a phone and our bill, that sounds like a good idea, but I have reservations, and you can't help? 
Agent: I can tell you however that the account was access properly and it is not a scam. 
Gary: okay...so that number is a t-mobile number. 
Agent: Yes. 
Gary: So 30 minutes later, we're good now. (I went with the chat method thinking this thing would take about 5 minutes, at most).
Agent: Yes we are. 
Gary: it was t-mobile and I can work them. 
Agent: Yes you can. 
Gary: Thank you very much. 
Agent: You are welcome! 
Agent: Is there anything else we can assist you with today?
Gary: Nope

A nice example where the company's right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. It sounds like T-Mobile has a good program in place for customer retention. I've been with T-Mobile for over 7 years now. I like them have had good customer service experiences with them in the past. However, this program is being rendered useless by those of us that don't want to be scammed. I went to a source that I knew for a fact was T-Mobile and they couldn't validate the number was good for 30 minutes. Had I not been stubborn and really tried to find out what was going on, and thanks to the agent on the other end, who was a delight to work with, even before I verified she was with T-Mobile, I would have given up and the program would have been super ineffective.
Did I get the MyTouch 4G that I really wanted? No, because it would have required getting my wife a data plan, and my plan wasn't up yet. She doesn't want a data plan, nor would she use it. Me on the other hand would love that phone, or that new LG G2x. (Sorry Damon, until Motorola gets a better phone with T-Mobile, I probably won't get another one. I don't like mine anymore). I voiced my frustration with the AT&T transaction that I'm hoping doesn't go through, but probably will. So we'll see what happens. Although for now, I hope you companies out there realize the importance of communication in a company.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Everything I Need to Know about Customer Service I learned from Star Wars....

I've been thinking a lot about Customer Service lately. My company had myself and others in my department read Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh and now the Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck. Tony=Humble & Gary=Conceited. However, I have enjoyed both good books and both make good points, but I digress. However, I got thinking tonight that Star Wars really taught me all the lessons I need to know about Customer Service and I could have saved a lot of time had I realized this sooner. Instead of reading those books, I can just apply and teach my agents the following concepts. It's a long list, but it's shorter than the books. I've added my comments in parentheses.

  • Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.
  • Anger, fear, and aggression lead to the dark side
  • You must follow your own path, no one can choose it for you
  • Keep your promises, even if they take you far, far away
  • Pass on what you have learned
  • Wars (arguments) do not make one great
  • Faith in your friends is not a weakness
  • In your pursuit of peace and justice (and good customer service), remember, the Force will be with you…always
  • Mind what you have learned, save you it can
  • Don’t give into your anger
  • Don’t make old people angry, they might just electrocute you
  • You will find many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.
  • Just when you think there is no more hope, alas, there is one more.
  • Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. (embrace the unknown and enjoy your job)
  • If all else fails, angle the deflector shields (sounded like good advice)
  • Control, control, you must learn
  • Let go of your conscious self and act on instinct
  • Don’t give into anger
  • Don’t always look to the horizon. Keep your mind on where you are and what you are doing.
  • Stay on target.
  • Your insight serves you well
  • Remember, your strength flows from the Force
  • You must do what you feel is right
  • Patience…you must have patience.
  • Let go of your feelings
  • Only Sith deal in absolutes
  • The force will be with you, always
  • Your ability to speak does not make you intelligent
  • Mesa call Jar Jar Binks. Mesa your humble servant
  • The biggest problem in the universe is no one helps each other. (change it, Anakin did)