This is the tale of Leo, a worker navigating the challenges of the COVID lockdown. It all began when his company issued a notice to clients stating that they would only undertake occupied repairs in cases of emergencies. But as always, one client thought the rules didn’t apply to them.
The Mysterious Request
Within a week of the lockdown, Leo received an unexpected request from a client. They insisted on an occupied repair to fix a hole in their wall, and they wanted Leo to retrieve an autographed baseball that had mysteriously found its way inside!
Eager to fulfill his duties, Leo paid a visit to the leasing office the following morning, seeking some information about the task at hand.
Unfortunately, the details provided were sparse, leaving Leo in the dark about the hole’s location and what he was about to encounter. All he knew was that the resident wanted the ball back desperately because it was autographed and supposedly quite valuable.
Additionally, they wanted him to keep the repair as minimal as possible since the resident would foot the bill. Little did Leo know what awaited him – a challenging resident, to say the least.
Leo made his way to the apartment and introduced himself to the resident, only to be greeted with rudeness and disdain. He tried to assure her that he was capable of fixing the wall, but she simply slammed the door in his face.
Feeling frustrated, Leo returned to the leasing office and recounted the encounter to the assistant maintenance supervisor (A.M.S.). The A.M.S., well-acquainted with such situations, sighed and said, “Here we go again. Let’s go. I’ll talk to her.”
Together, Leo and the A.M.S. approached the resident, determined to find a resolution.
Despite her initial resistance, the A.M.S. convinced her to let Leo carry out the repair. With a disapproving look, she reluctantly granted them entry.
Leo began his work by spreading out drop cloths and plastic, preparing the area for the repair. He enlarged the baseball-sized hole, enabling him to see and feel around in search of the precious ball.
However, as Leo examined the wall more closely, he discovered that it was a staggered wall—an architectural design featuring two walls with an inch of space between them, often used for noise reduction or concealed plumbing.
This meant that finding the ball would be a daunting task.
Leo shared his findings with the A.M.S. and explained that he would need to open the wall even further to have any chance of finding the baseball. The A.M.S. went to negotiate with the resident, but all Leo could hear were her furious shouts echoing through the apartment.
“I DON’T GIVE A DAMN IF HE HAS TO OPEN THE ENTIRE WALL! I WANT THAT DAMN BALL!” Moments later, the A.M.S. motioned for Leo to step outside while he made a phone call.
Leo’s boss called a minute later, giving him a clear instruction: “Once you receive the green light, do whatever it takes to find the ball and keep track of your time.”
Leo’s Mission to Open Up the Wall
That was when the gravity of the situation dawned on Leo, and he realized he was about to embark on an extraordinary journey – to open up a wall in pursuit of a single ball! The property manager arrived, holding a document that the resident had signed, granting Leo the authority he needed to proceed.
Leo began dismantling the lower half of the wall, carefully removing insulation and scouring every inch in his quest. After what felt like an eternity, success finally came knocking.
There it was, wedged between the plumbing and a neighboring wall stud – the elusive baseball.
Anger and Ingratitude
Eager to share the good news, Leo informed the resident that he had found the ball, expecting gratitude and appreciation. However, her reaction was far from what he had envisioned.
She erupted in anger, conveniently forgetting her previous nonchalance toward the state of the wall! The A.M.S. promptly reminded her that she hadn’t cared about the extent of the repairs when she demanded the ball’s retrieval.
True to his word, Leo closed up the wall, leaving no trace of the task he had just undertaken. Unbeknownst to the resident, the document she had signed ensured that she would bear the full cost of the repairs.
Consequently, what should have been a $200 job ballooned into a $1000+ expense! To add insult to injury, the autographed baseball turned out to be worthless, its autograph belonging to college players who never made it to the pros.
Perhaps, in the end, the resident would learn a valuable lesson from this escapade.
What do you think of Leo’s story? Have you ever been in a similar situation where a customer wanted something despite how unreasonable it was?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pop Paul-Catalin. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.