Learning from my mistakes

I’ve made a mistake.

I bought a Southwest Airlines plane ticket to go back to Oakland from LA. The flight was scheduled for yesterday, January 2nd. But a few days ago, I decided to drive up with a few friends on January 3rd. I wanted to cancel the ticket on January 1st (in case the driving plans fall through), and save the ticket funds for another trip.

Well, it’s January 3rd now, and I just realized that I had forgotten to cancel the flight. Thanks to Southwest’s no-show policy, the money is gone. It’s not a lot of money (just $100), but it’s still frustrating to lose it. I should have put a reminder in my calendar for January 1st to cancel the flight. I did that for my flight in December from Oakland to LA, but for some reason forgot to do it this time around.

But I realized something in this frustration: This is what many of my clients feel like all the time. They forget appointments or meetings and suffer the consequences. They lose track of documents or files. They can’t find the office where they need to go.

Yet my clients’ experiences are far more harrowing. I don’t have disabilities that limit my ability to get around or remember something. I am not homeless and don’t have to worry about my paperwork getting stolen. And what I lost was just $100; I didn’t lose my disability benefits or my housing or my parental rights.

If I make a mistake, the loss stings, but I can move on with my life. But for so many of my clients, their mistakes can lead to devastating consequences.

I hope that this experience helps me to have sympathy for my clients for when they mess up. And that I remember to make a reminder to cancel plane tickets.

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