Magazine Article

​Don’t Put Me on Hold!

Customer service calls needn’t be a waste of time.

Erin Poll
​Don’t Put Me on Hold!

Have you ever had to do a task that you dreaded? You know, the kind of chore you put off until the very last moment.

Mine was calling AT&T to correct a billing issue. The price we paid for the church’s phone service had been changed to a substantially higher rate. As the church’s administrative assistant, I was assigned to negotiate a lower price.

So after completing all my other jobs for the morning, I settled in for what I knew would be a long call. In my experience, a call to AT&T could involve lengthy wait times.

After a couple rings I was greeted by a computerized operator. I tried to ask for a billing agent. The computer asked about my billing issue. Again, I said, “Agent.” On the third attempt I was transferred to a billing specialist.

Finally, a Live Person

A pleasant woman came on the line and asked me to verify our account, etc. I provided the information and began to explain the issue. She responded, “Oh, I’m not the person you need to speak to. I’ll transfer you.”

I was placed on hold for several minutes. The next person, a kind-sounding man, was patient and attentive to my situation. After going through all my information, he too said, “I’m so sorry. I’m not the person you need to talk to. But I’ll be happy to transfer you.” I was placed on hold.

By that point I was frustrated. I had other things to do, and I could feel my patience waning. Knowing that I didn’t want to take my bad mood out on another person, I said a quick prayer for patience. As I finished, a brusque young man with a heavy accent came on the phone. I sometimes find it difficult to understand accents on the phone, so this did not bode well.

The young man dropped his voice a little and asked, “Do you know what a backslider is?”

Again I explained our billing issue. The young man reviewed our account and proceeded to ask me several questions.

“So, you’re a Seventh-day Adventist,” he said in a voice that sounded almost hostile.

“Yes, yes, I am,” I replied somewhat hesitantly. I didn’t see the relevance to my request.

“Do you believe Jesus is coming again?”


I was a little perplexed at this point. Weren’t they trained not to have personal conversations? Why was he so angry? Why was he asking me about Jesus and His return?

The young man dropped his voice a little and asked, “Do you know what a backslider is?”

“I do,” I said softly. “It’s someone who has left the Lord and gone back to a worldly life.” Somehow I knew this was an important moment for this young man, and I tried to tread softly.

“What would you say if I told you I was a backslider?” he asked.

“I’d say, Praise the Lord!” I exclaimed.

“Wait, what? Why would you say that?”

“Because you recognize that you’re a backslider. That means you can come back to Jesus!” I told him that Jesus would welcome him with open arms.

We shared several minutes of conversation. I knew that my words were not mine, butthose of a loving Savior. I was just the mouthpiece to present a loving message. I believe I will see this young man in heaven because when we finished our conversation he said, “Erin Poll, I will never forget you. Because of this conversation, I will be attending church this Sabbath. Thank you.”

God’s Voice

“Father, thank You!” was my quick prayer of praise. I was nearly bursting with joy and gratitude that God had used me to help someone who was searching for answers.

I have felt the joy of marriage, motherhood, life, and now, the joy of seeing Jesus working through me. I cannot describe the feelings of awe and elation at witnessing someone returning to Jesus. Try it for yourself!

Erin Poll is clerk of the Magalia-Upper Ridge Seventh-day Adventist Church in northern California.

Erin Poll