Today was our long day at work. Some days are downright depressing when people lie to us about why they didn't come in to make their payment, hang up on us when we call or generally act like jerks but some days present opportunities to actually make a difference. I sensed something was different with this one particular couple today when they walked in the front door and they reeked of smoke. It wasn't cigarette smoke....but like the smell from a wood stove. The husband said he needed a storage unit and as I usually do, I asked him "how much stuff did he have to store". He said "Not much, it all burnt up today in a fire." Come to find out, while he and his family were sleeping the previous evening, a fire had started in the basement and luckily he awoke to find his house filled with smoke. All of his family got out of the house but the house burnt to the ground and he was only able to save a few clothes and some other items. Both the husband and wife reeked of smoke so I can only assume that they had the clothes on that they rushed out of the house in. Thinking about that kind of makes you stop in your tracks and ponder the gravity of what they had just been through. He was in sort of a daze as I showed them a unit and then we went back to the office to do their lease. We got them each a bottle of cold water and gave them a $25 merchandise coupon so they could get some packing supplies. We gave them some extra boxes in hopes that it would help them pack up what few possessions remained. Red Cross had given them a credit card with some funds on it so they could take care of getting a storage unit.
Another family that had been in yesterday and today had recently gone through the flooding that plagued the area. Their house is ruined, due to water that reached the second story of their house. Mold has overtaken everything and massive repairs are needed before they can move back to the house. They even lost their car in the high water. They salvaged what furniture they could and are putting their belongings in storage until the repairs are completed. Another sad situation.....
Today was also a day of celebration for one of our tenants. When the economy tanked, this woman almost lost her home to foreclosure. Since she is a Realtor, she knew the steps that the bank needed to take for that process and she worked with the bank to keep it from going to that end. She was forced to do a short sale and although she lost her house, she didn't have to succumb to foreclosure. All of her possessions have been in storage at our facility and she fell behind in her payments and was very close to being in this next auction. Slowly, bit by bit she has been making payments....working very hard at selling real estate so she can make enough to keep her items from going to auction. Today she paid off the last little bit she owed and paid an additional month to get herself totally caught up. We did a happy dance for her and it was great to see the look of relief and pride as she left our office knowing that her possessions are now accessible (since she is now caught up the overlock came off her unit so she can now get in her unit) and she is back on track financially.
These are three situations, occurring over the last two days, that give Linda and I a good feeling about what we do and how we have helped some people in need. We don't get these very often but they are rewarding when they do occur. Times are tough in more ways than one. Give thanks for what you have....you never know how quickly it can be taken away !