I met Mathew on my first very day at work. New-office-nervousness gnaws me like a manic itch as I watch the rest of the office going about their business and pretty much ignoring me. I am not one of those who takes to a new place like fish to water. I am, if not cold, standoffishly silent in the beginning. And yes a bit shy too.
Suddenly, a warm smile and a head full of curly hair. Good morning M’am. Coffee? Wow! He is holding a cappuccino with a letter 'P' drawn on the white froth. How did he know? I am still amazed. He just smiles broadly. From then on, Mathew and I have got along like we have always been friends. He became my lucky mascot. No morning at work begins without meeting him first and sharing a few words. I have rarely met someone happier or with a warmer smile. And yes, he speaks English with no trace of any 'MTI' what so ever. Soon he became my poster boy for what Customer Service is all about.
This is his story. Mathew was left at a church in Mangalore when he was about 18 months old. He doesn’t remember his family and was brought up in the orphanage run by the church. Mathew is also partially autistic and was diagnosed with major impairments in basic social relationships, limited imagination and extremely rigid patterns of behaviour. He has no formal education and has been trained by the Spastic Society through whose rehabilitation program, he found work as an office assistant. I stumbled on his story a few weeks after I met him, when I proposed moving him to a mainstream admin function. Apparently, he has a history of violent episodes which disqualifies him from ever being given larger responsibilities.
But somewhere, I feel all of them have got him all wrong. His benefactors, his doctors, his trainers, his family, even. If one looks into his eyes, one can surely see the genuine human being, that the rest of us can only hope to be. Live Long Mathew and keep making the world an awesome place for people whose lives you will touch!