There are some people in this world that you just can’t please.
No matter what you do for them, nothing is ever good enough.
No matter how many times THEY disappoint YOU, they’ll try to make you appear like the bad guy.
I’ve had countless numbers of people (OK, maybe not countless, but at least 25 or so) who’ve borrowed money from me without ever paying me back.
And in almost every case, I offered, “Look, if you really need the money that badly, I’ll just give it to you! I mean, if you can’t afford to pay for whatever yourself, how are you going to be able to do that in the future AND pay me back as well?”
The answer back every single time was “No!”. They always insisted it be a loan.
Always assured me that they would pay me back, either all at once or via payments over time.
And in EVERY single case, I was never paid back.
Not a solitary dime. Not by anyone.
(In fact, there was one time that I proactively gave someone some money without her ever asking for it or even hinting at it after she had suffered an unfortunate loss, and she actually paid me back when she unexpectedly came into some money shortly thereafter.)
But I have never, ever been paid back.
But some of the things I was told (as to why I wasn’t paid back) would make anyone’s skin crawl.
> > “You never lent me $1,400. It was only like $70!”
After she lost her apartment, she was basically homeless…with her young 3 year old daughter. I paid for her new apartment (1st month’s rent & last month’s rent), a refrigerator & pantry full of food, and clothes for her daughter. I specifically remember withdrawing the money from the ATM as it hadda do 7 withdrawals @ $200 each…and she claims I only lent her $70!
No, I had NO responsibility whatsoever for her situation & only did it to help her & her daughter.
I asked her repeatedly, “How the hell do you think you moved into your new place when you got thrown out of your old one for non-payment???”
> > “You want me to pay you back? Have you ever been paid back by ABC or XYZ?”
After not saying a word to me in over 9 months, I get a call from her out of the blue, asking to borrow $1,000.
I insisted on giving it to her as “you’re not gonna be able to repay me if you have trouble meeting your bills now!”. But she wouldn’t listen. Mailed her a check and even wrote “personal loan” in the Comments field just in case.
2 months later, another phone call. Another $1,000. Same story.
This time, she swears on her children that she’ll pay me back as soon as she gets her Federal tax refund in ~2 months.
When I called her in March asking if she intended on paying me back, she laid that line on me about 2 other people who we knew that never paid me back either.
“But what does that have to do with YOU paying me back? You do remember saying that as soon as you got your tax refund, you’d repay me. You even swore on your kids!”
She hung up on me.
On top of that, she was storing my refrigerator, my washer & dryer, my piano, my Grandfather clock, and my love seat in her home & garage.
Not only did I later learn that she sold them all without my knowledge/permission, but she even kept the diamond engagement ring that I gave her 2 years earlier!
In fact, she hocked my ring as well after she broke up with me over the phone one week before Christmas (a year before she borrowed the money)!
I should have guessed that she’d screw me over after I opened a joint account for us after we got engaged. I’d deposit $100 or $200 every week or so just to set some money aside. I never checked the account & it was a savings account with no monthly statements. I’d simply do an inter-institutional transfer from my Citi account to our joint account.
After about 6 months, I was checking my Citi Checking & I figured I had transferred about $2,500 into the joint account.
I finally got on-line access to the account one day & checked it.
What happened? And why?
“I don’t know. I’ve never had any money all to myself. I just spent it on stuff.”
But it was OUR money, to be used by US, even forgetting the fact that I put all of it in.
> > “But you’re a VP! You don’t expect me to pay you back!”
She had missed 2 car payments & they were coming to repossess it. I loaned her $678.
She had worked for me a few years earlier, went to work @ USAA & I happened to run into her at Bandera Bowling one night when I was on my Tuesday night league.
I took her & her gf to dinner (everything on the up & up) and she called me a few days later.
She would pay me back as soon as she received an anticipated bonus around the turn of the new year.
Then I was informed that I was a VP. Funny, I’d been a VP for about 13 years already & I certainly was a VP just a few months earlier when she asked to borrow the money.
Yes, I get it.
Never a lender nor a borrower be.
Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. Screw me 25 times, shame on stupid me.
I know, I know, I know.
I guess I just needed to get it off my chest…and make sure the whole world knows what a freakin’ idiot I was/am.
Not very different than the situation with Andy Hernandez when I took over the Sup Gate (Client Relations).
I had run the Sup Gate previously & Andy was a Sup Gate rep at that time.
This go-round, he was a Team Leader…and in no way, shape or form did he have what it took to be a Team Leader.
Not in the least.
He was incredibly immature. He couldn’t control himself from chasing all the girls around the buildings & often would leave his hill unattended for hours at a time.
One Saturday morning, I got a call at home from another Team Leader because Andy was playing music at his hill so loudly that it bothered people located several hills away from Andy’s!
When I called & asked him what the hell he was thinking, he said, “I was trying to get my reps motivated!”
I reminded him that we were a bank, not a basketball team, and that his team needed his guidance & his assistance, not his stupid cheerleading.
“Besides, Andy, they can hear that music across the CitiPhone floor & it’s bothering other teams.”
I also reminded him that it’s a fireable offense (he was subject to immediate release) for breaking corporate policy by downloading music onto his work PC & playing it through the company’s equipment.
“That little warning box that always appears whenever you sign into your PC…have you ever bothered to actually read it?”
There were a hundred different reasons why I could have fired him.
At a minimum, I should’ve placed him on a PIP/Performance Improvement Plan, a formal 3-month review period with strict, documented performance standards that if not met 100%, would leave me with NO other option that to release him.
And there was no question in my mind that he could/would never even approach the minimum performance levels necessary for him to keep his job.
So, being the softy that I am, I pulled a number of strings & had him transferred to Mohammed Shah’s CitiHelp Unit…where he could keep his current salary, keep his current officer title & basically become a phone rep (assisting branch personnel) without the need to supervise any people.
Trust me, it represented a truegift to Andy.
Keep your job, title & salary…only worry about your own individual performance…forget about trying to lead a group of 20 representatives for which youre totally incapable of doing properly.
Seemed like the best of both worlds.
About 6 weeks later, I got a visit from Albert Baladez that Andy filed a grievance against me with the Corporate Ethics Committee.
ME??? I did something unethical??? I saved your ass, you ungrateful ignora…
Not sure if I was more hurt or angry.
Everything I’ve ever done in my entire career was ALWAYS the absolute right thing for the employee, the customer & the bank.
I have fought for my people better than a Momma Bear does for her cubs!
He claimed that I “used knowledge of his personal situation against him”.
I knew that he was helping support his sick Mom. I knew that he had a part-time job at Staples or Home Depot or some place like that to help meet his expenses. I knew that he would sleep over different people’s places for a few days at a time as they came to me & told me.
I knew that, under no circumstances, could he ever possibly afford to lose his job @ Citi.
That’s when I did everything within my power to find a solution for his dilemma…especially since he was in a role in which he could never meet the minimum performance criteria, let alone be successful. The biggest mistake ever was Andy getting promoted in the first place…he never adequately demonstrated proficiency in any of the qualities & disciplines that are absolutely essential for a people leader.
I was completely shocked when I returned to assume responsibility for Client Relations that he had been promoted to officer in the interim.
And we worked hard…VERY HARD…to get him up to speed on what was needed.
Sad to say, but he simply didn’t have the required maturity nor the innate intelligence or common sense to have such an important role. He had trouble managing himself, much less be responsible for 20 other individuals.
But I was really deeply hurt by what he did to me with this complaint to the Corporate Ethics Committee.
You may not like me or agree with how I go about doing stuff.
But you will NEVER, EVER have any questions whatsoever about my ethics. Not a second of doubt.
Nor about my integrity. Never.
But I was hurt, pretty badly. And the most dangerous of all animals is the injured one.
I wrote a 24-page rebuttal oto Andy’s claim…and I took no prisoners.
I told the committee everything I had done FOR Andy & how absolutely ludicrous his claim was.
I invited them to speak with any & every Citi employee with whom I had worked over the previous 20-odd years.
Their decision to find the complaint without merit came quickly.
My hurt disappeared quickly as I continued to worry about Andy.
I’d speak with Mohammed regularly about how Andy was doing.
Nothing I heard was really encouraging, though.
About 6 months after he was transferred to CitiHelp to help salvage his career & hopefully, put him on the right path, he was fired.
He couldn’t meet the performance standards necessary in terms of quality, productivity or occupancy (the % of paid hours in which he was speaking with customers, waiting for a call or engaged in essential after-call work or research).
He never really addressed, nor changed, his penchant for hitting on the ladies & being away from his workstation.
Although his release was more than justified & it had been brewing for awhile, I couldn’t help but think of what he was gonna do going forward.
I was tempted, but didn’t reach out to him personally after his release after I believed that he wouldn’t want my help nor appreciate it.
One more story & this one involves my daughter, Heather.
After we had a fire in our home on Christmas morning (a little more than 100 days after Laurie died), Heather became enchanted with firefighting.
Soon afterwards, she became a certified EMT & volunteer fireman with the city of Helotes (an incorporated community in north central San Antonio, just a few miles from our home & right where she attended Sandra Day O’Connor HS).
I was so proud of her!
About a year or so later, she actually got a summer job working as an agency temporary for the USCC Investigations Unit, under Laura Evans (Suzy Gerfers).
One day, on her way to work, she was driving on Talley Road (one of the back ways) when she noticed the car in front of her driving erratically. Talley Road is a narrow winding two-way street.
Heather followed at a safe distance behind.
Suddenly, the car veered off the road & crashed straight into a telephone pole. Smoke immediately started coming from the hood.
Heather pulled over, called the station house, then ran over to the accident scene to render any necessary help.
She noticed that the woman driver was still behind the wheel, but wasn’t cooperating as it was obvious that she had been drinking. Heather tried to get het seat belt unhooked, but again, the lady was actually belligerent & not helping matters at all.
Heather had grabbed her safety kit when she left her car so she took out her knife & started cutting the seat belt to free the woman.
She was able to get the seat belt off the driver & managed to pull the lady to safety.
She went back to double-check if there were any other passengers or pets in the vehicle…and that’s when the hood came flying off!
Heather was clipped in the face by the metal, but not seriously injured. She stayed with the lady while an emergency crew from Helotes responded to the scene.
When they arrived, they took control of the situation & offered medical assistance to the driver & to Heather.
What I then learned (when Heather later called me) is that the woman actually filed a formal complaint against Heather for cutting her seat belt!
I was absolutely incensed & wanted to know where I should go to confront this ungrateful SOB.
Heather assured me that her Captain would be going downtown to immediately take care of this matter.
I still insisted on knowing exactly where & when as I wanted to see this drunken fool & teach her a little respect.
But Heather didn’t dare give me any information other than “Dad, my Captain is taking care of it! Please!”
He could take care of it. I wanted to take care of her…and any male relatives she happened to have with her.
As it turned out, Heather was absolved (naturally) of any wrong-doing & got herself a nice shiner to show for it.
Oh, and she lost her job.
Seems she never called into work amid all the confusion & everything & since she already had a pretty spotty attendance record as it was, a “no show, no call” led to her being released from this temporary assignment.
Yes, I could have placed a little pressure on Investigations to reconsider their decision in light of what transpired, but I didn’t want it to appear that I was exerting undue influence on another area.
In addition, I figured it was a good learning experience for her in terms of being more responsible & maintaining a better work record (instead of having this being the straw that broke the camel’s back).
I’m still irritated at that lady & can only hope that Ms. Karma paid her a call afterwards.
Like I said, there are just some people that you can never, ever please…no matter what you do for them or how well you treat them.
C’est la vie.
As always, thank you so much for listening!