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July 2009

Story of a Job Well Done!


Below is a letter I wrote to ADT recognizing excellence in customer service for Solvana Fosdick.  I'm going to start making a conscious decision to publicly recognize the good going on in the world.  God knows we need it!  It's the 4:8 Principle.


“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”- Philippians 4:8


Join the Optimist club with me!



Dear Ms. Hickey,


I had the pleasure of being helped by Solvana Fosdick this morning and I’d like you recognize her as someone with outstanding customer service and problem solving skills.

I have been using ADT for over 10 years now and have never really had to call your office for much support.  Two months ago I had a housemate move into my fully finished basement.  Because of this I have been thinking about how to structure my alarm system to accommodate both our needs.  Four weeks ago I started calling ADT to find out what my options were about how to set up my system.  I’ve talked to at least 9 different reps in the past month to help with this process and none have been as helpful as Solvana.   


I was considering the following:


1.       What’s the cost to disconnect the system downstairs so that only the top level of the house is armed?

2.       How much would it cost to add an additional and separate system downstairs.  Could it partitioned and what costs are associated with that?

3.       How much would it cost to install another keypad in the basement and keep everything under one system?


All of the other reps I had talked to said that I would need to get in contact with the local office so that they could give me more info. on how much it would cost to disarm the basement part and compare pricing for the other options for me.  With their advice, I’ve been trying to contact my local office for the past few weeks.  I’ve called 800-811-6554 selected option 1 and option 5.  I’ve called this office 5 times in the past few weeks with all my calls going to voicemail.  Not once did I get a live person on the phone so I left 3 voicemails;   One for each week.  Completely frustrated at the non-responsiveness of your company at the local level, I considered writing the better business bureau with a complaint as well as writing my entire network on twitter, facebook, and linkedin to share my experience.  This morning I was going to call your 800 number one more time to see if I could get some support.  The rep I talked to again gave me the number to the local office and told me to call them.  I explained that that was the reason for my calling was because no one at the local level would return my call that I wanted to speak to a manager by this point.  She kept me on the line while she connected me to a live person at the local level.  That was good until after speaking with the local person for a minute I was asked to hold and then I was transferred back to the automated 800 line.  I was so frustrated at hearing the automated options come up again.  I pressed the number for having additional services added and got Solvana.  At first she suggested I call my local office but after explaining my situation I actually felt like she was the first person to hear my concern.  First, she recognized the dire situation by acknowledging that she had overheard my conversation with the other rep that I had wanted to speak to a manager.  Then she did something that the other reps did not do.  She actually listened to my situation and took ownership of the problem instead of passing the buck.  She went over my options with me and answered my questions.  To add another keypad in the basement was $184 and to partition it was another $59.  She explained that it probably wouldn’t make sense to have someone come out and disarm the basement considering it was $130 just for the first 30 minutes of this service call.  The best option was to just add another keypad considering that  it wouldn’t cost that much more.  Next, she asked what type of house I had to find out if the new keypad could be hard wired or if a wireless one had to be installed.  Since we didn’t know for sure of the parameters, she went ahead and added both types of keypads to go out on the service ticket to ensure the proper equipment was installed.  This saves ADT time and money in case the wrong one was brought.  I was impressed by her foresight of thinking ahead to avoid any future problems.   I’m happy to report that we scheduled for a technician to come out to my house next Friday to install this new keypad.  Additionally I am relieved to have this issue taken care of once and for all. 

The purpose of me writing this note is because I want you to make an example of Solvana.  She really went the extra mile to understand my situation and she kept her cool the whole time.  When I felt like all the others wanted to get me off their line as soon as possible, she was a true leader here in that she took complete responsibility of the situation and stayed with me until the matter was resolved.  It’s people like Solvana Fosdick that make a real positive difference in the world.  She is a personal of influence and I hope you recognize that by promoting her to a position where she can be of a greater influence to ADT. 

Solvana, thank you for your commitment to excellence and a job well done!  Your actions remind me of a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” 


Thank you for your time and consideration.




Kim Penaloza

Why Cycling is Like Life...


Today, I went on my 2nd ever “real” cycling ride.  When I say “real” I mean I rode on a path for more than a mile and not just up and down my street.  I had such a great time last night which was my first time riding that I was rearing to go again this morning.  I had planned on going at 7am but after praying about how I should spend my time, God prodded me to do some work this morning first and then reward myself with a bike ride in the evening.  By doing it in this order, I had something to look forward to later in my day as well as some motivation to get some work done.

Anyway, my work day ended and I excitedly took my bike to the trail to go riding again.  I was filled with such joyous anticipation.  I felt butterflies in my stomach in a good way as if I was going on a first date with an interesting prospect.   I was thrilled at the idea of riding longer and harder than my first night out.  So I get out of my car,  get my bike off the rack, put my gloves on, put my helmet on, put my water bottle in place, place the mace in my pocket, put the cell phone and keys in my bag underneath the seat, get on my bike, and start pedaling to the path.  This is where my life analogy begins.  I have a digital wireless speedometer that tracks my mileage and I’m so excited to use it but don’t know how to use it.  I tried reading the directions but it was difficult to understand.  I started pushing buttons but nothing worked so I moved on.

I’m feeling more confident today having one ride already under my belt.  I ride a little faster and enjoy a little more.  This is where my adventure begins.  I’m having a lovely time.  I can feel the breezy wind brush against my face and enjoy the fresh air of the outdoors.  I’m feeling very much in the moment.  Life should be as refreshing as a bike ride, I think to myself.  I’m very present to every sensation that I’m experiencing and am feeling grateful to be alive.  I went 5 miles yesterday and wanted to go a little further this time around.  I’m looking all around me when all of a sudden I feel a big thug on my chest.  I ran into a big moth- or rather it ran into me.  It kind of felt like a small bird hitting me.  I don’t think much of it and keep riding.  Now I feel the bugs starting to hit my face and I feel like a windshield.  That’s why it’s important to wear those funny looking glasses that cyclists wear but it was dusk and I didn’t want anything impairing my vision. 

Anyway, I’m having a good time.  I spot 2 deer off to my left in a field and another mile down I spot a rabbit to my right side.  Next I see two squirrels crossing my path.  They stop in the middle of the path and look up and stare at me.  You know how that is when you’re driving and a squirrel starts to cross the road but stops in the middle to stare at you.  They are about 4 inches from where my tires are going to be.  I can’t tell if they’re going to make a run for it while I’m crossing so I  whisper out loud “DON’T DO IT” as I close my eyes.  I pass the squirrels and didn’t feel a thump so I assume they’re fine.  A woman running towards me who heard me make the comment said that they were just waiting for me.  I laughed.  Here’s a perfect life analogy.  You never know what squirrels or other things will try to get you off your path and sometimes you hit them head on and sometimes you get lucky and miss.  Anyway, it was funny to have someone watching help me laugh at my situation.  

Now, back to cycling.  I pass the place where I turned around last time and cross a street to continue on the path on the other side.  I’m excited that I’m going further this time and don’t know what lies ahead on the other side.  I go for a while and check the time.  It’s about time for me turn around before the sun goes down.  The bugs are getting worse by this time.  I make sure my mouth is closed as to not ingest any bugs and I lower my eyelids as to minimize buggage in eyes.  I can really feel the bugs getting stuck to my eyelashes and I’m grateful for the eyelashes in helping to protect my eyes from creatures.  I think to myself next time I’ll wear the sunglasses and this will be easier.  By this time, I’ve ridden 5 miles and I’m 4 miles away from my car.  I’m going up a slight hill and decide to shift into a new gear with my left hand that I hadn’t tried before.  Wrong move because it threw the chain off my bike.  I finally figured this out when I noticed that I wasn’t going anywhere.  I got off my bike and moved over to the side and put it down.  I didn’t have any tools with me and I didn’t know what to do.  I prayed for discernment.  I messed with the chain but it didn’t seem like it was going back on.  My hands were getting all dirty from the chain.  I put the gear back to where it was when it came off and after a few more minutes of playing with the chain, managed to get it back on.  Shooo…. I was afraid I had to walk her back the 4 miles and it was getting dark.  Not a safe thing to do. 

I rode a little ways and saw the sun setting in the horizon.  It was a beautiful moment until a big bug hit my right eye.  I thought no big deal, I’m sure this happens all the time to people and I’ll just sit and continue riding and it will eventually go away.  Well, I rode with it for about a minute but my eye really hurt.  I thought I could cry it out but it was stuck.  I tried to pick out while riding but no such luck.  It was in my eye to stay.  I finally pulled over and poked my eye several times to try and get it out.  I took out my cell phone to see if I could see my reflection in the phone but it was difficult.  By this time, it didn’t hurt as bad so I think I partially got it out but something didn’t seem quite right.  I got back on my bike and rode on.  Note to self, bring a mirror, sunglasses, and a tool to help me get the chain back on easier.  A woman passed me wearing sunglasses and a white bandana covering her nose and mouth.  Smart I thought.  She’s keeping the bugs from her face.   I eventually got back to my car with no other mishaps but couldn’t help thinking about the life analogies of cycling. 

In life we have this path to travel and on the path we encounter many experiences.  Sometimes it’s exhilarating, especially when it’s a new path you’ve never been on.  Everything is wonderful and the allure of the adventure is exciting because you’re taking in the cool new experiences.  You notice things you’ve never had before.  But then the next time you get on that same path, you start noticing not so pleasant things that you didn’t experience the first time through.  The bugs of life start showing up.  Unexpected squirrels and distractions try and cross your path.  The bike or vehicle you’re using to get you through the path breaks down.  This is like how your body, when you try to make too many shifts or changes, can sometimes break down.  Sometimes you have to get off the path and take a look at what broke down and fix it before you get on the path again.  Sometimes a bug flies in your eye and impairs your vision for a while until you take that bug out.  And you experience how difficult it is to take it out without a mirror or a friend to help.  Just like life, sometimes our vision is clouded and we can’t see straight but our friends who are more objective can help us to identify and take out what’s impairing our vision so we can move on.  Sometimes you have wonderful moments in life like in cycling when you can just appreciate something as simple and sublime as watching the sun set.  But before you know it, the ride is over just as quickly as it started.  Just like our path here on earth too will end just as quickly as it started.  When you look back, what do you want to remember about your ride through life?