Lysette Mendoza, 27, of Tanauan City, Batangas did not hesitate to apply for a call center job when her close friend Joy asked her to work with her 4 months ago. Mendoza, a former campus beauty during her college years in La Salle Lipa is from a prominent Tanauan City Family. She chose to work part time just for socializing while also teaching as part time Instructor in one of Colleges in Lipa City.
Lysette work only 4 hours on mornings of Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in a special non-voice account but occasionally answers phones when needed. In her 4 months of working, she thought she only made around 15 telephone conversations with customers about billing matters.
Most of her duties focused on answering emails and calling other internal departments concerning customers’ bills. She never expected that one day her life could change.
It was Monday morning when Lysette took over a call from a customer because Jen, her seat mate took a break without logging-off so the call went through. She pulled-out the customer’s account on record and although the name looks familiar, she personally knew four people with the same name so it did not bother her.
“My Name is Lyn of (Company Name) Billing, how can I help you”, Lysette answered the call.
“Hi, I want to find out why you billed my credit card twice for a plane ticket I purchased last week”, the customer asked.
“I apologize for the inconvenience, please give me a second to check your account”, Lysette replied with an empathic voice.
While checking the customer’s record, she suddenly feels something unnatural and unease. It’s been almost a minute that she was looking at customer’s record but couldn’t think of something to explain. Jen returned but the lady told her to finish the call instead of transferring the customer to her. Lysette did not noticed that the person on the other line has been saying “hello, are you still there?” in the last couple of minutes.
“Are you still there?”, a very loud frustrated voice almost made Lysette throw away her head seat. “I’ve been asking you for the last two minutes, you put me on hold for no reason, can you please answer if you are still there”, the previous soft voice is now becoming angry and his frustration is noticeable.
“Yes, I’m still here, sorry”, Lysette responded abruptly and casually like she was teasing one of her friends while regaining her composure. “Can you please tell me now why you billed me twice?”, the customer asked the same question.
Lysette noticed that she hasn’t done anything in the last five minutes while putting the customer on hold. She panicked and asked the customer to give her more time but he demanded to speak to a supervisor. She tried to de-escalate the call but the frustrated customer is now determined to talk to someone with higher authority.
Lysette is a woman who is known to have a strong personality and situations like this are unacceptable for her, especially if she is the one to blame. Her pride did not allow her to report to her supervisor regarding a small problem. She couldn’t explain why a simple call, with a simple customer problem has becoming problematic.
She tried her best to calm the customer until he asked her. “Okay, if you don’t want me to talk to a supervisor, give me your name and I’ll give you more time to check my account”, he said. Lysette saw a little hope and immediately responded, “I’m Lyn”. “No, your real complete name”, he asked abruptly.
Most call centers do not allow agents to give their real name to customers unless it helps calm the customer so Lysette decided accordingly.
“Okay sir, my name is Lysette Mendoza, please give me two more minutes to check your records. I’ll do it quickly this time and I really apologize for inconvenience”, she said.
Lysette took her time but she noticed that the customer on the other line went on silent mode after telling him her name. “Hello Sir, are you still there?”, this time, she’s the one who’s asking. “Yes, I’m still here, take your time”, the customer responded and Lysette just raised her eyebrow and continued checking the customer’s record.
Arnel Marquez just received his credit card bill and he wondered why the airline that provided his plane ticket charged him double. He called the billing support only to spoke to a rude and careless agent.
Arnel has been in US for 6 years and is already a dual citizen. He considers himself as one of the luckiest person on earth. Arnel, a graduate of Computer Engineering from De La Salle, Lipa as full scholar, grew-up without a father and was survived by his late mother. His father passed away when he was four years old, and his mother (former public school teacher) left him right after he graduated from college due to lung cancer.
Working as a virtual assistant in the last two years of his college, his American employer who was then the HRD head of Washington State Hospital brought him to US. Since then, he worked in the said hospital as part of IT team.
His first love and girlfriend for three years gave-up on him during the heights of her beauty pageant career. Lysette Mendoza, a former Miss Batangas has been unknown to him since his unheard departure to US six years ago. His college friends were too busy and too full of Lysette during her stint; while he was too busy taking care of her dying mother. No one knows where he has been except for his close friend, Marinel, who is working in Civil Engineer’s Office.
Arnel stunned and couldn’t say a word after the agent on the opposite line told him her name “Lysette Mendoza”. He thought he heard an explosion or something.
“What happened to this woman?”, he asked himself. He couldn’t believe that someone of Lyzette’s caliber is working in a call center. He thought long ago that she’d been working like a commercial model or something. “Are you an idiot? Why are you working there? What happened to you? Are you married?”, his mind was asking countless questions but couldn’t say a word.
“Thank you very much for patiently waiting. The second charge was actually a mistake and I already sent a request to our finance department for a refund. You should see changes on your bill in your next billing cycle. Again, I apologize for inconvenience”, the agent said after taking care of everything.
Arnel analyzed her voice and he is 100% sure that he has been interacting with his former girlfriend and first love. “Hello?”, Lysette asked. “Yes, I’m still here, thank you”, he responded.
“Do you have any more question?”, Lysette asked.
“You’re still the same – authoritative”, Arnel wasn’t’ able to control himself.
“What? I’m sorry?”, Lysette asked abruptly.
“No, nothing, thank you. Nice meeting you Miss Lysette Mendoza”, Arnel responded emphasizing her name and then hung-up.
Lysette left stunned and couldn’t believe what she heard. She just realized that the man whom she has talked to was her former boyfriend but couldn’t think of any reason why Arnel was in US.
Lysette immediately logged-in to her Facebook account and searched Arnel’s profile. There are dozens of Arnel Marquez on Facebook but because they have one mutual friend (Marinel Carandang), she was able to find him. She didn’t know what to do while looking at his ex’s Facebook profile.
Lysette immediately went home after her part time job and opened again her ex’s Facebook profile. She browsed everything available. Pictures, posts, etc but decided not to contact the guy. Lysette has been loveless for nearly 2 years. She had 2 boyfriends after she dumped Arnel years ago.
She contacted Marinel later that day and asked the latter about Arnel. Marinel at first was hesitant. She asked her why she’s opening-up an issue of the past. She told her everything about the phone conversation and Marinel told her everything about Arnel – whom has been in US without returning to Philippines for more than 5 years. That night, Lysette was not able to sleep and couldn’t help herself looking at his Facebook photos.
Arnel returned to Philippines and after knowing from Marinel that Lysette is still single, he sent her flowers. The two reunited and got married after six months. Mr. and Mrs. Arnel and Lysette Marquez are now living in Seattle, Washington with their 2-month old baby boy.
This story, was featured in Love Reunited Magazine, Seattle, WA.