On Saturday afternoon, I received a voicemail that made a series of worst-case scenario images come to mind as I returned the call to the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District.
Ultimately I learned that our building in downtown Elburn had a gas leak, and I was needed to provide the firefighters with access to the building. I live 30 minutes away, so the firefighters had a fair bit of time to wait for me.
I arrived assuming that they would be a bit impatient, wanting to get inside to either give the â€œall-clearâ€ or to take whatever action necessary.
The opposite proved true. As I approached them with an apology on my lips, they each responded with a kind smile and apologized to me for bringing me to the office on a weekend. Here, I am the one that should be thanking them, and their focus is on thanking me.
While waiting for a crew from Nicor to arrive, I expected the firefighters to leave and return to their station. It was not terribly cold outside, but it was chilly enough that unless one was required to, there would be no reason to stand still outside.
Yet, the firefighters remained on the scene for at least another hour after Nicor confirmed they were on the way.
Each of the firefighters who responded to the call were friendly and gracious, and represent the type of people I would want to respond to scene if I was involved in an incident of real significance.
Here is just a small example of the type of people we have serving the community. When I told them that my oldest son, who is 4, thought I was â€œbig-timeâ€ because I got to go to work to meet â€œreal firefighters,â€ they immediately responded by giving me a plastic firefighter helmet for both him and his little brother.
The firefighters also remained on the scene until Nicor showed up and determined that there was enough of a leak to warrant an immediate resolution.
Once Nicor was on the scene, I was able to see another round of excellent service and graciousness.
I had to return later that night and remain well past midnight, and the Nicor crew chief was there. As they gave me the all-clear to lock up the building, the crew supervisor thanked me multiple times and apologized for keeping me away from home. Again, another example of someone thanking me at a time when I should be the one giving thanks.
When I returned the following day at mid-morning, the Nicor crew supervisor was still there, approaching 20 hours straight at the scene. When I saw him I assumed he would appear haggard and tired, likely impatient to leave and get some rest.
Instead, he remained as friendly as the first moment he arrived at the scene, and continued to thank me and apologize for the inconvenience.
Ultimately, we had to close the office on Monday due to lack of heat as the Nicor crew ran a brand-new connection to the building. And as the week has gone on, the crew has returned to restore the property back to how it was before the entire incident began.
This small occurrence demonstrates how much of an impact someone can have with a kind word and a smile; they can turn something negative into a positive and make us thankful that we have these types of people to rely on should something really bad happen.
Thank you, Elburn firefighters; and thank you, Nicor.