ChampagneFlutesWhat comes to your mind when you read those words? For some folks, it might be the iconic exchange between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in the movie A Few Good Men. For others, it may bring up the image of valuable, hand-crafted stemware. Maybe a vision of a pristine mountain stream or lake defines those words for you.

For me, those words describe the character of a caller whom I have never met but greatly admire. I have “known” Crystal for several years now, and we did not meet under the best of circumstances. Her name showed up on my list of policies that had been cancelled, but owe an outstanding balance of earned premium to our company. It is the “not-so-pretty” side of any business…collections. We have a fairly straight-forward procedure for this task. Notices of balance due are sent to our former customers. Crystal received one of those notices in December, along with her other happy holiday mail. We sent her another notice just before the new year…not the best timing for any of us to receive extra bills, right?

And then Crystal did something remarkable and courageous. She picked up the phone and called us.

She owed a substantial amount of money on several policies. She couldn’t pay. She didn’t want the debt to get turned over to a collections firm. So she asked us if she could set up a payment plan with us, and we agreed. And she has been true to her word. Time after time after time, first with one policy, then with another, Crystal has called in her payments. This month was the final installment on the last policy. I am going to send her a thank you letter, because her faithfulness in paying off this debt is nothing short of astounding to me.

I wish she was still our customer. Maybe she will be again someday. But I know whoever gets to deal with Crystal is going to have the privilege of working with someone of sterling character. I do not know many people who would pay off a debt in such an honorable way, without wheeling and dealing, arm-twisting, whining or threats.

Crystal’s account with us is clear now, the balance shows all zeroes. But her conscience has been clear all along. Her character is clear for all to see.

So, here’s to you, Crystal! Thank you for quietly setting an example for me, and challenging all of us to live out our values in our everyday lives. May you have all the riches money can’t buy and the joy of seeing the dreams closest to your heart come true!

Do you know anyone with a “cyrstal-clear” character? I’d love to hear about them!

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