The mysterious voice in “Field of Dreams” told John Kinsella to “Go the Distance.” I learned the meaning of that in the summer of 1998. As I drove to my office on West Main Street, I thought about a client named Jane and that we had a real estate closing that morning. Jane, who was 79, was buying a condo on the west side. The closing was going to be at a title agency on the west side. I was going to take Jane to the closing from my office.
Jane lived in an apartment on the north side of Columbus. Jane didn’t drive so she was going to have to take the No.2 bus on High Street to West Main and walk from there to my office. As I drove to the office, I thought about swinging by Jane’s place and taking her to my office so that she wouldn’t have to take the bus. But I reconsidered and thought, .. Jane is self-sufficient, she can make it to my office on her own.”
Which she did. We met briefly to review some issues and go over the closing statement. I asked her, “Do you have the certified check for the amount shown on the closing statement?” She said she did.
But then Jane left my office to go to the bathroom and didn’t return for a long time. When she finally came back, she was very embarrassed. She explained that because she wanted to make sure she didn’t lose the check, she had placed it into her bra before leaving her apartment. She told me that if her purse was lost or stolen on the bus, she would still have the check. She said that she had stripped down in the bathroom and went through her entire wardrobe to find the check. Well, somehow the check had wiggled itself out of her bra and was lost. We called COTA. They searched for the check. They didn’t find it. We drove to her apartment and retraced her steps to the bus stop. We didn’t find it.
Fortunately, Jane still had enough other funds at her bank to get a certified check. She was able to close. The check that she lost was never negotiated so she eventually got her money back.
Not long after that sunny day in June, another client, Judy, had a meeting at my office. Judy drove but never to downtown. She said she would take the bus. She didn’t want me to pick her up. She said that she often took the bus to downtown to go to the music store. Judy was a piano teacher.
Shortly before the meeting time, she called me from a payphone on West Town Street near the current COSl location. She had gotten off the bus on South High Street but couldn’t find Main Street. She was about a half mile from my office. I explained to her how to walk to my office and hung up the phone. Thinking about Jane, I thought, “What have you done?” I jumped in my car and found Judy wandering around on Town Street.
We met in my office to plan for her husband who had been admitted to a nursing home. Judy and I became close friends. She became my piano teacher.
The moral of this story is to go the extra mile for your clients. In Jane’s case it would have saved me many miles and Jane much frustration and embarrassment. In Judy’s case, it was my first step to Carnegie Hall. Judy has, however, advised me not to quit my day job.