In my last blog I shared the mystery of the painting man…. read about it here: “I might’ve just been scammed.”
The tale continues…
On Monday morning, I got a call at 9:05 am from my painter—the bank will not cash the check I wrote to him. UGH!
My first thought is “oh no, I overdrew the family account again.” I am known to do this with all the multiple accounts and shuffling of money back-and-forth between our business and our personal accounts. But the cash is always there, just in the wrong place at the wrong time so they usually cover it for me… so what was up? I called my bank immediately and realize he’d gone to a different branch where the tellers don’t know me. My branch assures me that all is fine but that it is bank policy not to just cash a check from a stranger without approval from the account holder, so the check is refused.
That was a nice thing to learn – they were looking out for me. (I have to add that my painter did look a little rough – well OK, a lot rough, a little dirty and a livin’ in his van kinda guy.)
I know by now you’re thinking “did you need more red flags?” but something inside me just kept moving forward. I called the branch directly and asked them to release the funds and cash the check. The universe was actually giving me another out, a second chance to stop the project but I moved forward.
And then I waited.
I waited the entire day for him to show up. I called the local paint store and describing him, asked if he had shown up – nope, no sight of him. Ok so I was scammed…. shame on me.
Then wait … is that a white van? Mid afternoon he arrived with 1 gallon of paint and a roll of plastic drop cloth. He stayed for about 40 minutes and left.
This schedule went on for a couple days and a three day job began looking like it may never be finished. I kept reaching out to him requesting his status and update on time. I always got a very polite and courteous response. The guy was either lying to me or had the worst luck of anyone I’ve ever met – a speeding ticket delayed his arrival, then he had a flat tire and asked for me to pay another hundred dollars toward the painting in order to replace the tire (which I did not), and then another job took longer than expected. I continued to give him the benefit of the doubt. Now it was not only costing me money but an exorbitant amount of my time and energy.
I had a very strong sense that he was trying his best. My faith in him had grown but also did my frustration. I believed he was going to finish but it might take six months.
I did not fire him instead I kept working with him. He’s an incredible painter, very clean and very fast when he is working so I kept justifying that he was sort of worth the effort. As I saw we were getting close to the finish line, I told him that today was the day he was finishing. He didn’t arrive until 4 PM and I sat with him in the bedroom, chatting with him and basically holding him hostage to complete the job.
I learned a lot…
I learned that he was adopted and that he was an only son. I learned that his mentor, the painter I’d always used, took him under his wings before he could even drive. I learned that he appreciated the entrepreneurial lifestyle and the flexibility part of it a bit too much. I learned he was from a family of hard workers. I learned that he tried marriage once and even though he was barely 35 years old, he hadn’t found his life’s mate yet. I learned that he respected my home and was very attentive to detail and took pride in his skill. I learned that he was raised by a very loving mom and dad who were still married. I learned that he needed to go to the dentist. I learned that he smoked and knew right from wrong. I learned that he had a high school education and was proud of his alma mater and that he had a strong sense of family and community.
He was very rough around the edges, he was a bit dirty and actually he didn’t live in his van and I’m glad I listened to the nudge in my gut that said “keep going, he can do it.” By the time he finally finished, it was almost 11 PM but the job was done! I got to know him, grew to like him and even gave him a tip. As he was about to walk out of the door of my house, he turned around and looking me in the eyes, he shook my hand. He said God bless and thank you. I, in fact, did not get scammed instead I got an abundance of quality work done in my home, learned someone else’s story and am glad I trusted my gut.
I am sure you have a story of two of your own like this to share. Comment on my blog or email me back sharing about a time you moved in a direction that surprised you…