When the coronavirus pandemic hit, it changed a lot of people’s perspectives—and gave opportunities to make a difference in new ways.
“We’re in a unique situation here at Truist,” says Michael Brown, a Truist branch leader located in Georgia. “During COVID-19, our world easily faded away,” he says, noting that the pandemic sometimes isolated people and challenged all the social connections we were used to.
“When you think about it,” says Brown, “all we’ve really got is each other. That’s one of the things that we can learn out of this.”
Taking the call
In the middle of the pandemic in 2020, Paul Bellamy, a Truist client services representative in Whiteville, N.C., got a phone call from a client while he was working his normal shift at the call center there. The client needed help logging on to his online banking platform and was having some issues.
“As he was struggling,” says Bellamy, “I was asking him, was he OK? He said, ‘Well, I fell off the ladder trying to put a basketball hoop in for my son.’”
The client said that his leg was in pain and he had recently underwent surgeries on his leg, so his mobility was severely impaired.
“He’d [also] shared with me that his son was special needs, and that his son was just waiting for the basketball hoop,” says Bellamy. “It touched me, like I kind of almost felt like I was in pain.”
The client was in Georgia, and Bellamy was in North Carolina. “I wanted to go there and put up the basketball hoop for him myself. I wanted to go finish the job.”
That’s when Bellamy called Brown, who is located in the client’s hometown. “I knew that everything was going to be OK because he was so eager [to help],” says Bellamy.
When he got the call from Bellamy, Brown was all in. “The situation ... I mean, how could I walk away from that?” Brown was moved and wanted to help.
He went to the client’s home, stopping to get a basketball along the way. He introduced himself to the client and his son and said he was there to help with the installation. Brown climbed into the attic and put the bolts in for the backboard. They were ready to play ball.
“In that moment,” says Brown, “it was like the fog of COVID-19 had lifted.”
Playing the long ball
“The client’s son jumped up and ran over to the basketball hoop and started throwing the ball,” says Brown.
Meanwhile, Bellamy was in North Carolina texting Brown the whole time to keep up with what was happening.
“It made me proud to work for this company,” says Bellamy, who teared up. “Our purpose here at Truist is to inspire and build better lives and communities. And you can see it all around this company. If Michael Brown were standing here right now, I might just have to forget COVID-19 protocols and just give him a hug.”
His teammate feels the same way.
“I mean, we formed a bond during that,” says Brown. “I didn’t know Paul before that, but I consider Paul my friend now. I couldn’t change the fact that the client broke his hip. I couldn’t change COVID-19. But I can put up a basketball hoop.”
Reflecting on what it means to do a good deed for someone in need, Brown says, “What seems so light and small for us can make such a difference in another person’s life. You may not be able to do a lot of things, but do what you can.”
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