If you want something done, ask kindly

In my last week post, I said that I was not entirely sure the veterinarian would deliver in time, as he had promised.

On Tuesday, Cristina and Matilda had paid him a visit to get a health certificate for Matilda. He said it would be ready the next day. He added that they use their own courier to bring the document to the relevant Ministry, get it stamped and get it back. Cristina offered to do the courier’s job herself, but he would not have it.

When she called the next day, they said that the document had not left the building but that courier would go the next day (i.e. Thursday). The courier had been bus with other assignments. Hmmm … that was not exactly what was promised. We had lost one or perhaps two days, and that made me very nervous when there were only three days left before our second attempt flight.

After the situation had sunk into our minds, Cristina called a second time to convey her worries in a calm way. The vet said he understood and was truly sorry. He also assured her, things would work out fine.

Right. Forgive me, but to me, after the first promise, that did not sound really assuring. My worst-case scenario engine went like this: so what if tomorrow, you bring the document to the Ministry, and then the next day, which would be Friday, it turns out the Ministry was not happy … then what? Ministries tend to be closed on Saturday, which is when we were hoping to fly back. So maybe we still can not leave and have to wait another week and then something else goes wrong and we will never leave … my worst-case scenario engine easily goes in overdrive. Unfortunately, there was nothing else we could do. The vet had Matilda’s EU animal passport and we had paid handsomely for the service. So we waited. I had to keep myself busy to keep calm about it.

Then, the next day in the morning, the vet sent a message : certificate ready, stamped and signed. Huh? Unexpectedly fast.

What had happened? We don’t know for sure. But we had noticed before that by nature, Tico’s are overwhelmingly helpful. You ask something nicely and they will go out of their way.

I can not remember the occasion, but we also learned that when you treat them unkindly – even if they deserve it – they will still smile and then put their heels in the sand or sabotage stuff behind your back. They will selectively bring up the law or the rules for example.

So, probably, the second phone call that Cristina made to kindly convey her worries, did the trick. Maybe, the vet had not fully realized our situation, or maybe he realized that he had not delivered what he had promised. In any case, I bet that Cristina’s call made him go into fifth gear. In spite of the relatively laid-back attitude to many things, Tico’s do know how to improvise and get things done quickly. All you need to do, is ask kindly.

The weirdest part is, that as I was writing this post and talking with Cristina, I realized that I am just the same. Ask me for some help and I will help you the best I can. But if you demand it from me … well I might not be so accommodating. Maybe I am Tico at heart?

If all goes well, then this post will be published just before we land at Schiphol airport.


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