A Transaction of Trust

This story started in March 2016, when I approached a travel agent to book my air tickets to Rajasthan. A holiday that eventually never happened. Why it never happened is another post.

I found him sitting in his ‘nano’ office, on the basement of a dull grey dilapidated building. There were 3 chairs, 1 table and 2 computers. I was reluctant to enter first, but his travel agency came recommended from a friend. It was a stone’s throw from where I work.

I had no time and it was easy to just trust this man who sat across the table, gesturing me to come in.

I sat across the table and said I need to 2 tickets for Bangalore — Jaipur — Bangalore. He was efficient and located the best options navigating through the screens on his computer. In less than 15 minutes, all tickets were done and a payment in cash was made. He handed me the receipts, made small talk about the weather and said, “Madam, please come back again.”

I said I will. He was professional, prompt and present. That’s a sufficient sign of deciding who you want to do business with… atleast for me.

A few weeks later, everything changed.

I couldn’t take that holiday and there were other things to deal with. So I called him and said please cancel both the tickets and keep my refund ready. My air ticket and invoice said, upon cancellation minus some charges, I will get a refund.

Soon after this call, life took over and I got busy (whatever that means).

I never heard from this travel agent. He stopped taking my calls. I thought there goes my money, almost Rs. 21,000. If you live in a small house in India, you know that makes your entire month’s house rent and grocery supplies. Which is a lot, especially if you run a fledgling 4 year old organization where you withdraw a salary on quarterly basis.

I made a few more calls and wrote on the email ID given on his visiting card & invoice. I thought of calling the airlines, to see if there is any other way I can get the refund. I went to his office twice and found it locked.

Having to chase anyone for your refund is a very expensive affair. It costs you time, energy and more money. The whole thing sucked!

I decided in my head to write it off. After all, I was a fool to depend on a travel agent, when the whole country was running on Paytm and online transactions.

While I decided to change/improve my internet behaviour in the future, I sent the ‘absconding travel agent’ a mobile SMS. I wrote:

Hello B…y, I understand you have cancelled my ticket and have my refund from the airlines. I tried reaching you many times but couldn’t. Maybe you are struggling with cash flow, I run a small business too. I want you to know that I trust you and that you will return the cash when you have sorted out your situation. I will also trust your situation, if you choose not to refund that money. Thanks, Shalini.”

10 days later, nothing. 30 days later, nothing. 40 days later, nothing. 43rd day, when I was busy making myself an egg scramble on a Sunday morning, my phone rang.

A familiar voice on the other side said, “ Madam, B….y here. I am sorry but now I have your cash ready. Where should I meet you?”

I made the best scrambled egg that day and ate it peacefully, very peacefully.

I thought not about the refund I was finally going to get but about what got him to return the call 43 days later from the time I sent him the SMS.

“…I want you to know, I trust you. I want you to know I will also trust your situation…” That’s a pretty intimate conversation to have with a travel agent!

What happens to us when we know someone trusts us and our intentions? Not a little, not for a while…but trusts us indefinitely.

When was last time someone told you they trust you? Your child, your friend, your spouse, your lover, your employer, your organization, your family… your community.

Trust is not, “I know you won’t let me down”. Trust is, “I have faith in your intent and what you strongly feel was the best thing to do.”

When was the last time you trusted someone and told them about it? When was the last time you trusted yourself?

Do we trust that the transaction of trust, can lead to more trust?

Like what you read? Give Shalini Menon a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.