Friday, December 14, 2007

Day 25: Visa Vent , Mobile Angels

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Jack Furriers Tire & Auto Care

Day 25: Mobile, AL

1,400 miles of riding, 13 pounds of lost weight, and one evening on the sidewalk, priceless, for everything else there’s……..

Frank left Tucson nearly a month ago with a little bit of cash and some visa gift cards. In the last couple days, Frank had been uneasy about running out of money (see unexpected expense days 1 thru 24), so a friend credited one of his cards and later verified the new higher balance with Visa – all was well again. Unfortunately, a computerized review matrix threw the card into fraud status and locked the card (which is understandable). However, it is a mystery that Visa the worlds largest processor who spends 400 million dollars advertising how convenient they are, has absolutely no process in place – nor any human being among 10,000+ employees who can resolve a security problem after 5 pm Eastern. Mind boggling! To complicate matters, Visa, has outsourced it’s primary point of customer contact to Panama, Puerto Rico and the four corners of the earth. The passive voice of Visa emanates from powerless cogs reading scripted messages halfway around the world. "I am very sorry, there is nothing that can be done"

1,400 miles from home, Frank was penniless and pondered his situation on a sidewalk in Mobile, Alabama. It is difficult to find a camping spot inside the city limits, so he just sat down on on the sidewalk and thought about the irony of the day and the miles away from the joy he felt just this morning. Frank remembered an envelope that his son had given him when they met the day before. “He told me to open it if I got discouraged.” The letter read “$40”. It was two $20 bills (Frank told me his son was a man of few words). The $40 was just exactly what Frank needed to get a room down the road. The desk clerk contributed the remaining $2.79 out of his own pocket giving Frank a place to rest and time to figure out how to get something to eat. Later on, another friend 4 states away called and had a pizza delivered to Frank.

Mobile Angels

Angel#1 - Mr.Dixon - you didn't have to stop. You pulled over today when you noticed Frank standing with his bike appearing to be lost. You provided help navigating the complicated map through Mobile, Alabama and reset Frank to his course.

It is this type of unprovoked kindness that Frank has found at so many points along the way. “They are out there, there are good people all over and I am being blessed as I encounter them.”

Stuck in Mobile

On Friday morning before leaving the Motel 6, Franked charted his course for the day and realized he would have to ride an extra 40 miles unless he could get through a tunnel which he found out prohibited foot or bicycle traffic. We spoke and decided a taxi through the tunnel was the best choice. Frank, instinctively had already spoken with the Motel 6 desk clerk earlier in the morning who refunded him $20 of the cash Frank had given them the night before. This was more than enough for a cab ride through the George Wallace Tunnel. Now all he needed was a driver.

Mobile Angel #2 Kyle. You are a good guy, Frank knows just how hard you are working to build a successful taxi business. I don't have all the details yet of your encounter with Frank other than we needed to recognize your all of your help and try to encourage others to seek you out in Mobile - so call Kyle (nnn) nnn-nnnn for a ride- he is one of the good guys!

note from ed: If you are unhappy with the way Visa handled this situation, tell them to donate to Wounded Warrior Project.

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