Been working as a call center agent since September of last year. Call center agent, customer service representative, technical support representative. The latter best describes my job. I fix technical issues of customers from the United States with weird, intermittent internet connection which is so unlikely with the DSL I have here in the Philippines.
Two weeks ago, an American customer crushed my ego. I received his call with my smile stretched from ear to ear, ensuring I convey the smile through my voice. I could see my own teeth and gum from the big smile.
Me: Thank you for calling %$#$^%*%&%*. My name is PATRICK. Can I have the telephone *&^&^##%^&*())*)_*&&?
I smiled. Desperate to make my voice clear since some customers do not understand neutral English.
Mister America: What's your name again?!
He was barking like a moronic dog. My left ear ringing like bundled needles were pushed into my eardrum.
Me: My name is Patrick sir.
The smile on my face did not disappear. I have been insensitive towards rude callers.
Mister America: Your name is Patrick?! Why? Your father is Patrick senior? And you are Patrick junior?!
His voice was loud that I felt his huge, dry wrinkled lips touched the pinna of my left ear.
Me: Oh yes sir, my first name is really Patrick.
The smile-as-per-protocol still pulled my lips towards my ears.
Mister America: You people from Philippines, you are using fake American names. People from India have fake American names like Bob, Tom, Hank, Harry! Stop using fake names. I have Filipino friends but they don't have names like Patrick! They don't use fake American names, they don't have fake accent!
I felt his black hairy tongue licking my eardrum.
Me: Oh, I apologize for that sir but I am not using a fake American name. My name is legally Patrick.
I placed strings on both corners of my mouth to maintain the smile.
Mister America: I want to speak to an American agent! I want to speak with someone who's in the United States!
I heard his teeth grinding my ear.
Me: Oh yes sir, please stay on the line. I will now be transferring you on an American agent.
Mister America hung up the phone. I called back the customer's telephone number.
Mister America's voice mail prompt: Your number has been blocked. If you have an access code, please key in the numbers #$%^&*+_@#$$.
Probably Mister America is 90 years old and so are his friends. Filipinos 90 years ago may have names like Protacio, Federico, Crispin, other Spanish names and the likes. My mother is almost 70 and her name is Myrna. It's definitely arduous for Westerners to say names like Maria Clara, Lucrecia, Pachaimuthu, and Dakshesh.
The call perfectly defined what discrimination is. It is very demeaning that I saw my self-esteem let loose from me. But I picked it up. I always feel pity to dogmatic, arrogant people. They are the futile species who have not yet seen the beauty in this world beyond troubling oneself in Asians using or having American sounding names.
Life is beautiful honey. The world is big. Life is fun. Life is wonderful when you speak with people around the world. Explore the world Mister America.