The first time my glasses broke at a party, it was humorous enough. We fixed them with a tiny screwdriver and went about our evenings. The second time they broke, alone in my apartment and two days before I was to leave for an out-of-state trip, I was a bit more frantic and scheduled my annual eye appointment for the next morning.
The eye doctor was kind and patient and tightened all the screws on my glasses during the exam. I was eager to get my hands on an eye glass repair kit so I could regularly adjust the lens and hopefully get more than 12 months out of my frames.
That’s when the eye doctor told me they didn’t sell repair kits. That wouldn’t really make sense, would it? I kind of laughed and agreed and later, when buying a kit from a tourist novelty shop in Vermont, justified the eye doctor to my partner with the rationale of: of course they don’t sell repair kits; they’d rather you buy new glasses than fix your old ones. It makes sense!
It's been months since that interaction but it popped into my head recently and I found myself asking: does it? Does it make sense to not provide what your patients need? Does it makes sense to be the person in the neighborhood in charge of people’s eye health but not sell something that ultimately, is tangential to that goal?
I want to be super clear that I absolutely adore my eye doctor and everyone at the practice, but the whole thing has me a bit puzzled.
Why would you not want to do everything in your power to take care of the people you service? To empower them with the tools they need to be successful?
This week, I am thinking a lot about what it means to serve people in our communities and I believe it begins by not being afraid to sell repair kits. It’s about taking the time to listen to what people actually want and need and then responding to that. But more than that, it’s about giving people what they need to be successful, not what you think they need.
So be curious. Question and learn and grow. Take the long way. Do the hard thing. Pursue what is right. Trust in your values. Trust in yourself. But most importantly, trust people to know how to save their own lives.
And don’t be afraid to sell repair kits.