I want to issue a public apology to one of the clerks at Berthoud Town Hall. Last week when the story about Berthoud’s Police Chief and one of his officers blew up, the town wasn’t being responsive. Town Administrator Mike Hart was the go to guy but he refused to take any questions or even comment. When something as big as your police chief and one of his officers being investigated by a different police agency happens in your community, it’s kind of a requirement for a town to address its residents and to let them know what’s going on – even if the details are tiny.
Town Administrator Mike Hart wouldn’t return our phone calls, so I showed up at his office at Berthoud Town Hall. When I walked through the door, a clerk named Cathy was sitting before me. I asked for Mr. Hart and in return she told me to call him on his cell phone. She handed me his number. I was a tad bit stressed out and I did something I never do: I got snippy. I said something along the lines of, “Well, I tried calling Mr. Hart but he won’t return our calls. Shouldn’t your town make someone available to talk about this? It’s kind of a big issue!”
Long story short, I was rude to Cathy and I shouldn’t have been. I took out my frustration on her, instead of Town Administrator Mike Hart. Since last week, I thought about how rude I was several times and felt awful. That’s not me.
If you’ve ever met me out in the field, or perhaps I’ve interviewed you for a story, you know I’m not that sort of person. I’m usually very bubbly, happy and kind. I’m not sure what came over me at that moment, but I’m chalking it up as ‘having one of those days’.
Fast-forward to today. I returned to Berthoud to follow-up on Officer Yachik’s arrest. When I walked through the door, the first person I saw was Cathy. She was on the phone so I walked over to the other clerk, who kindly told me she would page Mr. Hart once he was off the phone.
I sat in the lobby for a few minutes reading a newspaper. Once Cathy was off the phone I walked over to her and said, “Cathy, I want to apologize. Last time I was here I was rude to you and I shouldn’t have been”.
She immediately replied, “Yes you were”. I explained how I shouldn’t have directed my frustration towards her and told her how I’m not that kind of guy. She said, “That’s what I thought. I watch you on the news and you come across so happy”.
She went on to tell me how disappointed she was that day because she liked me and my stories. I felt awful and continued to apologize. She got a good chuckle out of it and forgave me. At that point everyone in the office started laughing a bit. Apparently Cathy had shared the story of my outrage with everyone in Berthoud town hall. I laughed over that.
After I apologized I went back to the live truck. Cathy’s co-worker came out and said, “Mr. Torres, I thought that was awful nice of you! Cathy’s got a big smile on her face! But you know what would make her smile even more? She’s always wanted one of those gold 9 pins you guys wear on TV”.
Each reporter is given a few of those 9 pins. Five at most. Without hesitation, I took mine off my dress coat, brought it inside, apologized once again and handed her my 9 pin. Cathy smiled from cheek to cheek. Everyone started laughing again and Cathy asked if she could get a picture with me. She told me I made her day.
There’s a moral to this story: No matter how bad of a day you’re having, never take out your frustration on someone else. Especially when that person doesn’t deserve it. Also, it’s never too late to apologize.