I almost missed an opportunity today because of a foreign accent.
My phone rang, the area code was one near the Columbus, Ohio exchange. I live an hour north of Columbus.
I didn't recognize it, so I didn't answer it.
Less than five minutes later, the same number called me again.
The absolute thickest accent I have ever heard began talking. I was nearly ready to just thank them for calling and hang up when I heard, "Peggy? Is this Peggy?"
Pressing the phone to my ear as tightly as I could, I tried to listen as she explained she had met me once at the Columbus, Ohio temple, and that I knew her husband.
Though I had to have her repeat herself a few times, I began to remember that her husband was born and raised in Mexico, and it was likely that she had been, too.
She was working in the local Family History Center, and a gentleman had come in that she was unable to help.
He had ancestors in southeast Ohio, and also had a Kentucky connection. He wasn't sure what other sources could help him, so he needed some direction. I told him to send me an email with what he has found so far, and what he is looking for.
Now, why is this important?
1. I almost didn't answer the phone, thinking it was someone I didn't want to talk to.
2. When I did, I had to work hard to understand.
3. This wonderful lady of Hispanic descent was willing to spend her time in a Family History Center, where it is likely she wouldn't be able to help someone with Appalachian research questions.
4. The man was patient enough with her limited knowledge and didn't walk out thinking no one could help him.
5. I could possibly have a new relative, since he's looking in the area where most of my people are from!
I told the FHC worker to call me anytime she needed some help. She may not have been the most talented researcher in her area, but she's willing to try.
I applaud her.
And, I actually applaud my own self for picking up the phone!