Posted by: dave1949 | 2011/01/20

Civil Civil Servants

I went to Toronto yesterday. That by itself wasn’t a really unusual thing. What was, was how tired I got from the drive up there. I used to drive truck for a few years and I have always liked driving since I started way back in 1965. Driving for an entire day was no problem for me. Today a drive of about 1 1/2 hours and I was exhausted. Seems the recovery from all this might take a bit longer than I hoped. At any rate Deb was there with me and she took over for the drive home relieving me of the need to fight off the tiredness. By the time we returned I was feeling fine again. Having friends around is a good thing.

The reason I wanted to write today though isn’t really about how tired I get. I had to go to Toronto in person to start the process of getting a certified copy of my divorce order, to prove that I really am divorced, so I can get married again.

This could be accomplished by mail if you want to but I already imagined days and weeks of frustration dealing with Ontario silly servants trying to find a copy of a paper that is this month, 27 years old. After parking and getting into the office on the 10th floor we saw lines of people and overhead number screens in a huge office with dozens of wickets and hundreds of people trying to get whatever. With a sinking heart I approached the first desk. The man there, is to tell you what line up to get into and issue you your number so you will be served in order. On hearing what I wanted, he told me that since the order was so old it wouldn’t be stored there at the office but had long ago been put into a warehouse, from which it would need to be retrieved sometime over the next week to ten days.  We had already been informed of this so it wasn’t unexpected but then I was instructed to go down a hall to the next office where they would take the particulars and start the process for me. Time spent about 5 minutes.

Down the hall we got into a line only 2 people long. The lady behind the counter was asking them if they needed a certified copy of their paper or just a xerox copy. They didn’t know for sure. She called a supervisor who took the two of them aside a step or two and started asking what they needed. We were then asked to come up to the counter and get on with our business. When we informed her of the papers needed she told us to go to the very end of the counter and someone would be there right away to help us.  Time spent about 5 minutes during which two clients had been helped.

At the end of the counter a woman on the phone acknowledged us visually by nodding and pointing to the phone and holding up a finger indicating it would just be a minute or so.  She did indeed finish up on the phone in a short order and led me through the paperwork to request my file. Then she said she was pretty sure they could mail it to us if we wanted but not sure of how to process the payment of the fees required. She said the supervisor who would know how to proceed was away for lunch but she had me fill out my address on an envelope, put it and my request together and said she’d see about it as soon as the supervisor got back. We were told we were welcome to wait if we wanted but that she would get back to us with the answer later. I told her that there was no problem, the mailing would be nice since it would save another trip but that I was perfectly willing to come up to Toronto again if that was the quickest way to get the deed done.  Time spent about 10 minutes.

Dealt with three Ontario civil servants. Got help information and polite service from all three. Left in less than half an hour after arriving with the work for the day accomplished.

Remembered once again that most of the people in the world just want to do their job, help out the clients/ customers and that please and thank you and a smile go a long way to getting assistance when you need it. Remembered that when you run into the occasional jerk they are in fact the exception rather than the rule. Don’t let the little stuff get you down just try to make sure that when people deal with you you are one of the good guys that are in reality, the norm for almost all of us.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for writing about a good experience with civil servants. People tend to focus on their one bad experience or experiences they heard of second or third hand. There are thousands of good, helpful, knowledgable government employees out there that serve thousands of people well everyday. And like anywhere there are bad apples. I hope you get what you need quickly!

  2. So you left the office in a pleasant mood and still had time to enjoy yourself before you needed to head back?

  3. Trilikemary, Yes we sometimes get caught up in the negative. A co worker and I both happened to take trips one summer from home to Vancouver and back. a total of about 6000 miles. All he seemed to talk about was a stretch of 50 miles of construction on the north side of Lake Superior and I thought at the time, How can that little bit of crap be the defining thoughts of such and awesome trip. AS the song writer said you got to accent the positive.
    Violetsky, Yes the whole thing was if not pleasant at least pleasantly simple and easy compared to what I had been dreading. And yes we did do a little window shopping for fun afterward just to make sure the parking e paid for was put to good use.

  4. married? You’re getting married? CONGRAT’S!!!

  5. Thanks Laurel. Deb and I have only known each other since grade seven so we’re a bit worried about rushing into this but willing to take the chance.


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