Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why We Do What We DO

In April, I decided to make an ENORMOUS career change. One that was so big and unusual for someone like me that I still question my sanity on the decision on a weekly basis.

When I made the decision to become a licensed insurance producer, especially coming from being a music teacher and all around free-spirit, I know I huge chunk of the people I know and love cringed. Oh no! I could imagine them thinking. Lindsey is going to want to sell insurance to us and we're going to feel obligated to buy it! How can we avoid it? Getting into the idea of being responsible for lives as well as consulting the stubborn, hard-headed people of the world was, and still is, daunting. My days are nervous, shaky and unfriendly. I frequently break down and cry because of silly little things like expectations diminished and hurt feelings.

But yesterday, I was reminded of WHY I do what I do every day.

Yesterday we had our fall quarterly state meeting. It was a full house, packed with little Aflac associates in white dress shirts. I was late. I had been pulled over by a state trooper on the way down to Indianapolis on State Rd 31. My GPS kept telling me to get off 465 on an exit that doesn't exist yet - it was still in the construction process. I got rerouted over and over and over. Being the first Monday of a new month, the trucking traffic on the roads was terrible. Somehow my name was missed in the nametag/seating chart so I didn't have a seat. When I did get a seat, it was directly under an air conditioning vent and I was freezing. The meeting was sports themed - specifically basketball and baseball. Barf. Uninteresting. If there is anything that makes my eyes glaze over, it's long winded speeches about the importance of teamwork highlighted with sports references. Gimme a break. My husband was giving me grief about not texting him when I arrived to tell him I had gotten there safely. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry.

But then, the Carl Edwards video came on! Okay, racing is something I can get into! I enjoy racing. I was drawn in.

Aflac is Carl Edwards' 99 car sponsor. This year of 2010 he is the spokesman for our "Crew of Champions" or something like that. I figured it was probably something really hokey - definitely a PR stunt. Aflac was choosing people's stories about how Aflac has helped them, yadda yadda.

Our speaker was the third person who has been chosen for the 'Crew'. His name was Jerry Snyder and he hails from Lebabon, IN. He was honored last week at the Brickyard 400 race. His story made me cry.

In February of 2005, Jerry's wife, Sue, the trustee for the town of Lebanon, IN, signed up for a cancer policy from Aflac. She had cancer in her family history, and wanted to take some precautions against her odds of also being diagnosed with some form of cancer. The associate asked her if she wanted to include her husband on the policy and she made the decision to do so. Good thing she did. Jerry admitted that he had given her a hard time about it, telling her they couldn't afford it, telling her it was unnecessary and stupid.

8 weeks after Sue took out that cancer policy, Jerry wasn't feeling well. He had a sore throat and his tongue had been bothering him. He figured it was just a spring cold and they drove down to Florida for a vacation. During their vacation, he was in so much pain that they left early and he came home to the doctor, who promptly sent him to a specialist. The specialist gave him the dreaded diagnosis - cancer in his throat and tongue. Sue remembered their Aflac cancer policy and filed the claim. They received their 'initial diagnosis' benefit of $2000 within 4 days.

The doctor's scheduled 39 radiation treatments for Jerry, but they didn't realize that the medicine he was also taking for multiple sclerosis would intenisfy the radiation treatments threefold. Within 10 treatments, he had second and third-degree burns all around his neck and face. And Aflac kept sending them money. $300 for every radiation treatment. Benefits for experimental treatments the doctors tried. Payment after payment. They never missed a house payment or car payment or struggled to buy groceries during this time.

Jerry beat his cancer, but in 2007, it came back. This time it attacked his right lung. And Aflac started to send him benefits again. He beat that cancer too. But this year, in April, it came back a third time and he underwent surgery to have it removed. And Aflac is still providing him with cash every week to help his family meet their everyday needs and expenses during this time. He brought his wife on the stage and tearfully thanked her for thinking ahead enough to put him on that cancer policy and for everything she has had to endure for the last 5 years. He believes he'll beat this cancer too, and the next one and the next one - if, God forbid, that's what happens. Aflac literally kept this family out of the poorhouse and probably contributed to the survival of this man by alleviating the fear of bankruptcy and financial failure during his illnesses.

That was the reminder. That's why I do what I do. Because if there is just one person that Aflac provides security and peace of mind to during a serious illness or a bad accident, that is enough. It's all about service. It's about providing help during a time of need instead of sitting by and wondering what I could have done besides pray.

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