Dave Traynor‘s post on customer service on Sunday reminded me of another customer service experience of my own the other day.

Son #2 wanted to get his G1 license — that’s what used to be called a learner’s permit, his license to learn how to drive. So we went to the government office that dispenses such things to write the required test, armed with a government-issued health card.

It wasn’t enough, as we were informed by a snarky and impatient man. Have you noticed how grumpiness is extremely catching? We left feeling stupid for having brought the wrong I.D. and annoyed for wasting the trip.

We went back a few days later, armed with every possible I.D., including passport, health card, birth certificate, student card. The same man was there, but fortunately we were called over to a different desk.

This person was warm and friendly, like someone’s really nice mom. She was pleasant and helpful with us and, as overheard while I waited for my son to write his test, equally helpful with her colleagues. We didn’t present her with the same challenges, but I am positive the experience with the wrong I.D. would have been quite different with her, just because of her attitude.

We left with a warm feeling and a temporary driving permit. How hard was that?