{Locality}: It sometimes appears when you least expect it

handshake

When my home branch of the RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) called last week to set up my annual review, I made a spur-of-the-moment request to have the appointment in London rather than Goderich.

I was probably feeling lazy at the time and wanted to avoid having to make a special trip.

That and I don’t think my home branch account manager likes me very much. In all fairness, it’s probably just a personality difference, but I have never been eager to meet with her.

Whatever the reason, I asked to be moved to London, and the switch was surprisingly very easy. Someone called me the next day to set up an appointment.

I was apprehensive. I cancelled the first meeting in favour of taking an extra shift at work. Yes it was for a good reason, but I was somehow relieved.

I considered rescheduling yesterday’s appointment, too, but decided to man up (woman up?) and just get it over with. Perhaps I could even tell them I’d changed my mind and wanted to be re-assigned to Goderich. I could use more legitimate excuses to see friend and family and stop in at my favorite places.

The woman who greeted me at the Dundas East branch was friendly. She handed me a folder and told me that Darren had prepared some information for me. I glanced through it cursorily, but still planned to use my fall-back escape: changing my mind.

I could only take a few sips of my cup of water before a man’s voice behind me said “Sarah!”. I stood up and shook Darren’s hand, the cool polite smile on my lips not quite reaching my eyes.

Did I mention I was apprehensive? This is normal for me in new situations, new places, and with new people.

My chilly hesitance lasted all of a few minutes. Darren started asking me warm, friendly questions about why I had moved to London, my degree, my work, etc. We talked about serving (he has 10 years of experience), about my internship, about my social media experience. He told me about a good place to look for job opportunities. We talked about vintage cars and car shows, his decision to stay in London rather than go back to the Toronto area, the difference between his high school and mine…

…and soon enough, I felt like I had made a new friend, and was completely relaxed.

When a city banker makes you feel like a friend in 30 minutes flat, he has a gift. A very Ruralist-esque gift, actually.

Well done, Darren Livingstone. I have yet to see how good of an account manager you are, but so far, I trust you and I am actually kind of looking forward to next year’s annual review!

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