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  • Nancy Spear

A Sigh of Relief and a Smile

older with tablet.jpg

Several months ago, I went to the Santa Monica Library’s tech fair for older adults. There were speakers on social media and safe online shopping, workshops for basic computer skills, and information areas about apps and websites related to health and fitness, and more.

I observed. It was buzzing. People were walking purposefully from one event to another with phones and tablets in their hands.

I stopped to talk to a networking friend. Behind him, a door opened releasing a sea of people from a workshop. An obviously agitated woman came up to him holding her iPad, “How did you say I could get the Wi-Fi? Is this what I press? What is it called?” At the same moment, an older man approached him for the other side. I looked at my friend, he looked at me, and we nodded. He spoke to the man; I turned to the woman.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

She handed me her iPad and I walked her though finding Settings, tapping Wi-Fi, and moving her Wi-Fi toggle switch to ON. The Santa Monica Library’s network popped up and we found the password on her tech fair handout.

I gave her the iPad and asked her to go back to the Home screen. This time I asked her to do it herself. She looked at me with her mouth half open in uncertainty.

“Tap Settings,” I told her and she did.

As soon as it was open, she tapped General.

“Hold on,” I said, “Let’s go back.”

She opened Settings and, moving quickly, she again tapped General.

I smiled, knowing that she was still a little nervous. We went back a step. As soon as she tapped Settings, I smiled and said, “Okay, hands off,” while I put my own hands up in a light-hearted way.

“Now, instead of General, tap Wi-Fi.” She did.

We did it again. Home screen, Settings, Wi-Fi. Home screen, Settings, Wi-Fi. Home screen, Settings, Wi-Fi.

She let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding in, her shoulders relaxed, and she asked for my card.

That’s what I love about my work. The moment it clicks and the client smiles. Sometimes I even get a hug.

This holiday season, if you are giving gifts of technology, give the gift of me to go along with them. I bring patience and understanding and the recipients will breather easier as they say thank you.

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