Aug 15

Big things come in small packages

Albert Einstein once wrote on a blackboard in his class-“Not everything that can be counted counts.Not everything that counts can be counted”

We live in a world where every ‘truth worth-my-time’ needs to be backed up by mind-blowing digits or facts and in the quest of this ‘creditable truth’ we sometimes take our eyes off the bigger picture. Happens with me atleast.Today, we received a transaction to be sent from UAE to a mobile wallet in Tanzania. The amount was insignificant..just $11. More often than not such transactions are categorized under general bucket of ‘test trx’. I mean which customer in his right mind would spend $10 as spending fees and effectively $11 including other charges to send $11…right? So we generally assume that it would be either some partner agent testing the dependability of the service or an extra cautious customer testing the waters before following it up with a real big transaction. But this was different. The details did not correspond to a test number and no big transaction followed even after a few hours.

Just out of curiosity our team decided to drill down a but deeper. Since the numbers were not telling a story I decided to pick up the phone and check for myself. On the other line was this gentleman with a firm yet humble tone. I gave him my introduction and cautiously asked him about this transaction half expecting to be rebuked like a credit card selling agent. What came out over the next few minutes is precious.

Mr. E told me that he has just landed in UAE from Tanzania 6 days ago. He had come along with 16 other people to work in the hospitality sector in UAE. 100 Dirhams ($27) was all that he could spare so far and this is the maths that he could do- He would incur $11 to send $11 to send money back to his wife in Tanzania to ” put food on the table for a week or so” and still keep $5 for any emergency. Food for a week or so!!!! That is how much the money mattered to him and his family back in Tanzania!

Felt like a punch in my guts. If not for this call, this humbling experience would have been categorized as test trx at best or an insignificant outlier at worst. Like the wise man said ‘not everything that counts can be counted’

He did not seem to care much about the cost of sending money but was ecstatic that the money reached his family in minutes.  He was almost apologetic that he bothered us with such a small amount and we actually called him for that. He also promised that just because my company called him, he will tell all his 16 colleagues about the service and they will soon send “thousands of Dirhams” to Tanzania (May God make his wish true).
I told him that we as an organization will forever be grateful for this opportunity to process this transaction and also for giving us a lesson that the biggest and most important things in life come in really small packages.

I look forward to meeting him in person and hand him small gifts for him and his friends as a gesture of our gratitude.