Hey pallies, likes can't resist publishin' this Dinotale of a sweet lady tagged Sue, who has worked for 37 years for the Beverly, Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles. Reads how she employs her Dinodoll to lighten the atmosphere 'round her office. If you wanna reads this article from the Salem, Mass. Newspaper, just likes clicks on the tagg of this Dinopost. Dinolaughin', DMP
Published: January 23, 2009 10:20 pm
A license to smile at the Registry of Motor Vehicles
The customer isn't sure what to make of Sue O'Neil, the smiling woman who greets her at the front desk of the Registry of Motor Vehicles and doles out an answer before she finishes the question. In rapid-fire succession, she gives her a form, instructions, a number and then a compliment.
"Honey, I love that hat," she tells the lady as she walks toward a bench in an Eskimo-style number rimmed with fur. "That's a great look on you."
If there's any place that could benefit from a bubbly personality, it is here, the Registry of Motor Vehicles, a room perhaps with more dour-looking faces per square inch than anywhere in America. It's still — despite efforts to improve its image — the place people love to hate.
That's why O'Neil, the Beverly branch manager who has worked for the Registry for 37 years, likes to surprise, even disarm, people with her sense of humor.
When waits are long, as they often are, she may bring out her Dean Martin doll, which sings "Everybody Loves Somebody." When a customer comes to renew a license, she makes a point to wish them "Happy birthday." When people arrive for a license suspension hearing, she tells them, in a fake English accent, to go sit on the "naughty bench."
And that's why, when she calls out No. 122, and a customer walks over to the window and orders a pound of roast beef, she laughs, even though the same joke has been told 100 times before.
"I always act like it's the first time I ever heard it," she says.
The Beverly office is understaffed. The parking is a pain. She understands that people get frustrated waiting, so she tries to be patient and urges her staff to do the same. She's not a graduate of Dracula's finishing school, as some suggest.
Sometimes, though, it's hard to stay nice when people are calling you names, really despicable things, in front of kids and senior citizens waiting nearby.
The 55-year-old mother and grandmother has been sworn at more times than a baseball umpire. Just last week, a woman promised to call the governor's office because she was so angry. One guy kicked her bench. Another guy slammed her door.
One time, a customer got so belligerent he insisted that O'Neil call the police to register her extra-long fingernails as weapons. He claimed they were dangerous and just wouldn't drop it.
"That was the first time I called the police on myself," she quips.
One day, she asked an elderly customer for her pink slip.
"I'm not wearing one," the woman replied.
She is most proud of her efforts to collect toys for needy kids at Christmas and sees how the campaign can bring out the best in people. Last year, the Beverly office brought in 850 toys, and they were able to buy 53 bikes with the money they raised.
O'Neil's father, now 91, also worked for the Registry. Back when she was in her 20s, he encouraged her to apply. She's glad she took his advice.
"It's stressful, but I actually do love what I do," she says.
Long ago, her father also told her something she never forgot, a nugget that sustains her on bad days at the office, and in life in general.
"What bothers you today," he said, "isn't going to bother you tomorrow."
Good advice for the people behind — and in front of — the counter.