“This is Al Thompson. May I help you?” Thompson had just finished briefing his sales associates and completed the Walmart store-opening checklist.
“Good morning, Al. We spoke earlier in the week. This is Tracy Madson with Delaware General. Just wondered if you had a chance to talk with Cathy about the policy we discussed Monday.”
“Hang on a minute,” Thompson said before he lowered the phone. “Larry, get those lawn tractors moved inside this morning… Yeah I know, but I want to put the winter inventory there… Okay, yeah, fine.” Thompson brought the phone back up to his ear. “Uh, sorry, it’s busy here. We just opened up and we’ve got a big sale this weekend. Want to buy a riding mower?”
That made Tracy laugh. “I live in a small condo, Al. No lawn. Maybe someday, though. Tell you what, the day I need one, I’ll come and buy it from you. So, you had some questions when we talked. Maybe we could take just a few minutes and you can tell me what Cathy thinks.” Tracy wanted Thompson to buy a policy for both himself and his wife. She knew cost might be an issue, but Thompson had said he would talk to Cathy about the policy. Tracy had the Thompson’s other policies and family health history on her screens.
“Yeah, I have questions. I wrote them down so I would remember the ones Cathy wanted answers for, too. Uh, hold on a minute while I switch phones.” Thompson put Tracy on hold and moved to a phone away from the front of the store. “You still there?”
“Yes, Al, go ahead.”
“I’m not sure where to start. This insurance policy. It’s… it’s obviously illegal, isn’t it? I mean you’re putting people down like what’s done with an old dog.”
Tracy closed her eyes, inhaled deeply through her nose and sighed as she looked out the window toward the surf. “I had to put my old German Shepard, Princess, to sleep because she was in bad pain with cancer, Al. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I grew up with that dog. She was my constant companion; she protected me, slept with me, walked me to school; she ate the food I didn’t want. She was my best friend. I loved her to death. I went with my dad to the vet’s that day, the day I found out why she cried at night, why she couldn’t eat, why she peed on the floor. She had cancer. The vet said the cancer had spread and there was nothing he could do. My dad said we had to put her to sleep, that she had the best life a dog could have because I loved her so much. He told me if I really loved her, I wouldn’t let her suffer any more. So, I kissed Princess goodbye and she licked the tears on my face.” Tracy paused to compose herself.
“Sorry, Al, I get pretty emotional when I talk about her.” Tracy breathed deeply again and continued, “When we said goodbye, I cried for a week. I was 15. Someday maybe someone will love me as much as I loved Princess. If I’m lucky enough to find someone like that, I hope in the end he lets me die in peace without suffering.”
Al took a few seconds to respond. “I understand. Cathy and I agree with the idea. It’s just that, well we don’t understand how it works.”