In order for you to appreciate this story I need you to get a voice in your head, a voice with a thick Indian accent. Perhaps you have an Indian friend's voice you can summon, or perhaps you've watched enough episodes of Seinfeld or The Simpsons to prepare you for this task. But whatever you do, do not read further until you have that voice readily available.
Way back in 2008, when we were making arrangements for our mass exodus from Utah, I took the responsibility to arrange our new home and car insurance. Lucky for me, our realtor offered a complimentary service to help folks like us. I was put in touch via email with a man named Zia who would take our information and then fetch several quotes. We arranged homeowners insurance over email, but when it came to car insurance, Zia decided that it was better to talk it over on the phone. So he called me.
When I answered and he introduced himself, I found that Zia had a thick Indian accent and a big heart. He was kind and encouraging about my family's upcoming move as we chit-chatted a bit. Then, we began talking car insurance. He explained that there were several different policies to consider when it came to car insurance and that they varied mostly in coverage amounts, and then he began going over them one by one. (Okay, it's time to summon that voice and read this in your thick Indian accent.) Said he:
"In this poe-lee-see, you would have one hundred thousand dollars of coverage per person and a five hundred dollar deductible in the event of an accident--" and--this is where it gets funny--he paused and in a low, humble voice sincerely said, "You know, God forbid anything happen to you or your fam-ee-lee."
Because, you know, insurance is all about imagining horrific, worst-case-scenarios. And even though Zia was so kind and sincere, this made me giggle. Something about the accent mixed with the sincerity just put me over the edge and I had to put my put my hand over the receiver while I bit my lip and tried to swallow my laughter back.
I finally managed to say, "Uh huh," without laughing.
Zia read the next poe-lee-see detailing the deductible and amount of coverage and ending with the same preventive, sincere prayer, "God forbid anything happen to you or your fam-ee-lee."
And I'm telling you, it was even funnier the second time.
But it really got funny on the third round of "God forbid anything happen to you or your fam-ee-lee."
In fact, I completely lost focus of any of the information he was giving me and instead braced myself for the next one. Like a fabulous thrill ride at an amusement park, I waited through each poe-lee-see explanation with equal dread and giddy anticipation. It was so, SO funny, and yet, I had to keep it together and not laugh.
And with each time he said it--God forbid anything happen to you or your fam-ee-lee--it was as if it became more and more painful for him to keep talking about the hypothetical car accidents that would be covered by these contracts. He became more and more somber and I could almost see him shaking his head reverently, pained to have to speak of such things.
And across the country, on the other end of the line, I too was shaking my head as tears of supressed laughter were streaming down my face. Say it again! Say it again! I was thinking, and then, Wait! No! Don't say it again! I'm going to snort!
"God forbid anything happen to you or your fam-ee-lee."
I think Zia read about 15 total policies to me. I had no idea which one was the best. I finally managed to think about cancer patients and natural disasters long enough to sober up and say, "Which one do you think is best, Zia?"
I was reminded of this story because we switched car insurance policies this morning. As it turns out, the policy I chose with Zia wasn't the most economical. But, you know, the good news is that nothing happened to me or my family. I think it's safe to say we have Zia to thank for that.
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