Laughter as brain injury medicine … what’s your credit card number

20 Feb

I was recently helping someone get a copy of birth certificate.  The only way to order the certificate in advance was to pay by credit card.  I put the other person on the telephone so they could charge the credit card.  The telephone was on speaker phone.

Old Birth Certificate

Old Birth Certificate (Photo credit: crabchick)

The woman at the Department of Health Services asked for the credit card number.  This individual was looking directly at the card and repeated what was perceived as the number:


The receptionist replied with great patience “Please read your card number one more time”


Sir, she replied: “Can you read your credit card number again.  They should all be numbers.  There are no letters in your credit card”

English: A smartcard graphic, without banklogo...

This gentleman responded angrily and out of frustration.  “Madam, I am reading right off my card.  You need to listen clearly.”  With that she didn’t do anything but listen.

After this gentleman expressed  pure frustration with her inability to understand what he was saying his anger increased I took over the telephone.  I read the credit card to make sure the proper number would be recorded.


The receptionist read the card number back:  8899-77-00668 and politely, albeit very frustrated with this conversation thanked us for placing the order for a copy of the birth certificate.

We were told it would be in the mail by afternoon.  I’m certain she had her laugh for the day and shared this experience with others to laugh!

The gentleman looked at me and questioned how I could get the correct number but he couldn’t.  I didn’t know how to tell him because he didn’t recognize the obvious.  If it were obvious to him, it would have never happened.

Life is about perceptions!  Most importantly, regardless of how we perceive things differently we need to continue laughing at ourselves!

I didn’t know what he was reading until I took the card.  If I knew, I would have prevented the escalating frustrations and anger. I did reply by telling him it’s easy to mistake the numbers on the card for letters when the card is upside down.   It’s so much easier to read the proper number when it’s not upside down!

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3 responses to “Laughter as brain injury medicine … what’s your credit card number

  1. behindthemaskofabuse

    February 20, 2013 at 12:14 am


  2. heidirmoore

    February 20, 2013 at 12:58 am

    Helpful as always, Edie. (But not the real number, right?)

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      February 20, 2013 at 8:08 am

      Thanks for telling me with the other post. I learned and as I put the number in I thought about what you said. I appreciate everyone looking after me. Take care and stay safe, Edie


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