Argument to Persuade
The sales pitch!
Personally, I feel some of the best persuaders (salespersons) in the world are Emergency Medical and Rescue personnel. Let me see if I can persuade you to agree.
Working ambulance in Minneapolis, we were called out late one evening to a person trapped under a car. An elderly blind woman was walking home from work late when a car backed out of a driveway hitting her, knocking her down then stopping on top with the hot muffler burning her back. Needless to say she was terrified but why? She only had a general idea of what a car looked like, had never seen the undercarriage of one and had nothing to compare the concept of a muffler to what was happening to her.
The rescue was risky, it was a black night and as the car was on an incline. If we tried to lift the rear end it might disengage and roll over her. She heard the rescue workers talking about it and her anxiety level shot to the top of the meter. She started to struggle and whimper in a vain attempt to escape. As Attending it was my job to care for her regardless of where she was, so I did.
I crawled under the car from the opposite side, took her hand in mine and starting talking with her. I introduced myself as if we were standing face to face, told her what I was doing and asked her a few diagnostic questions to ascertain her stability.
She was trembling and crying as she clung to my hand. Thankfully she was not bleeding profusely and had a good airway. It was impossible for me to check for fractures but she stated she didn’t think she had any. (Note: She was in a state of traumatic shock and may not have felt any even if there were)
Now, I’m not sure how many of you have ever lain on your stomach under a 1960s Cadillac sedan so I’ll tell you this, it’s creepy and noisy even when the motor isn’t running. Made us both nervous but I couldn’t show her any signs of it in my voice or movements. What did I do, I talked about son who had been born a few weeks prior. Seems strange hey? Well, my son had some issues when he was born and I was pretty worried about him so sharing my fears with her was a form of displacement. She gave me advice and her trust.
When it was time to get the car off of her, she became more anxious I reassured her that I would stay by her side through it all. She tried to argue with me because she felt that if the car came crashing down on me too, my son would lose a father. This told me she was transferring her fears to me effectively transferring her needs for safety to my son’s needs for a father.
The time came for them to remove the car. The Fire/Rescue captain lay down on the ground on the opposite side of her from me and told us what they intended to do. They were going put my side of the car up on blocks then have a hoist lift her side enough to get her out. Sounds scary hey? It was because there’s always a chance of a strap breaking, a failed calculation or even human error. She became a little agitated and more concerned about me but I assured her that if anything happened my kid would grow up and come kick some serious butt.
The process of setting the blocks was scary for her but I stayed and explained each and everything going on. Once my side had been raised about four inches they went to hers. This was more complicated explaining as she couldn’t touch anything and had no visual memories to draw from. She could, however feel the hands of the rescue team as they set the braces and hooks required to lift the car.
“Oh my, so many strong men!” she said. “Are any single?”
Told her I wasn’t a match maker but that’s see what I could find out.
When then informed us they were ready to lift, we were given protective eye wear and fire blankets to cover out heads. This made her more nervous and she clung tighter to me. I was talking to her about what she was going to do when we got out as the Rescue Captain gave me the silent signal they were going to lift. I warned her, pulled her head close to me and did my own silent prayer.
The noise of the winch and cable coupled with the snap, crackle and pop of the car was unnerving to say the least but I know a dozen members of the rescue squad were prepared to brace the car every inch of the way and they did. Once I could see light between the bottom of the car and her body I called stop and the blocks were shimmed in place. We were safe. The remainder of the process was sliding her onto a backboard and bringing her out.
She had minor injuries, dirty clothes and a demand for an invitation to meet my son.
My sales pitch worked – I persuaded her to trust us. We saved a life without further injury and my son got a third grandmother.