This morning I was sitting in a co-worker's office preparing for an impending closing. Our CEO called my co-worker's line and asked a question, to which she responded "I don't know, you'll have to check with Mrs. R. She's sitting right here, hang on."
She then proceeds to hand me the phone. I expected him to ask me a question, but he did not. Here is the extent of the conversation:
CEO: "I'm on my way." Click.
I handed the phone back to my co-worker and relayed to her the conversation. She was taken aback, because our CEO had just asked her a very specific question, which he did not pose to me.
So I went back to my office and called him back.
Me: "Co-worker said you had a question for me?"
CEO: "Yes, I asked you if the title company would provide title insurance in light of the last minute escrow."
Me: "Oh. No, you didn't ask me that, you asked Co-Worker that and then she said you'd have to ask me and then gave me the phone. You're wondering about the title insurance?"
CEO: "I already asked you about the title insurance and you said they could do it."
Me (and I probably should have acted in a more subservient manner, but I just couldn't believe what was coming out of his mouth): "What?!? You asked Co-worker the question, and she said that you'd have to ask me. And then when she handed me the phone, all you said was that you were on your way. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone here."
CEO: "I asked you about the title insurance, you said yes, and then I said I was on my way."
Me (trying to resolve the situation and not letting my impatience show but failing miserably): "No, you asked Co-Worker the question. We need to work on our communication, because I can't do my job if I don't know what I'm supposed to do."
CEO (screaming into the phone): "MRS R., I ASKED YOU ABOUT THE TITLE INSURANCE AND YOU SAID YES AND THEN I SAID I WAS ON MY WAY. I AM TIRED OF THIS CRAP FROM YOU."
Me: "Okay, well I did just happen to talk to the title company about the escrow, and while I didn't ask specifically about the title insurance because I didn't know I was supposed to, they indicated they would still close the deal. Bye." Click.
I went back to Co-Worker's office to tell her what had just happened. Having overheard my portion of the first conversation when I was in her office, she couldn't believe it. The only thing we can figure is that CEO didn't allow for the time that it would take her to physically hand me the phone, and that he just started talking to the air right after she said "hang on." And then mistook my "hey" for a "yes."
What I learned today: Always, always, always answer the phone with "Hello."