- The Hulk—exposure to gamma rays led to an anger problem he managed to channel for good
- Spiderman—got bit by a radioactive spider
- Superman—sent to earth as a baby just before his home planet was destroyed
- Flash—accidentally came in contact with electrically charged chemicals
- Iron Man—was kidnapped, suffered a chest injury and built a jet-packed suit of armor
- Batman—used the research and development department of the family business to develop crime-fighting tools and avenge the death of his parents
The difficult situations each of these men endured may have given them unique opportunities, but they did not make them heroes. These heroes share two other things in common, too. At some point they decided to act for the sake of justice, and they inconvenienced themselves for the good of others.
In many ways, debt collectors are superheroes. They are not from other planets or the victims of lab experiments gone wrong like Superman or Flash. They are more like Iron Man and Batman who use the tools at their disposal for the sake of justice. Iron Man uses a jet suit, Batman uses a utility belt or the Batmobile, and debt collectors use extensive databases and networks.
Debt collectors are too often confused with negative characters. This could not be further from the truth. Collectors simply ask that past due accounts are paid in full as was agreed at the time of purchase. They make phone calls, read contracts and negotiate solutions so that consumers pay for what they have already received. Debt retrieval is the act of returning money to its rightful owner.
Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, tells the story of a friend of his who worked in collections and helped a debtor eliminate debt by performing services for the company he owed instead of making payments. It was not the simplest solution, but this reverse bartering process served both parties well. Such mediation tactics reveal heroic efforts to promote justice and compassion.
Debt collectors seek to resolve past due accounts because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s easy. They realize that many misunderstand their purpose, but that does not deter them from seeking justice and balanced accounts. At the end of the day, they don’t do the job for the accolades; they do it as a matter of principle… just like real superheroes.
Who is your favorite superhero and why? How do you think they would handle debt collection?