This was written in honor of my friend Billy Kaye Diamattia , a rare friend.
Angels Really Do Exist
Rarely found in corporate America are people who actually place the well-being and success of others above their own. But if there ever was an example of a compassionate, unselfish, genuinely sincere person her name to me is Billie Kaye Diamattia. She has a voice as sweet as gum drops, her hair looked like the fine work of a silk worm, she had a strong Irish-Indian look, a nervous twitch that reminds you of a mischievous little girl, and a twinkle in her eyes that only Santa Claus could match. Her entire essence seemed to represent the true embodiment of love. Billie Kaye was an awesome force in the mortgage community.
The first time I meet Billie Kaye. She was rescuing me. I was a loan processor for Oak Tree Mortgage. The home office decided to centralize all processing to their Oklahoma branch; they informed me that the only job left for me was that of a loan officer. I was excited until I was informed that I was paid on commission only. Things for me were very tough at Oak Tree Mortgage all of the other employees literally had left the company I was the last woman standing. One of the real estate agents I worked with had given me a sizable loan that would pay very good commission it was a difficult loan to get approved. The underwriter at Oak Tree was giving me a hard time. I explained this to the agent and she told me to call Billie Kaye at North American Mortgage. When I spoke to Billie Kaye on the phone and started explaining my situation it was like I had known her all my life. She encouraged me to apply at her company for a job and assured me that she would see to my loans being underwritten; I interviewed for the job and was hired.
I was excited and grateful for my new job. Billie Kaye took me around to meet all the employees everybody was nice but they all kept asking me had I meet Rena yet, she was the other loan officer. As Billie Kaye proceeded to take me to my office, I heard this growl from the other office and a voice that said “well are yall going to introduce me to the new girl.” Rena came out of her office and immediately let me know she was the top producer, her loans got top priority, she did business in certain areas that I should not go near and that no matter how unfair it may seem she always got her way.
After about nine months of employment at North American Mortgage it was very clear that there was something awfully wrong with how the office was being run. Employees were made to work late to appease Rena, they were offered comp time instead of overtime pay, employees were screamed at and disrespected and every time a complaint was made to management matters worsened. Due to unfair treatment from local management and Rena’s ability to manipulate management to agree to her every request Billie Kaye decided to open an office for another company. But the company she was going to work for only wanted a wholesale branch (wholesale branches only do business with other companies.) I was a retail loan officer I did business directly with the people. These two types of branches very rarely worked in the same office. It is like putting two opposing little league teams on the field and telling them not to compete. Because wholesale companies had loan officers who worked with real estate agents and I solicited agent business as well it is hard to trust that a retail loan officer might not monitor a wholesale branch’s agent’s and solicit them for business. We all got paid on commission.
June is one of my favorite months. Children are out of school and families are going on vacation, visits to the water parks, and sunshiny days full of fun but this June morning turned out to be one of the worst days of my life. As I was on my way to work enjoying my early morning ride and thinking about my loan production I was feeling on top of the world. As soon as I pulled onto the parking lot, a dark cloud immediately hung low over my head. I did not see Billie Kaye’s car. I went upstairs to the office and that cloud burst and as I was being told that Billie Kaye had given her two weeks notice and the manager asked her to leave right then. As I walked to my office the tears roll down my face and I could not stop crying. My friend was gone and I did not have a chance to say goodbye and I was left alone at North American Mortgage. Rena’s fangs were showing. She was walking all over the office huffing and puffing and scratching and clawing at everybody like a big bad wolf. Rena reminded everyone that she was the top producer and that she did not care how short handed the office was she needed her loans underwritten. Rena was acting like a school yard bully who had been bitten by a rabid dog. The manager had to end up hiring contract underwriters. Rena’s total lack of respect for the feelings of others made their life a living nightmare and they all made it clear that they disliked her a lot. She tried to make my life miserable. Rena knew I was not afraid of her so she used her influence over others to get her way. I was having a hard time getting my files approved. I asked one of the contract underwriters why? He informed me that while in the middle of underwriting one of my files Rena pulled it right out of his hands and gave him her file, he told me when he protested Rena not only informed him that he was there because of her but that he could also be replaced because of her. He stated that after she went into the manager’s office and growled at him, he came out and told him to underwrite all of Rena’s files as priority. The underwriter told me this in confidence he made me promise not to confront management.
After she left, I would call Billie Kaye daily telling her about how awful it was to be there without her presence and her fairness. I had no idea that a fellow co-worker was also telling her the same story. Billie Kaye assured me that she was talking to the Senior management team at her new company daily. She finally convinced them that I was a valuable asset to any company and she assured them that I would cause no trouble or the wholesale division. They wanted to be sure I was not someone who would look into the wholesale brokers files and steal their contacts. However this company had to complete a background check which took thirty-days. I lost ten(10lbs) pounds from just sweating and worrying. Then one day on my way into work I got a phone call from Billie Kaye, she said ”Chrystal it is a go, pack your desk when go in and get out of that place.” I cannot begin to tell you how it felt going to pack my desk and passing by Rena’s office with a look of assurance and gratitude knowing that she would feel stomped when she found out I was going to work with the most wanted and respected underwriter in the mortgage business. The fact that Billie Kaye made it known that she loved me like a sister added insult to injury. Rena’s top production did not earn her love or respect but her attitude did cause her to miss a great opportunity to work with a top notch team of professionals at Irwin Mortgage.
There was not a lot of room at our new location, but Billie Kaye being her usual self had decorated my office like a warm welcoming room that you would have at your grandma’s house. Even though Billie Kaye had convinced the corporate office of Irwin, I was an asset; she still had to deal with the doubts and concerns of the local employees. We had a small staff and creating a position for me meant extra work and longer hours. Billie Kaye personally compensated for that by coming in earlier, staying later and working almost every Saturday and Sunday to get my files processed and underwritten. There were times when inner office strife, family stress, and the relentless, ruthless, inconsiderate nagging of some of the agents and customers who were gnawing at my throat like a rabid vampire, made me feel like just giving up. Billie Kaye would notice this and sometimes I would get this perfect card, or an aroma therapy candle, or a sweet-smelling oil or sometimes she would just call me to her office close the door and let me cry without saying a word and sometimes she would cry with me
King Solomon said if you acquire one friend in a life time you have a gift more precious than gold. Billie Kaye Diamattia is a gold mine, a woman strong enough to love, wise enough to give, understanding enough to listen and graceful and merciful enough to treat all people as equals. Maybe King Solomon met Billie Kaye in another life. Maybe she taught him what true friendship was. She sure did teach me. A guardian angel is described as a heavenly being, in a long white robe, a hallo around its’ head and someone who watches over you to keep you from harm. To me she has a voice as sweet as gum drops, hair spun by silk worms, a strong Irish-Indian looks, the nervous twitch of a mischievous little girl and a twinkle in her eyes like Santa Clause.
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Princess Diana