Describe a person who once apologised to you.
You should say:
- who this person was
- why he/she apologised to you
- where you were then
and explain how you felt about it.
[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
Model Answer 1:
I am not really one of those people who seek apology from others, even in situations when an apology is due. I am sure that there are many people like me. But that doesn’t necessarily deter the more polite who like to apologize just like the banker who apologized to me the other day.
Anyway, it was about a few months ago when I had to go to a bank in my hometown in order to get a copy of my bank statement. I needed that bank statement because I was applying to get a visa to visit one European country. But, in my town, getting a bank statement from any bank was a herculean task. And, this is due to the fact that the bank officials have to take care of thousands of customers every day. So, when I entered the bank to get my bank statement, I knew that my patient was going to be fully tested, and I was fine with that.
But, what I wasn’t fine with, however, was that I had to go and talk to at least 5/6 bank officials to find about the officer who actually was authorized to give me my bank statement. Then, eventually, the waiting game started to test my patience, and I also kept waiting like a gentleman. After all, I needed to get my bank statement. Finally, after almost an hour, my turn came to visit the banker who would give me the bank statement. As soon as I reached near the desk of the officer, I politely asked him what took him so long. He understood my frustration and immediately apologized to me for the delay, saying that they were having some problems with their computer servers.
Anyway, the act of apology suddenly made me feel better even though I knew that I was going to wait for a long time to get my bank statement. I also felt that I couldn’t actually blame any single person for that unfortunate delay as the very system was slow, even though I was sincerely praying and hoping that they would do something to expedite their work process.
Sample Answer 2:
Apologising is a part of good manners and I believe that it often pacifies many chaotic situations. Whenever I believe that someone owes me an apology, I do not hesitate to apologise to this person. In many events, others have apologised to me and I would talk about one such event for this candidate task card topic.
It was around 3-4 months ago when the chief cashier of the City bank profoundly apologised to me. I cannot recall his name but my best guess would be ‘ Mr Jonathon’. He was a middle-aged white male and would be 5 feet 11 or so.
I went to the (…say your bank area name…) City bank branch to withdraw some money. It was unusually crowded and I had to wait in a queue for about 25 minutes. As soon as I presented the cheque leaf, the cashier verified my signature and checked other information on his computer system. Within a minute, he returned my cheque and informed me that my savings bank account with them did not have sufficient balance. His facial expression was quite rough and he advised me to check my balance before presenting any cheque leaf. I tried to explain to him that I deposited a large amount of money the previous day and he should check it before rejecting my cheque. He was adamant and non-cooperative. He asked me to contact the chief cashier for any complaint and leave the cash counter to let others do banking – which was very harsh and unprofessional, I guess. It was a frustrating experience for me.
When I explained the chief cashier the whole situation, he checked the computer system and found that my claim was absolutely correct. In fact, it was their fault that my deposit was not credited to my savings account. The chief cashier then apologised to me profoundly. He took my cheque leaf and cashed it out himself. He apologised to me several times and promised me that such an event won’t happen again.
Honestly speaking, when the cashier rejected my cheque, I felt quite angry and irritated. I knew that I had deposited a large sum of money and there was no way he should reject my cheque. I become angrier when he behaved as if I was a fool to present the cheque without having any balance! The chief cashier’s manner and friendly behaviour, on the other hand, was quite professional and amiable. He attentively listened to my explanation and retracted as soon as he found that I was right and if there was anyone to be blamed, it would be his teller, not me. His cordial response and regret reassured me and I excused the unprofessional behaviours of the teller who denied my cheque. I accepted the apology and left the bank without any hard feelings.
Sample Answer 3:
It is confusing when a teacher comes with an apology. In fact, I had a similar experience in my 8th semester at Columbia University in New York. I will describe the event in brief now and thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to talk about this event.
In my 8th semester, I had to attend a course conducted by Dr Robert Brown. He is a man of letters and knows his subject very well. He has a very sharp sense of rights and wrongs and never compromises on the issues of sincerity. Dr Brown never forced his student to study hard, rather he suggested them to get into the subjects or texts they study. He preferred and inspired the students to understand the topics and the subject as a whole, rather than merely memorising them. Hence, he was a great and popular teacher among the students. A simple mistake and his sincere apology raised his position higher to me and to the remaining class.
Dr Brown was assigned to take our course E 301 – Basic Economics. He took the classes and delivered lectures very professionally. I also attended all of his classes and came to know about different economics-related terms and their use in real-life. So, when we appeared on the semester final exam, we encountered with the math he had shown us before. I answered them perfectly. Unfortunately, he made a simple mistake while checking my answer script. But when I was given the script to check after his evaluation, I discovered the mistake. And he apologised to me very sincerely.
At the beginning of the 9th semester, all the exam scripts were given to us to inform our parents and check back if there was any discrepancy. I was in the class when I found the matter. Instantly, I informed the fact to Dr Brown that there was a mistake in counting the marks. Since he was busy with the exam script distribution, he assured me that he will look into the matter later. Once the exam scripts were distributed, he asked me to meet him with the answer sheet, and he admitted his mistake when I showed him that he did not count the mark of an answer.
He felt sorry for his mistake and apologised to me. He also said that if I had not noticed the discrepancy, my grade could have gone lower than I deserve. He sincerely regretted the mistake. He immediately corrected the score. So, my score bumped up and I was happy. But by the same time, I felt a bit confused that an individual like Dr Brown is seeking an apology from me for his error. However, it was a different experience for me indeed.
More Ideas to talk about this Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card topic:
Topic: Describe a person who once apologised to you.
1. I could not believe that my supervisor will come with an apology and it was an unexpected event indeed. He apologised to me because of his harsh behaviour with me that morning. I was at my desk when he came to apologise to me. I was not ready for such an event. In fact, I felt highly embarrassed then and could not find any word to say. When he came to seek an apology, I was not actually ready to respond!
2. A few months ago, a waiter who behaved a bit rudely apologized to me. I was at the restaurant here in Paris and went there to have my breakfast and morning coffee. But the waiter made a mistake and when I told him politely, his behaviour turned rude. Later, he was forced to apologize. Though I forgave him, I decided not to visit the restaurant again but later discarded the idea. It was not the restaurant’s fault.
3. An apology from a bookseller a few weeks ago was totally unexpected to me. In fact, it was my mistake that I broke a nice-looking showpiece in his store. But he apologized because he thought he did not place the showpiece at the right place. I was in his shop when he was sought for an apology. Actually, I could not believe that he was apologising when I was the one who should be apologising! And I was assured that I don’t have to pay for the broken showpiece. He was very cordial and understanding.
4. A biker sought an apology to me a year ago for obstructing my way. In fact, it was not intentional at all. He was riding at his own pace and I wanted to overtake him. Suddenly he turned right without using his indicator light and I had to break instantly to avoid any potential accident. I fell off the ground from my bike. I did not feel well because I was injured in my knees and wrist. The other biker stopped his bike and came to my help. He also expressed his sincere apology. I accepted his apology and left the place without any hard feelings.
5. My maternal uncle, Sam, apologized to me recently. He took my laptop to complete a presentation and he forgot to tell me about it. I started seeking the laptop here and there. Finally, I thought that it was lost and when my uncle returned home from his office in the evening, he understood everything and apologized to me. I felt glad that the laptop was not lost or stolen. I realized that he was in a rush and thus forgot to take my approval while taking the laptop.
When you are ready to talk about this cue card topic, you should be able to talk about the following topics as well:
1. Describe an unexpected event when you felt confused.
2. Describe an event when you apologised to someone.
3. Describe a bad experience you have had recently.
4. Describe a salesperson or a store owner who offered you a great service.
5. Describe an event when you felt ashamed.
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