SHIRLINGTON, VA -- After years of mockery from his friends and family, Jerry Huston, 31, recently upgraded his cell phone plan so he gets free calls within the Verizon network.
His friends who once ridiculed him for speaking tersely and hanging up abruptly so that their phone conversations would not exceed the minute mark are now paying the price for their mocking. Huston, who previously had the 300 minute plan, decided after getting a promotion to upgrade to the 450 minutes per month plan for an additional $5.
In addition to the extra 150 daytime minutes per month, Huston can talk for an unlimited amount of time with other Verizon customers. The result, say his friends, is a whole new Jerry.
"We used to just e-mail during the day since his boss sits nearby so he didn't want to do lots of personal calls from his land line," said Huston's girlfriend, Maisy Hollows. "Now during his coffee break he'll check in to see how I'm doing and then again at lunch. Then around 4 or so he'll call to discuss we're having for dinner. Frankly, I wish he'd consolidate it a bit."
One of Huston's friends who asked not to be named said that he was weirded out by the almost daily calls. "It used to be that I'd call and either Jerry wouldn't answer then call back a minute later from another number -- a land line, I guess -- or he'd sound very strained, like he couldn't wait to get away. Now he's a totally new person on the phone and won't stop chatting."
The friend said he was contemplating telling Huston that Verizon's reception in his new office building was bad so he had switched to Sprint or AT&T in the hopes that Huston would reduce his constant calls.
Huston is also contemplating buying a texting plan that will let him have up to 250 messages a month for $5. At the moment, he pays $.20 for each text that he receives or sends. His close friends know not to text him unless it is absolutely necessary, but Huston said that the newfound freedom he feels from his unlimited Verizon-to-Verizon plan is making him reconsider his opposition to texting.
"Last year my friend texted me 'Merry Christmas' and I was pissed off because I knew it was costing me and he could have just said that over e-mail," Huston said, via an in-network cell phone interview Monday afternoon. "But on further reflection it was a nice sentiment and it would be nice to wish everyone a Happy New Year."