the operator was excellent at following instructions and telling me what exactly he was seeing on the screen.
As someone fairly green on the helpdesk (just hit the 1 year mark), I must say that I appreciate ten times more a user who follows instructions and describes what's on their screen, than users who claim to be tech savvy, broke what they were working on, and can't seem to fix it themselves.
What I really hate are those users who never learned how to use their computer. They know how to operate one or two programs on the computer, but they always say "I'm not a computer person", and use that as an excuse for never learning the difference between the mouse, the monitor and the tower. The kinds of users who can't take instructions because they're unwilling to focus their eyes in unfamiliar territory on the the screen.
I'm fine with ignorance, ignorance can be fixed, and ignorance is honest. What I can't stand is when people call in asking for help, but refusing to say what they need help with, then when you pry it out of them, they refuse to follow the instructions you give them. Those are the worst users.
So yeah. Compassion is great. I do my level best every day to put myself in the users shoes, because I understand how stressful it is when your tools fail you. But there is certainly a point where the patience runs out, because someone who is asking for help (often demanding help) is not willing to be helped once they have my attention.