taken for a ride

August 26, 2007

My job is getting to me . . . I think I’m falling in love with it ☺ Today I was laughing at myself, realizing that I was drawn to putting myself in a work-like role on my off day. Walking towards the downtown library, I heard a shouted, “Can’t nobody get no help around here?!?” As I came closer, I realized she was talking to me, though she peered in all directions around as she talked. I stopped and listened to her for a while, finally interrupting to figure out exactly what it was she was asking for. It turned out to be $4, “for gas,” as she had run out on her way to her grandmother’s house, from Ohio. She only had an account at a northern bank, so couldn’t get money here, and “nobody would help” her . . .
I offered her my phone, then continued to dial the number she had called after she hung up, saying her uncle wasn’t answering. After some inner debate, I decided to offer to take her somewhere if she needed a ride to her uncle’s house. I told her I was going into the library and if she still needed a ride when I came back out in 30 minutes, I’d take her where she needed to go.
Now I should clarify that I had, by this point, already called my grandfather and been assured that this was a typical con story. My decision turned out to be a decently wise one, as she disappeared without taking me up on the ride. But it had me thinking as I continued from there on to the museum.
You see, Monday I will continue a project I began Friday afternoon at work. This particular project involves coaching a woman through her parole requirements to help her fulfill her requirements. I am being very careful to only help in her the ways I am authorized, abiding by the rules of her parole officer. But I do find myself very drawn into the whole situation: externally I am professional in my dealings with her, while internally I am convinced that she is sincere in her desire to do right from now on. As a result, I am adamant about doing everything in my power to help her as much as I can.
Is it possible that I am wrong in my assessment of her intentions? Certainly. I can only pray that I have the strength to do my job—every day—with cases like this. The strength to do what I can without being heartbroken when, as will inevitably happen, I am disappointed by the outcome or mistaken in my judgment concerning another’s heart . . .

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