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Final Post….For a While :)

February 25, 2010

Good Morning All!

Have you ever had one of THOSE weeks? Well, it’s been one of those for me. Between  packing, and cleaning, and trying not to cry while moving stuff, and still going to work, it’s just been one of those weeks. But something that happened yesterday afternoon really changed my week.

I was in the office by myself while Kelly was out to lunch yesterday. A  young man, a little dirty and with strange mannerisms came in and wanted to do work search. It was great because he already knew how everything worked and didn’t need my help (I always love it when people don’t need my help! ^_^)

He left after looking for a little while. Fine. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. I’ll admit that he gave me a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach because his behavior seemed just a little strange, but no big deal. I get that all the time. That’s why the husband bought me my handy-dandy (don’t know how to use it!), pepper spray.

He couldn’t have been gone 15 minutes and he was back. He came through to my office and asked, “Can I use your phone?”

I didn’t ask what for, which I normally do since our phones are supposed to be used only for worksearch, and told him to dial 9 to get out.

I normally don’t try to listen to what people are discussing on their calls, but I couldn’t help but overhear what he was talking about since he repeated the same thing several times to whoever he was talking to, “I went to see Judge Gergen and he won’t put me in jail.”

Now, I thought this was strange and it made me a little nervous. I have always seen strange things and people when I’ve worked for this office, so this wasn’t super out of the ordinary, but I was still in here by myself, his behavior was a little strange and now I hear that he was supposed to go to jail, but wasn’t for some reason?

Kelly came back a few minutes later.

We have a wonderful chat function through our e-mail, so I was explaining what I had overheard to her, and told her I was nervous and almost wanted to ask him to leave. I feel so awful about that now.

Kelly sent the simple message, “Do you want me to ask him about what’s going on?”

Kelly had worked for Judge Gergen before working with me, so she checked with him to see what was going on. And then she went to speak with Gilbert.

Kelly has years of experience working in social services and especially MHMR (mental health and mental retardation) where she was from in Wisconsin. She sat down with Gilbert and let him tell her everything he had going on. The short of it was this:

Gilbert is originally from Dalhart. He has been living out of his car, at his sisters house (he and his brother-in-law DO NOT get along), with no power to it. The battery is dead, the tires are gone.

You may ask yourself, no tires? How did he get to Dalhart with no tires. He apparently gave them to his girlfriend, with whom he has a son, so that her car could make it wherever she needed to go.

Gilbert had not eaten since Sunday at noon. This was Wednesday at 1:00.

The most important detail, Gilbert is supposed to be on heavy anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants that he has not had for THREE weeks.

OK, so situation, definitely not quite one I’ve been in before. His odd behavior is being caused by a lack of necessary medication. He’s anxious, and it’s obvious. He is hungry. He is desperate. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.

Kelly and I spring into action (well Kelly already had, she is so amazing! 🙂 ) I go over to the food stamp office to see what can be done for Gilbert. They gave me a food stamp application and some ideas on who to call to get him back to a place where there is a MHMR office so that he can get his medication.

We discuss it with Gilbert and decide that he needs to go back to Dumas or to Amarillo where there is an office and there are other resources where he can go for help. I make a call to the local ministerial alliance here in town. They refer me to Panhandle Community Services, who run a low-cost transit service.

I discuss it with Kelly and I called PCS to ask about a bus picking Gilbert up on Thursday (today) morning. They said they could, but he would need to pay a fare. Did he have the money?

Well, the answer was no, of course he doesn’t have the money or he wouldn’t be trying to get himself thrown in jail. I ask Kelly, “What do I say? He needs a fair.”

Now for most people this would be a simple question if they were asked right off the top of their heads. “Would you give this mentally troubled young man the $15 for the bus ride to Amarillo, where there are the services and help he needs? Or would you leave him stranded to freeze to death in his car? Or starve? Or both?”

But the problem is this: we are not supposed to give any aid to customers. No money, no rides, no anything for obvious reasons. Many would keep coming back. Our office is to help people get on their feet by finding work, not by finding handouts.

We told them he had the fare. He didn’t. Kelly paid for it.

When I asked her if I could pay for half, she refused. She went and bought him a cheeseburger and a drink.

She is amazing.

We insisted that Gilbert go to the homeless shelter for a hot meal and a shower after he talked with the Human Services Office. He was looking forward to the prospect of a shower; he hadn’t had one in days. He left looking like his spirits were lifted a little. We reminded him to be here at 10:00 sharp to catch his bus; we told him we weren’t sure we could get him another appointment.

Gilbert came back in this morning. I could tell he had showered. He was smiling and not looking anxious. He had a full nights sleep in a warm room.

I asked him, “Well, are you ready to get out of here?”

He smiled and said, “I guess as ready as I’ll ever be.”

“They were able to get me some food for my trip.”

I smiled, “That’s great! Do you feel better now that you’ve had a shower? I remember you talked about that yesterday.”

He looked at me and said something that would be cheesy in a movie, but in real-life should hit you kind of hard, “You would be amazed what a shower and a good night’s sleep will do for a man. Yesterday I thought I was at the end of my rope; I felt like I either needed to choke somebody or cry.”

I looked at him, a little unsure of what to say, so I just said, “You know, sometimes God just puts people in your way to help you out.”

I was talking about Kelly, and he knew it.

He then said this, “It must be that, I’d been praying about it. I used to have lots of bruises and scars from all the fighting and everything I used to do. But I told my sister now I have big bruises on my knees from praying so hard!”

He got on the bus and went to Amarillo at 9:00. (The bus was early) I’m praying for Gilbert. I hope he is able to get back on his feet and get back into the rhythm of things.

It was just a moment of realization for me. God puts people in our way all the time to help us, to bless us, to change our lives. We all need a Kelly and God will always give us one when we need them, if we’ll only ask.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kelly permalink
    February 26, 2010 2:27 pm

    Callie, you are an AMAZING woman and you have definitely given me too much credit in this blog post! We work together wonderfully as a team and God put us both here to help Gilbert! I love you and miss you already! I know for a fact God put us in each other’s lives for a purpose and I will be forever thankful and grateful! You have touched my life in so many ways and I pray that we will be always be close even though miles seperate us! I love you girl!!

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