The woman sighed as the door opened and looked up.
Would these interruptions never end? She glanced
at the poorly dressed woman with her four small
children. When will they ever learn, she thought.
The middle-aged woman looked at her Rolex and then
the papers on her desk. "I'm in sort of a hurry,"
she said. "My husband's picking me up for dinner
and I have to get this paperwork done before I go.
"What can I do for you? Food and shelter? We don't
do that here. That's another government agency.
You'll have to wait till Monday morning. 114th Street,
about six miles from here. Get there early if you can.
"No, ma'am, I'm sorry. I'm not allowed to pay for bus
fare. We're strictly 'tsunami relief' here. Yes, it
was a terrible tragedy. So many people without the
bare essentials." She glanced at her Rolex again.
"I don't have time to call the other agency. They close
in a few minutes anyway and won't be open again till
Monday. Wait till then. And please stop that child
crying. I'm a very sensitive person. No, I don't have
"the names of any shelters or missions. We don't get
involved with churches. They're another whole class of
people. As I've said, we're strictly 'tsunami relief'.
Well, can't you leave your children with friends? I see.
"Then perhaps you should have thought of that before you
had so many. And it's certainly not my fault your husband
beats you. You need to take that up with the proper
authorities. Now really, if there's nothing further, I
"must get back to work. My husband will be here in a few
minutes. I wish I could help you. I really do. But there's
absolutely nothing I can do. Yes, Monday morning. Here's
the address. It's on 114th Street about six miles from here.
"There'll be a long line and it's first come first served.
They open at 8:30. Try to be there by seven. I'm fairly
certain they can help." The woman sighed and went back to
her paperwork. As the young mother turned to leave, the lady
called to her without looking up. "It is more blessed to give
than to receive, after all. If you'd care to donate to the
tsunami victims, you can drop it in the bucket on your way out.
It was a terrible tragedy. Terrible! Any little bit will help."