Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Encouragement (02/23/12)
TITLE: The Cage
By Gail Burks
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“Oh, hi Tom. Wha-at's going on?” Lance said with trepidation, as he never talked to Tom before...ever. Funny, that he should be calling me today, especially after what happened.
“Well, I thought I would, uh, give you a call, to see how you are doing. You know, I heard about what happened,” Tom said nervously.
There was a short silence, then, Lance said curtly, “I'm good. Just trying to process everything.”
“I know we don't talk much at work, but you were on my mind all afternoon. I asked Lilly for your number; I hope that was okay.”
“No problem. Like I said, it's been kind of rough. You know, I still haven't told my wife that I'm out 3 days,” Lance replied, slumping down at the kitchen table.
“Really?” Tom's eyebrows raised. But, then, he wouldn't want to tell his wife, either..at least not yet.
“To be honest, she would freak. I was just transferred from Hawthorne last year thinking this would be a better environment.”
There was a momentary delay, then Tom thought he better go for it. “May I ask you what happened?”
“I guess. It's really not a secret any more. Well, you know, I work in Parts Inventory on the 1st floor. They call it 'The cage'. Last Thursday, we received a shipment of fifteen, state of the art, tool-kits. Top of the line --- only for the Lead Mechanics. Matter of fact, I processed the paperwork myself. Then, the stock clerk put the kits on the shelves for requisitioning. On Monday, Lou, the Super, asked me about the requisitions for the three kits. I said, 'they should be over in the bin.'”
“So, I began to look in the bin and saw nothing. Then, I went to the papers to be filed on Lilly's desk--nothing. Bottom line, we checked with the weekend crew, no knowledge of the missing kits – nearly $600 bucks worth. Everybody said I was the last person to handle them. They also had me on security with my rolling bag, which I never bring to work, but, I had my manuals and laptop that day. So, following this 'mini-investigation' THEY determined I was the culprit,” speaking resentfully.
“Who else had access to the cage?” Tom asked, remembering an incident five years ago.
“Both Lou and the Maintenance Manager, Sam--- they have the keys. I'll be back at work on Thursday. Listen, I know you are a praying man. I heard about you and your church and I could use a few prayers.”
“Lance, let me tell you something. I appreciate you sharing what happened. We really don't know each other, but, I have observed you for a few months. Mostly passing in the hall or in the cafeteria. You appear to be a really upstanding guy. I've never heard ANYONE say a disparaging word about you or your work. When I heard the news today, not only was I surprised, but my entire staff, as well.”
Tears welled up in Lance's eyes hearing these words.
“If you need a reference or someone to speak on your behalf, I will be more than glad to do so and I will pray. I believe the truth will be revealed soon. ”
“Thanks a lot, Tom. I appreciate the call and the encouragement,” Lance softly replied.
While preparing for bed, that nagging thought returned. Now, I remember! Five years ago, several expensive items were missing from Housekeeping storage. Amazingly, the same person in charge of Maintenance now was supervisor of Housekeeping back then ---Lou.
As Tom's wife slept, Tom prayed softly, “Dear Lord, help Lance come to know you and please reveal the truth, quickly, with no repercussions for Lance. Thank you, God, for the victory, in Jesus' Name. Amen.”
The next day, Tom approached the Maintenance Manager and asked if the investigation was still ongoing. Sam confirmed it was. But, just in a few hours, it was discovered Lou, himself, removed the tool kits over the weekend. Lou was later fired.
A few days later, Lance approached Tom in the cafeteria. “Thanks so much for everything,” smiling warmly and patting Tom on the back. “By the way, I would like to hear a little more about your church. Do you have time right now?”
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