Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fulfillment (04/06/06)
TITLE: Finding Fulfilling Employment
By Andre Kingston
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Work starts as normal, exchanging information with the morning dispatcher. I am the afternoon dispatcher for a school bus company. I get my papers together, read my emails, answer drivers telling me they are out there doing their lunch runs (kindergarten kids). Give out messages about kids being off today. I then start preparing papers and so forth for the afternoon. There are many drivers off today. We don’t have enough spare drivers to cover them. This means I will have to ask different drivers to take a few kids here and a few kids there until all the kids get home. I start looking through all the information I have at hand to see who I can ask to do what. Then the phone rings.
On the other end is one of our drivers. She is one of the few people there I have actually tried building a friendship with. So far, I feel unsuccessful.
“I can’t drive the rest of this lunch run or my afternoon run because I have a stress-induced migraine.” I could hear the tears of pain in her voice.
“OUCH! Those hurt. What’s happening that has you so upset?”
“I’m living in a homeless shelter with my teenage, DH (developmentally Handicapped) daughter and my best friend out East was just murdered. I can’t afford to go back home for the funeral because I can’t even afford a place to live.” (Paraphrased to exclude heartfelt, but indelicate language.)
She went on to explain what happened. She sub-leases an apartment. She paid her rent to the owner of the lease. The owner of the lease is supposed to pay the landlord. My co-worker paid her rent, but the money didn’t make it all the way to the landlord. She was evicted.
I manage to reassure her that her students would be taken care of. I set to work getting someone to get out to her schools and take the students off her bus and get everyone to where they were supposed to be.
The rest of the day goes as expected, stressful – but fairly uneventful. The challenges of more routes than drivers were met. All students and drivers get home safely.
Two days later, I can’t get this driver out of my head. I work at the same place she does. If I were not married to a man with a good job, I would not be able to afford a place to live either.
I felt the only thing I could do was to talk with my husband. After explaining a few things, he offered to help her with money for a deposit on an apartment up to $1000. Not much in terms of life, but definitely helpful when you have nothing. My husband is not the picture of generosity, but he can come across with the gallantry of Prince Charming on a white horse sometimes. So I call her and tell her.
“You’re not kidding, are you?”
“No, really. The money is there when you find a place. Just keep in contact so we know what is happening.”
“Aaaah! That is so sweet! Does your husband want another wife?” she asked with a laugh.
“Uhm…. NO! Do you think he could handle you AND me? And he was MINE first!”
All good friendships start with a need being fulfilled and a laugh. I think this might actually be the starting of a friendship. I look forward to seeing where this goes.
It is only at this moment that I see how God kept me in this job for this moment. At least working for God is fulfilling, even if the pay isn’t so grand.
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