Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Space (01/23/06)
TITLE: Hello? Anybody There?
By Mary Lang
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He only had a few minutes before he would have to show up in the board room for a meeting, and he wanted to get these charges on his credit card straightened out. He didn’t remember the charges and hoped he wasn’t the victim of some identity theft.
“Somebody! Hello?? Anybody there???” The classical music only seemed to get louder.
“Due to a high volume of calls, all our representatives are helping other customers. Your call is very important to us. Your call will be answered in the order it was received,” the pleasant voice told him.
Michael punched “O” hoping to get a real person, only to hear the pleasant voice say, “That is not a number I recognize. Please hold and your call will be transferred.”
Michael punched “*” hoping to by pass the recording, but again, “That is not a number….” Michael hung up the phone swearing lightly under his breath. He considered starting over, but the board meeting was looming over his head and he felt time constrictions close in on him. He would have to try reaching customer service at the credit card company later.
“That was totally useless,” he grumbled clearing a space on his desk to go over the meeting agenda. The first item caught his eye. It was titled, “Outreach Program: Telephone Staffing.”
“Boy, do I have input there,” he thought remembering the telephone vacuum he had just floated through. He stuffed the notes in his briefcase and ran down the hall to the board room.
As Director of Religious Education and Outreach, Michael’s ideas were always sought and respected. Michael was known throughout the church for his uncanny ability to catch people at the right time and in the right frame of mind to successfully get a project rolling.
Pastor Jim McDuffy had just started the parish council meeting when Michael flew into the room and grabbed a seat at the long oval table. His blue eyes twinkled mischievously, “Held up in cyberspace, again, Michael?”
“Actually, I was.” Michael’s neck reddened even though he knew the Pastor was teasing.
“Here’s an idea to enrich the Outreach Program,” Michael addressed the five board members. “We can employ our junior and senior high school students to man the outreach phones with training by our full-time coordinators. Pastor McDuffy and I can work out the logistics with the school’s youth transition program to allow them to get class credits.”
Pastor McDuffy asked, “Michael why are you so intent on staffing the outreach phone lines? We have message phones and forwarding capabilities.”
Michael looked into those now serious eyes. “Because people need help at the time they make a call. They don’t want to hear music or that their call is important. We do not want anyone to say that they called God’s workers on earth only to be left hanging in cyberspace.”
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