Sometimes in life, drastic situations call for drastic measures. For instance… Your babysitter calls in sick on a day when you have a presentation at work. Another company has flown in specifically for it and there is a huge promotion on the line if you’re able to sell your company’s idea. What do you do?
If you’ve seen the film, “One Fine Day,” you know that Michelle Phieffer’s character is a single mom dealing with that exact situation. Calling everyone she can think of to watch her little boy and having absolutely no luck, she brings him to work and takes drastic measures to hide him from her boss. Amidst Hollywood hijinks, she’s able to make her presentation and it’s a huge success. It’s a very fine day indeed.
I know it’s Hollywood, but we’ve all been in situations where there is a lot riding on our performance or a set of circumstances, and the cost of failure will come at a high price. We are out of resources, because if we had any, we’d be using them, so we need to think of something unique. And effective. And quickly.
Drastic measures usually come into play when we need a different resource, we need it to be a sure thing and we need it now. I have been in quite a few of these situations, especially after my injury. I’m the one that has labeled them “drastic”, but I’ll share one with you and see what you think.
About twelve years ago, I moved from LA back to Pine Bush. I was planning on living with my dad, in an upstairs apartment in his house. The state had a program I qualified for that helped individuals with disabilities get what they need to integrate them back into the workforce. They modified my van for me so I would have reliable transportation and were going to put an elevator in my home, as my home would also serve as an office.
The elevator was a pretty big project. We were at the stage of the contractor cutting a huge hole in the side of my house where the opening of the elevator would be on the second floor. It just so happened we were going to have heavy rain over the next few days and it was important my contractor finish the area he was working on so we wouldn’t have any major leaks.
He showed up the next morning, needing to talk to me. He said he was due a large payment from the state but had not yet received it. When he called, they said a mistake had been made and he would not receive his money for another six weeks. He was very nice, but he explained he could not continue to work on my job without getting paid when he thought he would. He was a small, one man band and had a family to feed.
He said he would be back as soon as the payment came in and would have to work on another job until then. I asked him if I got his money tomorrow, would he come the following day? With a raised eyebrow, he said yes.
I spent the rest of the day researching who exactly was responsible for this mistake. That’s the person I wanted to see. Once I found out, I made my plan. I called the aide that was working with me the following day to let her know what my plans were, and she was very supportive. I also called my lawyer. When I told him what I was going to do, he thought I was crazy but said call him if need be.
There were two people I needed to meet with. One was the woman who lost my contractor’s voucher, made a new one and put it at the bottom of the pile to be paid. The next person was her boss. I was hoping I could explain my situation, get a check cut and leave.
I arrived at their offices at 7 am. The receptionist was there but the two people I need to meet with not due in until 8 o’clock. I wouldn’t explain why I was there, I just said I had an emergency and needed to speak with both of them. I had their names from my research.
The woman was the first to arrive and after a brief explanation from me, she said there was nothing she could do about the situation and my contractor would have to wait. “These things happen,” she said. “There’s nothing I can do. Bruce “Smith” is my boss and he’s who you need to talk to.” She went into her office, picked up the phone and shut the door. What a nice, empathetic, buck passing broad.
About fifteen minutes later, Bruce arrived. I could tell by the way he looked at me, he knew who I was and why I was there. He invited me into his office with a smile and shut the door. I explained my situation. He agreed it was unfortunate and his office was responsible for the mistake, but there was nothing he could do about it. Checks were not written in his office, they came from a location in Albany and were part of a bureaucratic process.
I planted my wheelchair right next to his desk, close enough so I could rest my left arm on it. I told him I had rain coming in a huge hole in my house. I told him I needed an installment of $7000.00 so my contractor would come to work the next day. I told him I was going to sit right where I was until I had a check for that amount in my hand and that I did not care where it came from… Albany, Pluto or his very own bank account.
By noon, he was getting annoyed. I had not moved an inch and he said if it came time to close the building and I was still there, he would have no choice but to call the police and have me escorted out or arrested. I said I had a few newspapers waiting to hear from me and if he wanted pictures of me in handcuffs, being forced out of his building as I told my story, go right ahead and call the authorities. I still wasn’t moving.
The newspaper story was a bluff on my part, but it worked. Bruce started making phone calls and by 4:30 pm that afternoon, he had arranged for a courier from Albany to bring a check in the amount of $7000.00 to my home that evening. I reiterated that I would not leave his office without check in hand, so he might want to reroute his courier.
Around 8 PM, the courier showed up at Bruce’s office with my check. Upon my request, my aide had called a few of my friends throughout the day, so I had some support waiting for me in the parking lot. Bruce said not a word to me as we left, just got in his car and turned the key. That was fine by me… I had to stare at the guy all day long. I had my fill of him, too.
I was physically and emotionally drained. I had sat in one position for over twelve hours without even a bathroom break and only a few sips of water. To be fair, Bruce offered me some of his lunch, as I watched him eat it at his desk six inches away from me, but I would have rather starved.
I called my contractor when I got home, told him I had his payment and he said he’d see me tomorrow. By the end of the week, he also received the entire amount to complete the project, even though it was far from completion. I guess they weren’t taking any chances on the possibility of having to see me again.
It’s unbelievable the drastic measures we must take at times to get what we need and what we have been promised. My heart goes out to those who don’t have the physical or mental capability to stand up for themselves and fight for what they are entitled to.