Avery Doninger's Americorps Blog
ANSWER THE PHONE
“this time tomorrow where will we be?”
Nov 22nd 2008
I was about to go to bed..until this just spilled out of me..
I hate when people call and tell me that they have been on the phone with FEMA for weeks calling and calling, but everyone they talk to just gives them another number and transferring them to people who supposedly cannot help them. These people are just getting the run around all day and being promised things that are not true. People promise that they will call back and they don’t. Nobody is helping them because either they don’t know how so they pass it on, or they just tell them to keep waiting, or they make something up to make them temporarily happy so they don’t have to deal with them and can get off the phone with them. I find myself talking to people who are just exhausted from not knowing.
All I want to do is to be able to give them answers, whether it is good news or not. I have a reputation in the JFO PPI section for being the one always badgering my supervisors or just people who really know what they are doing. This is only because people call me and I don’t know what the problem is, but I listen to them tell me all that they’ve been through, not just talking about the disaster itself but just having to work with FEMA and the ridiculous amount of calls they’ve made and the lack of any answers they’ve gotten. You can just feel the pain, stress, exhaustion, and just sadness in their voices. I can’t even imagine myself being in such a helpless situation that I assure these people that I am going to be the one to help them and that no, I don’t know the answer, but I am going to find you the answer.
People ask for my name and you can hear how grateful they are in their voice when they say “thank you so much Avery, you’re the first helpful person I’ve spoken to all day”, when I haven’t even done anything yet, but listen and tell them I was going to do everything in my power to find them an answer.