This is Emily, Bob’s sidekick.  I just got off the phone with someone who called needing help with a pretty serious court case:  Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance/Cocaine.  I asked all the standard questions we ask:  Name, Date of Birth, When, How, Where.  I checked off the boxes that is important to know when we are approaching a new case:  Any priors? Do you have a job? A family? Do you know when you have court? 

It is Monday morning.  I’m a little cranky.  Poor me.  I have a stack of files that need to be carefully tended. I have to order file folders and ink pens.  I have to call the Department of Public Safety and research a problem.  My mind is a thousand different places.   And this guy calls in the middle of all that.  Somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain, I hear a strong, commanding voice from the past:  “you WILL treat each customer with the respect they deserve”. 

Suddenly, I’m thrust back to 1976.  JC Penney’s in Atkinson Square, Midwest City, Oklahoma.  My first job. I was a girl, therefore I worked in “Women’s Fashions”.  I was promptly and squarely placed into the care of two strong and capable women:  Mrs. Staton and Mrs. Maston.  They intimidated the heck out of me.  I STILL fold shirts the “JC Penney” way.  I occasionally find myself buttoning blouses and tying dress bows at stores when I am shopping.  Seriously!  Besides discipline and thoroughness, the main lesson I learned from these formidable personalities is that the customer REALLY does come first.  My needs are secondary. One warm Saturday afternoon, I was tired and wanting to be anywhere besides the ladies underwear section.  I was watching the clock, waiting for my turn to take a break.  Mrs. Maston came up behind me and in her stern voice said “you have a customer that is looking for a prom dress over in the Juniors Section.  You’re a ‘junior’ go take care of them”.  Startled, and a little mad, I headed over to the prom dress section.  I spent the rest of the afternoon with a girl my age and her mother.  They tried on at least ten dresses and I had to hang them all back up when we were done.  They left with a stunning yellow dress that was perfect for her.  I missed my break.  But what I didn’t miss was the lesson.  The girl was so grateful.  I knew that the mother was relieved.  More importantly, Mrs. Maston stopped glaring at me (as often) after that. 

Cut to today.  When the little voice inside me (the ghost of Mrs. Maston) told me I wasn’t paying good attention to the young man on the phone, I started listening with a little more care.  I heard the nervousness in his voice.  I sensed the courage it took to make the call in the first place.  He was worried about his future.  He was worried about how much it would cost to take care of this. He was worried that no one would help. 

How CAN we help you?  How can we make this difficult experience more understandable?  How can we help you get back on track with your life, your family and your job?  We start first by listening.    Call us, we are here to HELP.