I was recalling a Christmas back in 1990, a memory as clear as the day it took place. I was a social services staff member at Columbine West.
We don’t always get along with everyone. In social services, the expectation is you DO get along with everyone. I always tried my best. One resident was having none of it! Whenever I tried to visit with her, she’d say “Oh you’re that social worker, get out of here!”. No matter how hard I tried, her response was the same – GET OUT!
I made good connections with her son. He shared when she gets an idea in her head about someone, that’s it. He wished me luck!
I volunteered as a housekeeping that Christmas Day. The resident who didn’t like me was on my assignment. I knocked on her door, said I was with housekeeping and asked if she was ready for me to clean her room. She called me in, then said, “You’re that social worker. What are you doing here today?”. I told her today, I am your housekeeper.
I started my work when she told a story of how her father had been away for months and she was so lonely for him. She was 7 years old, in 1905. She wasn’t sure he would be home for Christmas. The day wore on into evening when her father arrived with a snow globe in hand. She said this Christmas was her favorite of the 92 she had enjoyed.
In the days and years that followed, she tolerated me for about 15 minutes and would then send me away. Her son told me it was a “miracle” she shared a story he had never been told himself.
Don’t give up on people, our continued trying is how we connect best.
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