You may remember me complaining about wrong numbers on our land line because our number matches the first seven digits of the toll-free number for Medicaid Transportation in our area. We’ve gotten used to so many wrong numbers that we hardly answer that phone, only keeping it because it’s tied into our alarm system. Usually I just look at the caller ID to see whether the ringing phone is a “real” call or not.
My voice mail message (tersely) alerts the caller they may have the wrong number and suggests they try dialing 1 first. I often then hear the beep of pressing 1, or they hang up and call again. Frequently the caller doesn’t speak English, or they sound elderly, infirm, or all of the above. Sometimes I come home and find full length messages from people stating their name and the time and date of their needed ride. I usually press delete and get on with my day.
I guess I felt I did what I could to help, alerting agencies and providers of the issue and concluded that was the limit of my responsibility. Still, I occasionally pick up the phone, especially if the same person calls repeatedly. Lately a few people said they tried dialing 1 but got a message that the phone number is no longer in service. A new wrinkle, yet not quite catching my full attention. I replied with shrugged shoulders, “Sorry, this is a private residence (!!),” hung up, and got on with my day.
Yesterday the phone rang three times in a row with the same name popping up on the caller ID. In frustration from the constant ringing (don’t I get enough of that torture at work??), I picked up the phone. I tried my usual speech about dialing 1, and the woman said she got the no-longer-in-service message. I turned around and googled Medicaid Transportation on my computer which is right in front of the telephone. “Oh, thank you,” she said, “I don’t have a computer.” It had not occurred to me that someone could not be able to do what is second nature to me.
After a few searches – it’s not so easy to navigate government agencies even for the computer savvy — I found the list of numbers for Medicaid Transportation by county. The number she had was off by one, the last, digit. I asked her where she had gotten that number, she said a social worker gave it to her. Perhaps she copied the number wrong, or perhaps it’s wrong on some list somewhere. I suggested she let the social worker know about the error. She promised she would.
The woman thanked me over and over. In perfect English. I gratefully received her blessings and thought how nice for me, I had done my good deed for the day and was rewarded. Then I felt an intuitive knock on my head. Here I am supposedly surrendering to Divine guidance, saying I wish to be of service, asking to be an instrument for the greater good in whatever way I may be called. Could the call be any clearer?