Letter to the Editor: A return to common courtesy

For the record I am a 39 year old woman. I have been married for 15 years to my high school sweetheart and we have 3 beautiful children. I have had 2 tickets in my entire life one for speeding when I was 18 and one for an illegal turn where I accidentally caused a wreck because I forgot I was on a one way street, laugh if you will. I have absolutely never been in any other type of trouble with the law.

I have found that if you put out friendly and nice into this world often times it will be returned. I have also found that most of the time when people treat you badly it is caused by a stressor in their lives that you have no knowledge of or past experiences that have jaded their belief in the goodness of people. I try very hard to be a good and conscientious person. To have empathy for my fellow man. To be helpful where I can and friendly always.

I have a friend who has suffered some pretty traumatic events in his life. He has been a friend to me since I was just a teenager. He has been a great support to me and my first son both monetarily and just a person to talk to and be my sounding board. He was my roommate when I was young and divorced and allowed me to work part time in order to be with my young son more.

He called me up out of the blue about a year ago. His life had been difficult and the journey had been harsh to him emotionally and physically. He is younger than me but looked ragged, tired, thin, and beaten. He had nothing left and he was struggling. He had tears in his eyes when he first walked through my door and has fought every day to regain his spirit.

He is happy and well and has even gotten custody of his son. He is also parent to his daughter by love but not blood. He is partial business owner with my husband and myself. He is born again and trying his very best to right every misstep in his past. It has been a long road getting him to forgive himself and to trust the world again.

In 2008 he passed through Italy, Texas. He was a struggling single dad- his children’s mother in jail AGAIN. He was stopped by an officer and given 2 citations. Speeding <10% above posted speed limit, Failure to report change of address, and then he got a failure to appear citation when he did not make it back to court.

Obviously, years have gone by. He was unable to pay the fines and unfortunately the longer he did not pay the higher they became. I did not know anything about the tickets until his birthday rolled around and his driver license could not be renewed.

We immediately got busy trying to get the citations taken care of. We paid them online and waited for the citations to be cleared. The website said it could take up to a week but we waited bit longer just to be patient. It never happened. We called the [Court Clerk’s] office and after some disdain and clear aggravation she told us that there was a additional sum to be paid for the citations due to the length of time that had gone by. We again immediately began the process of having a cashiers check delivered for the additional amount. On April the 28, the same day we called, I had a cashiers check issued from my bank on behalf of my friend who obviously cannot drive due to not having a current license. The check was signed for on the 29th and so we began our wait again.

Today is 12 business days from that delivery and so we began to get concerned that something had gone wrong yet again.

My friend called the [Court Clerk’s] office again. The [Court Clerk] was aggravated and contrary once again. We knew that it could take up to a week to post but it had already been longer than that. He tried to explain that and to simply ask her if she could at least let us know that she did have the check and that it was in process somewhere. Upon any type of conflict my friend freezes up. He has a very difficult time expressing himself and he simply wants to flee from the problem. It is a symptom of PTSD and unfortunately you cannot simply “get over it” at will. He let her talk over him and dismiss his questions without answer and he hung up with a shocked and upset look on his face. I was completely shocked myself at how rudely she had cut him off and not helped I any way whatsoever.
I called her back and tried to speak to her like a person- not a business transaction but an actual human who is in need of her help and appeal to her to please help us. She went into a sermon about my being a controlling woman who should let him take care of his own business. She actually said that “I was just his girlfriend paying his tickets and that he should be a man and do it himself.” She even went as far as to refuse to give me her name or put anyone else on the phone. I think the most horrible and nasty part of all of this is however that I am trying so hard to help my friend see the world as a place that will not constantly judge him. As a place where people will usually treat you fairly and where most people are even kind.

I am saddened by this act of disrespect. I am sickened by the judemental and hurtful treatment to a man trying to do the right thing. I am asking the world to please take a moment and see the world as a place where people are not all bad. We are not all deviant and disrespectful troublemakers. Some of us are just having a hard time. Some of us are in need of medication. Some of us have been treated very badly and need to be shown that there is some humanity in this world.

For my friend: When people you don’t even know strike out at you with judgement they are not really seeing you. They are seeing past experiences with other people. They are trying to put you into a category so they can decide how to treat you. Even when they guess correctly they are wrong. People are created by experiences and circumstances and when they treat you in rude or disrespectful ways they perpetuate anger, hate, prejudice, and misunderstanding. The way she treated you says everything about her, and nothing about you. You stand tall and be proud of who you are now. Continue to right the past where you can and stay as far away from that world as you can. Let the difficult make you stronger and believe that I will always be here to cheer you on. I will be your voice when you need it.

To the [Court Clerk]: We didn’t deserve your judgement. He is not “under my control nor am I trying to be his momma.” He paid his own ticket- I simply used my bank to cut the check. Nobody deserves your wrath at the world for trying to pay their tickets. He rightfully was given tickets and he did not pay them in a timely fashion therefore his punishment is justified. He is trying to make this right. What are you doing? You said I was rude to you but you didn’t notice you were being rude. You decided who my friend was- and who I was by a name on a check. With the disdain you answer the phone with you will inevitably continue to have horrible days because you are creating. I was taught to say please and thank you -and I do. I was taught that when you call a place of business people who work at that business are there to help and keep things working as they are supposed to. I am sorry that you thought I was rude. I never intended to be, nor would I ever want to be. I am sorry that despite my best effort to speak to you kindly and with respect you continued to be argumentative and disrespectful. It left me with an upset heart and a need to clear up your misconceptions. I truly wish you well and hope that this does not serve to make you angry or offend you. I sincerely hope you will look at people differently and be kinder to those you encounter in all capacities of your life. There are decent people in the world. You can aspire to be one.

It seems that the world has become a place where people dislike one another with basis. People are angry and cynical with little regard for their fellow man. The first place to make a change for the better in within your own heart. Do what you can to be kind. Go out of your way to try and make life easier for others and by association, yourself. It will not always work as my story relates. I will not let this change my view of the world for the worse nor will I let it degrade my future interactions. I am going to rise above this and learn to be even better. I invite you to join me.