Yesterday’s Call…

I have been debating about writing about this…. I need to process it myself and it will help to write it down.

I have made it no secret that I am a bill collector.

Yesterday I had a call transferred to me from another department. The girl transferring her said that this woman needed to speak to a supervisor or she indicated she would kill herself. I saw a note on her account that said that she had also called someone else earlier in the day and threatened to kill herself and her family.She hung up while trying to transfer her. This lady is crazy I thought to myself. I took the call.

My intention was to transfer her immediately to my supervisor, but we have to be able to tell the supervisor what the member is asking before we transfer the call to them.

I explained to her that I was not someone in authority, that I planned to get her to a supervisor immediately, but that I needed to know what it was in reference to. And that is when my nightmare started.

She started telling me about all the grievances that my company did to her. She went on and on. She indicated that it was my company that made her and her husband homeless. They were living with their children in a truck. The needed to get their daughter shoes and a coat because they were in sub zero temperatures and snow, but now they couldn’t because our company garnished their money for their past due loan.  They also didn’t have any money for any gas or food and hadn’t fed their kids in weeks because of the situation.

She asked if I had heard the most recent media reports about families killing themselves. I told her I had (the first time I was given the opportunity throughout her rant to say anything). She said that she had a suicide note already written out detailing everything she had already told me about my company. She said that she had a gun pointed at her children as she spoke to me. She was ready to kill herself and her children if I didn’t help her and fix every issue that she had.

Instinct kicked in. I calmly told her that in order to help fix her problems I needed to know where she was located so I could find the closest branch to her. I did this in an effort to find out where she was so I could get the local police to her asap. She kept saying that she was in a cornfield in rural Illinois and that it didn’t matter where she was because they would find them dead in 5 minutes if everything wasn’t fixed. She said her cell phone was about to die because she didn’t pay that bill either.

She was becoming more tense and angry. I was afraid I would hear a gunshot any minute. I told her I was unable to help her fix everything but if she could hold I would transfer her to someone who could. My hand was literally jumping off my desk as I tried to dial my supervisors extension to transfer the call. That was my first indication that she had emotionally hit me.  She hung up as I tried to transfer her. I yelled for my supervisor to call 911 and to have the police trace her cell phone.

He did but our 911 goes to our Security (don’t ask me why or if its even legal). He told them what was going on, and they called the member back. An hour and a half later they called us and told us they gave her everything she wanted. They said their goal was to calm her down so the authorities would have time to search for her.

I don’t know what happened after that, but I am so thankful that I didn’t hear about another murder/suicide this morning.

I really hope they found her and her husband. I hope her children are taken away. If she was bluffing then she shouldn’t be making those kinds of threats about her kids. If she was serious, then she needs mental help and the kids need to be away from her for their safety.

As for me, I am still trying to tell myself I did the right thing. I am trying to not let it affect me. I am praying for this lady and her family.

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8 Responses

  1. Ugh, this struck a major cord with me. How sad that this woman would resort to these tactics. I had a suicide call and lets just say the work I do is very difficult at times. Her doc didn’t want her calls anymore that night because she was out of control. Long story short, she killed herself that night. My co-worker and I were the last ones to talk to her. She was a mother too. I was soooooooooo sad, and still am that my hands were tied and that I got put into that situation. What a helpless situation when someone does that to you. I will never forget that caller. Never.

  2. Cuh-Ray-Zee!!! I’m sorry you got that call. How horrible, but you handled it like a champ. Nice job.

  3. OMG how awful to have to deal with that. It sounds like you handled everything as well as you could. Do they give you special training inhow to handle such difficult calls – if not, it might be worth requesting it, as the next person handling such a call might not be as competent as you were.

    I bet you needed a stiff drnk after that.

    I’m sorry for the poor woman of course, but like you, I can’t condone anyone who makes threats against the children just because their back is up against the wall. These terrible things do actually happen sometimes and are not always just idle threats. See below:

    http://www.redorbit.com/news/general/518510/man_throws_his_2_kids_himself_off_balcony/index.html

    There was also a case in the UK where a father jumped off a balcony with his two young children because his wife wanted a divorce and custody of the children. He survived ironically but the dear little boys both died.

    I’ll never understand such cruelty. I can’t imagine however desperate I was, that I could possibly hurt my children.

    Hope you are feeling less shaken now.

  4. Wow, wow, wow! You absolutely did the right thing and I hope that the police did find her and will get to the bottom of what was going on. Hugs to you T.

  5. Oh honey! What a horrible thing for you to have to deal with. Hopefully it will have a good resolution for her children, and may the mother get the help she needs.

  6. Oh, my gosh! How scary!! You did do the right thing, you did everything you could possibly do from that phone.

  7. What an ordeal. It sounds like you did everything right, though.

  8. Oh MY GOD. T that had to be the most horrible ordeal that you ever went through.

    On the radio, (you know the one that I’m talking about) I always hear the song be strong in the Lord and be of good courage. Well I found the verse in the Bible the other day.
    It’s found in Joshua 1:9 Be Strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
    And I know that God was there when you were talking to that Lady. AND YOU DID THAT RIGHT THING IN THAT SITUATION. I will be praying for this lady and her children.
    I will also be praying for you and all the bill collectors that maybe dealing with that as well.

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