Especially lately, having been a member of the United States Army Military Police Corps, and the fact I am currently active in the local chapter of the Peace and Justice movement has caused me to consider my core beliefs. While the diversity of these experiences has enriched my understanding of people, it has been through my work as a private detective that the honing of an important belief occurred.
I have served unwanted papers to people, and I have been the recipient of similar papers. Through these and related expereiences, I have met a variety of people along the way who were in the midst of difficult circumstances. What I dfound sommon, and in common, with most people in these circumstances was a desire to imporve those conditions and maintain a degree of self-respect.
One occasion in particular solidifed this belief. I was serving papers related to what could have led to an eviction. The woman I was to serve was said to be uncooperative. I went to the woman’s door and knocked. After she looked at me through pulled-aside curtains, and I explained who I was, she opened the door. I explained the papers to her, and answered what questions I could. She then related to me the bad experiences she had with the attorney for the bank and the belittling she had received from the other person who had served her the first papers.
“They act like I’m chosing to be an unemployed single parent. I’ve worked hard all my life.” I don’t remember all of the rest that she had said, except that she ended by saying that if they had just treated her with some dignity she probably would have been more cooperative. Whether or not it had really made a difference I can never be sure, but she was cooperative during the rest of the process and was able to avoid the eviction. I have heard similar things from people whose cars I had repossessed by asking them for their keys, instead of trying to sneak around and take it when they weren’t looking.
Being a private detective, I’m aware of the depths to which a human being can sink, and I don’t see life through rose-colored glasses. But, having also had the expereience of being invited to share dinner with people to whom I had just served papers, I am equally aware that with the simple granting of the dignity deserved to every human being, the struggles we all face in life can seem less insurmountable.
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