We sifted through the pile of resumes looking for something to jump out and tell us who would be the perfect fit to become Ben’s primary caregiver. Oh, if only it were that easy. However, there were a few who had a decent amount of experience and whose skillset seemed a good match. There were even a few who had crafted an eye-catching cover letter that warranted a second look.
With each of these wannabe caregivers, Jan and I went through an exploratory telephone interview to dig a little deeper into the reasons why they wanted the job. Two of those candidates left enough of an impression to go to the next stage, which was a face-to-face discussion at a neighbourhood coffee shop.
With so much energy expended just to get to this point, we were feeling the temptation of wanting to skip steps and just hire someone who was “close enough”. Having gone down this road so too many times over the last 23 years, we were weary of the chase.
Fortunately, one of the candidates was a very strong possibility. She was confident, said all the right things, and appeared to have the right attitude and mindset to fit in. She wasn’t the best groomed person we had ever met but, really, how important was that, all things considered?
A Sixth Sense?
A few days later, the “strong” candidate arrived at our home for stage 3 of the screening process – to meet Ben, and to talk about his world in a bit more detail. Her interaction with Ben was very natural despite his noticeable indifference to her being in our home.
Our dog, though, reacted very strangely when she entered. Tail down, low volume growling, and somewhat stand-offish. Most often, he is all over a new person, wagging his tail, jumping a lot, staking his claim, and eager to make friends. If not for the dog’s apprehension, the conversation would be deemed a success, and we had a pretty good feeling that we may have found the right person.
As we debated whether or not to make an offer, Jan had a feeling that we should do one last check, and verify the criminal check report that this person had provided. It wouldn’t take a whole lot of effort to forge your name onto a real document obtained over the internet and pass it off as something legitimate. And, of course, the criminal check only states that no record of a conviction exists. It doesn’t necessarily mean the person has not ever been charged with something. But what are the chances, right?
“Just a second …”
My follow up call to the local law enforcement office dismissed any doubts we had that it was fraudulent. It was valid on the date that was listed and the officer verified a few other facts. As I explained to her why we were being extra cautious, she paused.
“Just a second,” she said.
After a few more taps on her keyboard, she responded with, “Ok, now for privacy reasons I can’t tell you any specifics about this person but I would strongly recommend that you visit the local detachment office and speak to an officer directly. They might be able to tell you more.”
Tell me more about what?
She went on to say that, “hypothetically,” if I owned a trucking business and the person I was looking to hire had a drinking problem but was never convicted of drunk driving, I’d probably think twice about hiring that person.
Her words were very peculiar and the conversation ended with me feeling very unsettled. I really didn’t know what she was trying to tell me other than I probably shouldn’t hire this person. But why? What information did she have that would lead her to that conclusion?
The next day, I went to the detachment office that issued the criminal check report and told my story to the receptionist. She verified that it was their seal on the report and the signature was from one of their officers. But before she dismissed me, she took the report and went over to her computer. She returned and asked me to take a seat, that an officer would speak to me.
What is it that shows up for this person, to make two people pause like that?
A short time later, the officer took me into one of the interview rooms. After I gave him a brief explanation about why we were hiring, he said,
“Ok, so off the record, if you have other candidates in mind, I would pursue those people.” As he said this, he gestured with her criminal check report, moving it from the imaginary pile of “good” candidates to the imaginary pile of “reject” candidates. Wow.
A Guiding Hand
As I made my way back to my car, I was overcome with feelings of relief, of fear, and of worry all wrapped up into one. Our dog had sensed this person was bad news from the get-go and three other police staff basically told me the same thing. What was it that we missed?
How could we have let this person into our home in the first place? What was so terrible about this person that made 3 people feel the need to tell me she was not someone we’d want in our home … to be alone … with Ben … ever! To be his caregiver!
Driving home, I reasoned that none of this was due to chance but rather that the hand of divine intervention was guiding us through all of this. It had to be. We were so close to hiring this person. How could we have missed the warning signs? Had God’s voice been speaking to us all along but we weren’t hearing it? Why did it take hearing the same message 3 times before we connected the dots?
As I got closer to home, my fear and worry melted away and I was reminded that we are truly not alone in our journey with Ben. And that is something I will always be thankful for.