Tuesday, April 7, 2009

For a Good Time, Call...

This past weekend, our day staff called in due to a death in the family, so Lowell and I had to put in a few extra hours. The guys were cool, caused no trouble, and hung out in their rooms a lot. On Friday night, I was watching television in the living room and thought I heard the phone beeping. I looked around, but then realized that it was upstairs. I watched the phone's base and noticed that the red "in use" light was on for quite some time. Then it went off, then came back on. This happened several times, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out who he was calling. He NEVER spends time on the phone.

On Saturday night, this same cycle repeated. I wasn't too terribly worried, because there is a restriction on the phone that prohibits long distance calls. My greatest fear was that he was dialing numbers at random and prank calling people. And as much as that is irritating, he was causing no trouble, and he wasn't saying anything, so I just assumed if he is calling, he is just listening and then hanging up. One thought that flashed through my mind was the story line that the library used to have where you could call and listen to a story. (Whatever happened to that? Are we now expected to read to our children ourselves???)

On Sunday morning, I asked him who he had been calling. He just laughed and said, "I'll never tell." I joked with him asking if he had met a girlfriend on his recent Special Olympics trip. He looked embarrassed but didn't really answer. There were no more calls made.

So today, the phone rings and the other guy answers it. (We always have him answer because he says, "hello" and then just proceeds to say his name and repeat back whatever the caller just said. If it's a telemarketer, they always hang up.) He goes through the routine with the caller and then hands me the phone. The lady on the other end says, "Hello this is Sheri with AT&T and I was just calling to verify some activity on the account." I immediately knew the "activity" of which she was speaking. Of course, since I am not the account holder, she couldn't give me any information, however, she let me guess. And I guessed correctly on the first try. Yes, there were approximately $200 worth of calls to a 900 number on Friday and Saturday night.

Once I caught my breath, I asked how this was possible since the line is restricted from making long distance calls. She informed me that there are two separate restrictions, one for long distance, one for 900 numbers. Oh give me a break - a 900 number is NOT long distance???? She allowed me to authorize putting the restrictions on the phone. (This was a case where it certainly helped for her to first talk to the person whose name is actually on the account and realize that she would get exactly nowhere with him.) She was very friendly and helpful, and I was extremely grateful that they called about this. She even called me back a few minutes later and argued my case for me and told me how to contact the business office when the bill comes in to have the charges removed. So even though I am not understanding how the calls went through and am greatly frustrated with AT&T, Sheri's professionalism and understanding went a long way with helping me actually feel helped!

Of course, when confronted with the $200 evidence of who he had been calling, he denied it. And then, of all things, he asks if Lowell will take him to the library to look up some "stuff" on the internet. Um, yeah, I'm thinking, not tonight.

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