donderdag 11 mei 2017

Today I made a refugee cry

I work for a Christian School Board. My job is ICT. Not general ICT, but application management. So all day I, of course, get general ICT questions from coworkers and I refer them to the systems manager (some company on the phone) or I begrudgingly help them.

Our office is in a building with mostly NGO's, for some reason. Another thing is our toilet is in the hall where every worker and visitor for the building comes in.

When I've gone to pee, I usually try to ignore people that happen to be in the hall. For some reason today I didn't (the reason maybe being we'll be getting our own private toilets, in a few months!).

Today, there was a woman in the hall that apparently didn't know where to go. So this time, instead of walking on, I asked: do you know where to go?

So she did, but didn't understand how. "How" is not that difficult, except it totally is if you've never been; you have to ring the bell outside the office building, after selecting on a screen for which organization you're there. (The human doorman only works mornings.)

So I politely guided her, this African woman, outside. Pointing at the names on the signs (mostly a few dozen NGO's), I came to understand she was there for UNHCR and she (allegedly) was a refugee.

I was pointing at the doorbell system and I explained aformentioned procedure to her. She pleaded with me: "Can you please help?" Like with any other (ICT) request for help I tried to empower the user to come out of their predicament themselves. In other words: I shouted "NO" and begrudgingly started to help.

Then the door started closing after me and I said I'd be right back after getting my entry tag.

When I'd come back someone else was helping her and she was crying a bit. We found UNHCR on the doorbell system. She told us she didn't have an appointment, but we got her in nonetheless.

So today I've learned to be a bit more polite with outside users.