Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Concept of Confidential

The other day we stumbled across some very important documents, including a checkbook for a young lady, lying in the road.  We picked them up and looked for some contact information, but only found the address on the checks.  However, one of the documents had the contact info listed for a local government-funded agency that the young lady was apparently a part of.

The following morning, in an effort to return the papers, I contacted the person at the agency.  Getting her voicemail, I explained the situation ending the message by providing my phone number for the young lady to get in touch with me.

A few minutes later I received a call back.

"Hi, Tracie.  This is Barbara with the ABC Agency.  I received your message and thank you for taking such good care of my client's belongings; however, due to confidentiality issues, I cannot have her call you."

Wait...what?  "You mean you can't allow me to call her."  I tried to sound polite as I corrected what I assumed to be a very confused individual.  "That's why I left you my number to give to her."

"I understand, ma'am.  However, I cannot give your number to her due to confidentiality issues.  But if you're close by our location, maybe you could..."

I rudely cut her off.  "Are you serious?  I am giving you permission to have her contact me, but it's a confidentiality issue to do so?"

My brain started whirling away at possible explanations - maybe the girl was unfamiliar with using a number blocker so a direct line wasn't published on someone's caller id?  Maybe since it was my cell phone I was dealing with a government agency there were legal complications...?  But, no...that didn't make any sense either.

"No...I'm trying to do the right thing here by returning what looks to be very important and private papers to someone and I'm not going to be held liable to continue to make additional effort just to be a Good Samaritan.  I will attempt to have my postman get the stuff to the address listed but that's all the additional effort I'm going to make.  And shame on you for failing your client."

I hung up completely flabbergasted by what I had just been told.

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