Medical Transport Driver - Abusing the System
There were those who needed the service and there were those who abused the system.
Vera was an attractive african american woman. She was in her forties and at the time just about a decade older than myself. She always talked while I drove to her destination and at times it seemed she never took her eyes away from me. After just a couple trips she began to ask personal questions. I explained I had a girlfriend but when she heard me say I was with an older woman she seemed to take that as an invitation!
She was very curvy and I would not be a man if I didn't notice and she was very pleasant and easy to get along with. To be honest if I wasn't already with the woman I love I would have gone for it with no hesitation. Eventually she got the hint and stopped inviting me to sneak into her bedroom window at night. Lol!
She said, "I'm thinkin' you need to creep through my window tonight, honey, what do you think?"
I am sure my face reddened. I am not half as bold as she was. She wanted some sort of response though. "Uh...but why do I have to sneak in through the window?" I asked with a playful laugh.
"My son ain't never seen a white man in my house unless he was the police, I don't think he would understand!" She replied with mischievious smile that made me laugh good and hard. She'd said her son had been in and out of trouble. I got the joke, but she was only half joking.
I liked Vera personally but she was a pain in the butt professionally speaking. She was one of those ladies who was never ready when you got to her home. There was one time when I was running late and we were only going to barely make her appointment on time and yet when I arrived she made me wait ten minutes! When we arrived at her appointment she seemed unconcerned. Then my dispatcher recieved a call from that doctor's office giving her a ration of you know what over how late we brought Vera in! Hell, in fact most of the time Vera was a no show. We would get there and she would either not be home or claim someone had made a mistake and we had the times wrong. It was usually something.
One day Vera was looking particularly nice as she got on board my mini van. I was taking her to an appointment that was only ten minutes away so there was no stress or bother. She seemed very happy and began chatting immediately. After I confirmed her destination she smiled and leaned toward me conspiratorially and said, "Really I don't have an appointment at all. I am going for a job interview and when I am done there I am going to the hospital next door to visit my sick sister."
I gave the long nod that says, "Ah, okay then!" I was not going to say anything. I knew better than to try to tell a woman what she can and cannot do. I learned that lesson the hard way. Wrong or right many women simply do not want to hear some man telling them they are wrong. Far be it from me to make myself their collective target of reprisal. Been there, done that.
Hours later I had all but forgotten Vera. She'd said she likely would not need a ride home and so I didn't expect to hear from her that day. It was rush hour, our busiest and most difficult time of the day. Camden county is the busiest, most crowded area in South Jersey and it is a pain in the ass to get anywhere at that time.
Vera had called for a ride home and because she'd been waiting for over a half hour, then forty five minutes, then an hour as she called the dispatcher over and over again, she had called the county office to complain. When my dispatcher, who at the time was the most patient, kind and sympathetic person I have ever known, tried to explain why it was a bad time of day for us Vera began to verbally berate and abuse her. She began to cuss and spit and act with utter indignation!
This happened from time to time. One of our clients would reveal for all to see that they were completely unappreciative of our service and the fact that they were getting a free ride from medicaid. Vera had made a critical error though. She had decided to go on a rampage on the same day she'd informed me that she was abusing the system! She'd gotten a free ride from medical transportation in order to complete her personal business, leaned over to show me her ample cleavage, and told me all about it.
Now, I should point out that this was an ongoing problem. Not with Vera but with certain clients who would concoct a fake medical appointment, call it in, and then we would charge medicaid for the trip. It was this sort of abuse that resulted in tighter restrictions and requirements for those who truly needed the service.
Angry at the treatment of my dispatcher I felt I had no recourse but to inform all concerned that Vera was abusing the system and using us for personal business. Now, the funny part was when my dispatcher, on the phone with the county at the time, sweetly asked, "Why would she tell you that, Joe? I mean, why did she think you wouldn't tell?"
"Well, most likely because she has been trying to hook up with me, if you know what I mean. She probably felt I wouldn't tell on her." I replied matter of factly.
This was when my dispatcher's voice dropped to a horrified whisper, "Joe, has she been harrassing you?"
I had to think about that. I think if I was a woman and she a man it would have been called sexual harrassment, but because I am a man and I can fight off a strong woman its just considered overbearing flirtation. I am old fashioned in many respects. I would never disrespect a lady even if she wasn't always acting very ladylike. So, I just said, "That may be too strong a term. Let's just say she took a liking to me and has no problem telling me so."
The county employee had a keen idea then. She decided we should let this one roll. She then asked that I continue reporting Vera's activities for a while so they could determine how many of her appointments were fakes. After about three more months of putting up with her advances and my dispatcher putting up with her arrogance and indignation I had found out about two more of her regular stops. One was in the heart of Camden from which she went to pick up her favoritet drugs in exchange for the prescription meds she'd been saving up. Its funny what a woman will tell you when she thinks she has you wrapped around her little finger, no?
One day the hammer came down on Vera and all the others like her. Finally the county had decided they were going to demand a fax from the doctor's offices in order to confirm the appointments. Vera found out I had told on her and she was hurt. She didn't lose her ride but it had been made much more difficult to screw the system. This to me was a good thing. The immediate result of that decision slowed transportation down for a few months. Apparently there were a lot more folks abusing the ride than initially thought.
It didn't take long for Vera to figure things out though. She was charming and manipulative. that and black folk stick together, wrong or right. She had convinced her girlfriend's in the doctor's offices, whether they were nurses or receptionists I don't know, to fax over the fake appointments. She did have a few true appointments but she never stopped the manipulative behavior. Its a shame but this is just a small example of how the unappreciative jerks in life ruin things for others. Also it is clear that people like this stain the image of the folks who truly needed and appreciated the help. Because those on the outside tend to be judgmental there seemed to be a prevailing belief that most people on medicaid were abusing the system. This was not true. The bulk of my clients were authentically in need and I cannot help but be offended when they are lumped into one category.
As a final note, I do not give the true names of my old clients in my Medical Transport stories because lord knows I would get sued. Other than that these stories are completely true.
- Medical Transport Driver; Part 2
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- Medical Transport Driver Part 3
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- Medical Transport Driver; Part 1
Read about the not so glamorous life of a medical transportation driver in Jersey. Taxi cab confessions has nothing on this series of tell alls!