The Going Rate For Kindness

, , , , , , | Working | June 6, 2016

(My parents have been residents in a condo for older adults for almost a decade when my father passes away unexpectedly. Without Dad’s income, Mom won’t be able to cover the monthly fees for the condo, and will need to move. While we are looking at other options, we get a call from the accountant at the condo facility.)

Accountant: “Mrs. [My Name], I have an option that might be of interest to your mother. From time to time, it becomes necessary for us to move residents to different rooms to make space for renovations and expansion of our facility. When we do that, we temporarily decrease the monthly charge to compensate for the inconvenience. As your parents have been in that room for quite a while, it’s overdue for renovation. So we’re going to move your mother to an identical unit two doors down until her old room is available again. The new rate will be [an amount that mom can afford comfortably].”

Me: “How long will the renovation take? I appreciate that this will buy her some time, but once she’s back in her old room and the rate goes back to normal, she’ll be in trouble again.”

Accountant: “Well, we’re actually going to be expanding the office suite into that space, so the old room will no longer be available.”

Me: “So…”

Accountant: “So she’ll continue to get the reduced rate until her old room is available again.”

Me: “Which is… never?”

Accountant: ”That’s correct. I do apologize for the inconvenience. We hope your mother will find her new room satisfactory.”

(Thanks to some clever accounting, my mother was able to stay in the community she loved at a rate she could afford, until she passed four years later.)

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