I’ve never met Sherry Brown. I have no idea what she looks like, how old she is, or what she does for a living, but I hate her.
I do know she has at least one daughter, who liked to skip school 8 years ago. I know this because I kept getting automated messages on my cell phone from the high school telling me Tiffany was absent without an excuse. My only child, a son, who is not named Tiffany, had graduated a few years before, so I called the high school to tell them there must be a mistake. They asked me for my phone number, and said they had it registered to Sherry Brown. I explained I had no idea who Sherry Brown was, but I had gotten a new cell phone a few months earlier, and perhaps Ms. Brown previously had that same number. They said they’d take care of it.
But I kept getting automated calls telling me Tiffany was absent. I’d call the school and they’d say they were sorry, it was an automated system, but they would take care of it. After a few more times someone finally admitted that no one in the office knew how to change the program to stop the calls or change the number.
So it seemed I had three choices – one, ignore the voicemails, two, get a different phone number, or three, get Tiffany to stop skipping school. I was reluctant to get a different number because I had been using it a while and had given it out to everyone as my new number, and besides, a different number might mean a different set of problems. So I chose to ignore the messages, and eventually Tiffany either graduated or dropped out, because the messages stopped.
Well, the messages stopped from the high school. But various Dentists and Doctors also left automated messages keeping me informed of Sherry and Tiffany’s appointments. I figured it was important that Sherry and Tiffany not miss their appointments, so I’d call the doctor’s office back and tell them I wasn’t Sherry Brown, and I didn’t know how to contact her, and please remove this number from their system.
Ms. Brown and Tiffany must have shown up for their appointments, but apparently weren’t too keen to actually pay for those visits, as I soon started receiving calls letting me know my balance was past due.
Then Sherry moved. Skipped town was probably a more apt way to put it. I started getting calls from from Virginia, Florida, Texas and other places, mostly about unpaid utility bills and charge cards. Sherry was on the move, leaving a trail of bad checks behind her. Eventually those bills were turned over to collection agencies, and then the fun really began
Now the calls were nasty and threatened dire consequences if I didn’t call back and resolve this matter at once. Occasionally I’d call to tell them I am not Sherry Brown, and I’d get grilled about did I know her, or how to contact her, and why did I have her phone number? Often the person on the other end of the line would just hang up on me as I asked for them to remove my number from her file.
Eventually I started getting calls from attorneys. Lawsuits were being filed. I pleaded with one to take my number off the case, and she said she couldn’t do that, as it was part of the official documents. I was dumbfounded. “I just told you the information you have is wrong, but you can’t correct it?” Apparently not.
So eight years and counting, the calls continue. Most any phone number I don’t recognize is likely some lawyer or bill collector looking for Sherry. Though it’s proven to be a waste of time, I occasionally call back in the vain hope that someone, somewhere, will stop linking my phone number to Ms. Brown.
But it’s unlikely. Papers are shuffled and boxes are checked, “Left message for Brown re court date,” and nobody really cares if Sherry actually got the message. Pass the file to the next set of bill collectors or lawyers. And soon my phone rings – “This is a message for… Sherry…Brown… Please contact our office about an important matter immediately. Your case number is blah blah blah blah blah…”
You know, I don’t really hate Sherry Brown. Yeah, she leaves a trail of unpaid bills behind her wherever she goes, but it’s not like she set out to aggravate me. I’m actually more upset with those tasked to track her down, the incompetent and uncaring people and who just keep passing along bad information, who can’t be bothered to remove a wrong phone number from a file.
So if you ever have any dealings with Sherry Brown, let her know I don’t really hate her, or even bear her any ill-will.
But make sure she pays cash.