I posted some of this story at customers_suck because it was sort of related to someone's post, but I thought that I'd post this here. Now, before I start I want to say that I have no idea what it's like to work with people at a respite center - I've worked with people who have disabilities, that's partly why this incident bothered me, but I'm not a professional by any means. It's entirely possible there were reasons the worker had to do what she did. However, I certainly don't get it.
So a few years ago, I received an email from a woman who seemed to be mentally challenged, based on the sorts of things she said. Apparently she'd found my email in a directory. In a series of emails (that I responded to politely, trying to figure out where she'd come from), this woman told me her full name, the respite center she went to, and her age. Here is an example of the sort of thing she'd say:
Last week we celebrated Christmas and Santa visited. Tomorrow is game day.
It bothered me that this woman was giving me all of this personal info, as well as the fact that she emailed me for no apparent reason. Worried for her safety, when she told me where she was emailing from, I emailed a staff member expressing my concern.
This is the gist of what I received in response:
"Hi Author By Night. I have told (Person) that you no longer want to talk to her."
To this day, it really bugs me that they either misinterpreted my intentions or just didn't want to deal with the actual problem, which was that one of their residents was emailing complete strangers. But even if they thought I was just saying I didn't want to talk to her anymore (and I'm sure I emphasized that this wasn't the case - I don't use that email anymore so I don't know for sure), why would they tell her that? When I realized some woman had been told her "new friend" didn't want to talk to her anymore, I was horrified. I also resented being the scapegoat.
Again, maybe there was a reason they had to do this; I just can't imagine what they would be. Why not just tell her the truth, which is that it's dangerous to randomly email people giving personal information?