There are welfare checks and then there are welfare checks. Up until the police came to my door one evening I thought there was only one kind of welfare check.
Let me start at the beginning.
For over a week, I hadn’t been feeling well; I had vertigo and couldn’t stand up without keeling over and throwing up. It took a Herculean effort just to stay in bed without the room spinning all around me. Needless to say, I didn’t answer the phone or talk to clients during that week. I simply couldn’t.
One night, toward the end of the first week, I heard my doorbell ringing accompanied by loud banging at my door. Then I heard a male voice yelling that it was the police and for me to open the door. Yeah, right. No one gets into my house without an appointment and without my knowing that person very well.
I didn’t want to take the risk of someone thinking I wasn’t at home and trying to break into the house so I forced myself to get out of bed, holding onto furniture and walls to get to the front door. By the time I got there, no one was at the door; they kept going all around the house and knocking at doors and windows and yelling that it’s the police and I need to let them in.
We were finally able to hear each other and this disembodied voice kept yelling that it’s the police and I had to let him in. So I yelled back telling him that I wasn’t dressed and I wasn’t letting him in, and then I asked him what he wanted. He yelled back, “Welfare check.”
Welfare check? I knew that I had never received a welfare check; I had never even received an unemployment check so I told him to go away.
He didn’t go away. He kept yelling at me to get dressed and open the front door. Nope. Not going to happen. Even if I thought that he was going to hand me a welfare check, I was not going to open the door.
You hear about all these home invasions, people stealing police cars and wearing stolen police uniforms and then getting into some unsuspecting family’s home, being tied up, beaten, burglarized, or even murdered. So, nope, I was not going to open my door.
Finally, I yelled out to him that I was going to call the police and I must have astonished him because he yelled back, “You don’t believe me?” and I yelled back, “No, I don’t believe you and I’m going to call the police.”
I crawled back to bed and dialed 911 and told the woman who answered the phone that there was someone at my door who was claiming to be the police and I wasn’t letting him come into the house. She told me my home address and verified that it was, indeed, the police and that’s when I found out what a Welfare Check is.
Apparently, when someone calls the police to check up on a person who they think might need help, it’s called a welfare check. It seems that one of my clients, who lives in another state, got concerned when I hadn’t answered her calls or responded to her emails within forty-eight hours because that was a major departure from my pattern of behavior. She therefore called the police in my city to come to my house to see if I was all right. And this is what is meant by a welfare check.
I had the 911 operator stay on the line with me while she called my client to tell her I was all right and to say that I’d call her in a couple of days. I also had her call the policeman and tell him that he could go home because I was all right.
A few days later, I was telling a friend about my experience and he told me the same thing happened to him a couple of weeks ago. He said that he couldn’t make out what the guy was yelling through the door but it sounded like “Police” so he opened the door and let him come into the house.
After I reprimanded him for opening his door to someone he didn’t know, I told him the dangers of home invasions and made him promise me that if it ever happened to him again, he should call 911 before he opens the door to a stranger. And he should know better because he’s an attorney who has been in practice for many years.
So now I know that a welfare check doesn’t have to be a welfare check. It could just be someone who is concerned about your welfare. And it’s nice to know that someone cares enough about you to ask someone to check up on you when they think you might be in trouble.