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Rotten Tomatoes
June 21, 2016 @ 5:58 AM by: Richard Steinecke

The tomato came flying through the air, glancing off the forehead of our intake worker and splattering against the wall. It was followed by a stream of abusive language. She then threw a booklet at another staff person. Our community member accused Oasis of serving poison through its Food Bank. She was obviously experiencing an episode. We applied our non-violent intervention training. Other staff were called into the room while other, non-essential people left the room. We spoke to her by name. We engaged her in conversation, even asking her to show us the poison. We left a clear path for her to leave when she was ready to go. When she did leave we affirmed our care for her. Then we checked to make sure everyone was fine. We later had a debriefing. Such incidents are extremely rare for us. As far as I could tell, everyone’s initial reaction was positive. The highlight for me, though, was when the intake worker, who had been wiping tomato juice off his forehead only minutes before, said that he was still ready to serve her with a smile if that became possible in the future.

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