Amy Carpenter’s Story
“My name is Amy Carpenter. I am twenty-one years old. I am a native of Ghana, Africa. My parents sent me to the United States at the age of seventeen so I could have a life with more opportunities, which of course, included getting a college education. I am currently living with a group of Ghanians in a privately owned apartment complex. I attend Thomas University, and I am in my junior year pursuing a degree in the field of pediatrics. I really sought employment here at Thomasville Inn and Suites because I wanted a job that did not require a lot of concentration and was not too stressful as I work my way through school.”
“I am Ann Luxley. I am a twenty-seven-year-old single mother of a beautiful five-year-old girl, Camine. I’m proud to say she’s an ‘A’ student at Thomasville Road Elementary School. I have been working here at Thomasville Inn & Suites for four years now. I needed a job to take care of my daughter as I did not want to solely depend on her father for financial assistance. By word of mouth I landed a job here. The pay could be better, but I am thankful for what I do get paid. It’s not easy being a single mother, so any bit of money helps.”
“Any bit of money helps anyone,” Amy chimed in.
Ann smiled in agreement. “Even though the turnover rate here at the hotel is high, I stay here because the hours are flexible and that is what I need as a single parent,” she said.
“My name is Carlita Lopez. I’m originally from Mexico. My husband and I moved here fifteen years ago. Like Ann, I like working here because the hours are flexible, and I do not have to deal too much with the public. I’m more of an introvert and this job supports that. We have two children: a seventeen-year-old daughter and a fifteen-year-old son. I have been working here for eight years, and I’ve seen employees come and go. I really do not have any complaints as far as the job itself goes. Management has treated me well.”
“Wonderful!” Bianca said. “If you’ve read the brochure you already know about me and my husband. Just one addition: our children are all grown now. We have two girls and two boys and seven grandchildren who I spoil rotten. If you do not have any questions for me, let’s get down to the business at hand.” Bianca pulled a notepad, pen, and tape recorder out of her briefcase.
“I hope you don’t mind me recording our interview. I don’t want to forget anything when I get ready to put the book together. To begin this study or research, I’d like to ask you one question. That question is: What percentage of men who hit on you would you say claim to be or appear to be pastors, or church leaders, or just Christians who have some affiliation with the church?” Bianca asked.
“Fifty percent,” Ann said without hesitation.
“Si. Fifty to fifty-five percent,” Carlita said after thinking about it.
“What percentage do you think, Amy?” Bianca asked.
“I can’t really say. I’ve only been ‘hit on’ two times in the eight months I’ve been working here. And that’s two times too many,” Amy said with an emphasis on the ‘two.’ “I know for sure one had some church affiliation; he had a huge Bible laying open on his bed.”
“Is that so?” Bianca exclaimed.
“Yes. I guess he thought the Bible was going to make me jump to do whatever it was he wanted me to do,” Amy said. “On a whole, I do not like the way many of these men look . . . no, I take that back—stare at me.”
“What way is that?” Bianca asked.
“It’s as though they are undressing me with their eyes,” Amy said. “It’s very uncomfortable and so embarrassing. A church held a meeting in our conference room about two months back. There were about two hundred people in attendance; most of them were out-of-town guests, so you can imagine quite a number of our rooms were occupied. It was a busy four days for us.”
“What was the conference about?” Bianca asked.
“I believe they came together to discuss strategies to lessen the drop-out rate of high school seniors and to encourage them to go on to college,” Amy said.
“What happened?” Bianca asked.
“One of the guests had called down to the front desk for some extra towels. I was taking the towels to him all the way to the 6th floor. I decided to take the elevator. If I don’t have the supplies cart, I normally take the stairs, but for some reason I took the elevator. I guess I wanted to respond to them promptly as it was time for me to go home.”
“Is there any particular reason you like to take the stairs?” Bianca asked.
“I’m slightly claustrophobic, plus, I keep thinking the elevator is going to break down,” Amy said with a laugh. “I know it sounds crazy, but I have some fear of being in small closed-up places, especially by myself. That is why I am going to trade in my small car for a larger one—one in which I can breathe.”
Bianca and the others laughed.
“Anyway, I was on my way up and on the second floor one of the conference attendees joined me in the elevator. He said a pleasant ‘hello.’ I responded with a smile but kept my eyes on the numbers to the floors. You know how we all do when we’re in the elevator with strangers,” Amy said. “You’re curious about the other person but you don’t want to stare or ask questions; you don’t want to seem too nosy. At the same time, you’re wondering whether or not they’re looking at you.”
“I know that feeling,” the others said.
“He stood behind me, but I could sense him staring at me.” Amy shuddered. “He started to talk.”