I almost got arrested by the Girl Scouts.
That is not a joke, although I really wasn’t as close to getting arrested as that may sound.
It all happened last week when I hopped a quick plane for Oklahoma City. My youngest daughter took a job last summer with the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma, getting hired to head their equestrian division of the summer-long camp. She arrived in May of 2016 and began getting the stables ready for the horses.
When the horses were brought in by an area rancher who leased them out to ride, I remember Vicky telling us that the horses needed a lot of work to be tamed so the young Girl Scouts could safely ride them. Vicky has a lot of experience working with horses so she was certainly up to the task. But a couple of weeks into the job we suddenly got a phone call that our daughter was in the hospital after a particularly difficult horse threw her.
She landed on her back on some large rocks and suffered a broken back. Fortunately she wasn’t paralyzed, but since that time she has been under the care—and I use that word very loosely—of a Worker’s Comp insurance company that the Girl Scouts had hired for their coverage.
In the past 13 months she has gone through a literal nightmare trying to get treatment. After remaining in the hospital for six days she was released to go home, but since that time she has had to fight for what small bit of treatment the insurer would provide. In 13 months the only thing that has happened is shots in her back to temporarily relieve the pain, as well as some physical therapy. And get this–they will only allow treatment in Oklahoma so she must go there for all doctors visits and treatment of any kind.
Add to that, she is not allowed to work at all so for over a year she has had to sit back and do practically nothing—something that all of my kids don’t do so well since they have always worked and taken care of themselves. My daughter finally felt so overwhelmed that I decided to take matters into my own hands and headed up to OKC to see what cages I could rattle.
That brings us back to the Girl Scouts, who were at the top of my list since, of course, the insurer they hired could care less about any of these problems, or the fact that they refuse to do the job they are being paid for.
I was determined to meet with the biggest executive I could for the Scouts so I called the office several days in a row before going up there and finally got the local director on the phone. I am certain I sounded pretty intense in my phone conversation as I insisted to meet with her, which she finally agreed to.
Later that evening I received a phone message from a man who said he was an attorney for the Girl Scouts, then before I could call him the next morning he was chasing me down again. I answered the phone since I was expecting to head to the Scouts’ office in downtown Oklahoma City later that morning. It quickly became pretty clear that I was not going to be seeing anyone there since the attorney let me know “there would be no answers” for me there.
Once again I let them know how upset I was with the treatment of my daughter, but in neither case did I ever say anything close to a threat, nor do I cuss at all so there was not a word of profanity.
After the conversation was over I was ready to head to a few other places to try and get my point across and find a way to help my daughter. No sooner did I get in the car and start driving than I saw another 405 area code call, which I knew was from that region. To my surprise, the man on the other end of the phone said, “Mr. Chiri, this is Officer Monkres with the Oklahoma City Police Department. We’ve had a call from the Girl Scouts and they are concerned about whether you plan to go to their office today and make trouble.”
I about fell out hearing that. I immediately figured I must have gotten some attention. But I could not stop laughing during our conversation since I was so stunned that the Girl Scout execs apparently were so afraid of someone making trouble for them when all I was trying to do was get help for my daughter.
So that’s how I almost got arrested by the Girl Scouts. I never did go to their office, but I?did nudge things along, if only even slightly.
At this point I just hope someone in that state will stand up to do what is the right thing and take care of my daughter. It has been appalling, shocking and unbelievable to see how this company is allowed to do anything they want in the care of a young woman who has a broken back.
We’re waiting to see what happens next so I’ll keep you posted. And in the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions about how we can pressure an insurer like this to do their job, I would appreciate any advice I can get. So far the Girl Scouts continue to maintain the matter is out of their hands—unbelievable.
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.