As I got out of my car and walked toward my office building, I was approached by a woman who had been standing outside my door as if waiting for somebody. I had not recognized her, so I had just assumed she wasn’t waiting for me.
“Excuse me,” she said, “are you Mitch Turner?”
She looked like she had been crying and appeared to be on the verge of starting up again.
I hesitated. I didn’t have time to deal with a distraught woman right now. I had an appointment with a client that was just a few minutes away.
“Can I help you, ma’am?” I asked as politely as I could, trying hard not to glance at my watch. Instead, I tried to remember the time from the dashboard of my car. I thought I had twenty minutes before my appointment but didn’t know for sure. I didn’t want the time between now and then taken up by this woman. I had things I needed to prepare for my upcoming client consultation. The case was a doozy. I almost regretted taking it.
“It is my son. You must help him!”
“How does he need help?”
“He has been charged with murder. I know he didn’t do it. He’s a good boy.” Tears were welling up in her eyes now, and her face was starting to turn red. I was on the verge of having to deal with a meltdown from a woman I did not even know.
I paused for just a moment to consider how I could appropriately handle the situation while still preserving my time to prepare for my appointment.
I gave her a confident but slightly reserved smile.
“You have come to the right place,” I said, “that’s what I do.”
“I’ve seen your billboard.”
I gave the woman the most empathetic look I could summon, holding her eyes for just a moment while offering a brief nod as if to say that everything was going to be okay.
“I would very much like to speak with you, but unfortunately, I don’t have time right now because I have an upcoming appointment in just a couple minutes that I must prepare for. Can you come back this afternoon?”
I glanced at my watch and cursed silently.
I had been wrong when I thought that I had twenty minutes. I had less than ten.
“I have time at 1:30. Does that work?” The woman nodded.