After being a writer for 40 years, I’ve learned the right words enable us to connect to our own humanity.
Take Peter Reede.
He’s a middle aged man who lives in a tiny flat in Devonport at the edge of Auckland, New Zealand.
He feels he can do anything with a “bit of supervision.”
Meet Peter through his words:
To Whom it Might Concern:
I was employed for the last 11 years as a process worker for Miles Nelson Manufacturing. I cleaned and operated drill and punching presses.
My boss was happy with my dedication and contribution. I lost my job when it was made redundant, a word I never understood until it happened to me. My boss wrote me a nice reference.
I have a driver’s license. It cost me $800 in lessons and I tried 30 times. I can read and write but not at college level. Well, maybe not at the secondary school level.
I have my own car. I have rented a small flat for the last 14 years in Devonport. I always pay my rent and electricity on time. I look after a cat named Smokey. I have no police record. I vote. I can tell time.
Look. I might not be the sharpest pencil in the drawer but I am reliable and loyal. I need a chance to work. I get mixed up driving out of the Devonport area so I’d like to work in this area. I have great references.
I promise you that you will benefit from my dedication, work and loyalty.
PS — I can clean up your yard…run errands…pack and unpack things…paint…mow your lawn…work in a warehouse …sandpaper things…assist trade people. You might have to explain things to me once or twice but I’ll do a good job for you.
There are probably other things you can think of you would like me to do. You can call me at my place and we can talk about it. Be patient with me.
Then Peter printed his phone number in odd and unmatched numerals.
My wife, Kate, and I formatted Peter’s words into a brochure and passed it out to local merchants.
Three days later Peter had a job as a trolley (shopping cart) collector for a nearby New World supermarket.
Their human resources director, Mr. Evgeni Bachara, had read Peter’s story and decided to take a chance on him.
You would think that Peter had won the Lotto plus a date with Angelina Jolie.
New World has a special policy of hiring New Zealanders such as Peter.