Ethics

For the week ending 22 November 2008 / 24 Heshvan 5769

Taking a Number

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll


Question: There is a system in government offices and other places visited by a large public of requiring people seeking service to take a slip with a number and wait until their number is called. On one occasion I noticed a newcomer to the country who was not aware of the need to take a number and as a result watched people who had come long after him being called ahead of him. What is the right thing to do in such a case?

Answer: You would be doing such a person a great kindness if you notice him failing to take a number upon entering and apprise him of the need to do so. In the case you describe it seems that you only became aware of the situation at a later stage. What you could do is to ask one of the clerks to let you speak to the office director. To him you would explain that you can testify that the newcomer had been waiting longer than people who were serviced before him, and you therefore appeal to him to make an exception to the rule and have him immediately taken care of.

You might be surprised to discover that even such officials have human feelings and will comply with your request for the benefit of all.

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