Have you ever worn a uniform?
I haven't -- except at Camp Longhorn and at gym -- and I sucked at gym. I went to public school, and back then public schools didn't require uniforms.
NOTE: I'm so old that when I started working in the mid-1980's ladies couldn't wear pants to work. I'm sitting at my desk now in pants and a top, but could easily be in blue jeans and a t-shirt, but I have a meeting at a donor's office in an hour. My, how things have changed!
Anyway, now uniforms are worn by students in public and private schools. At Community Partners of Dallas, we provide uniforms for abused and neglected kids in Dallas County to be able to start school with dignity. If that child has an open CPS case and is living in their own home or with a relative, our donors make sure that that child has a fresh new uniform to go back to school and fit in with the other children. A uniform is an equalizer for our kiddos who often feel like they don't measure up.
Adults sometimes wear uniforms too... Servers at restaurants, grocery stores, mail carriers. Airline personnel, pest control employees. Police officers, firefighters, and the military.
Are you the type of person who will pay for a police or firefighter's meal if you see them in their uniform? Buy their sack of groceries at the store? Buy a service person a beer at a bar or a coffee in the line at Starbucks? I am. Half the time when I ask the server to put their bill on my credit card, they say someone else has already provided payment!
NOTE: I always like to do this anonymously and ask the server not to tell the officer that I'm the one who paid. It makes it a real feel-good moment for me!
I think it happens all the time and it should. I know some restaurants comp the meals for service persons and those restaurants should be celebrated and patronized by all of us.
It doesn't ever happen for a group I believe deserves the comped meal just as much -- CPS caseworkers. The caseworkers of CPS walk amongst us, having dinner or lunch, buying groceries for their families, and are not wearing a uniform. We don't recognize who they are and what they do.
They save children's lives. They help families through crises and find safe homes for children. They make sure kids are safe -- sometimes risking their own lives to do so. They leave their own children at home with family and sit all night in a hospital room with a child on life support. They drive miles and miles in their own cars with kids in car seats who are screaming and vomiting.
I wish I could give them a uniform so you could spot them and buy their lunch or a cup of coffee. I know you'd do it if you could.
P.S. If you are so inclined, we have lots of opportunities to feed and nurture CPS caseworkers. Visit www.CommunityPartnersDallas.org