I was eighteen, homeless without a job. I found an advert in the local paper. For a live in support person for adults with special needs. At a place called Mt Tabor Trust.
I put on my best clothes and turned up early for the interview. Out to make a good impression.
The first person I saw was a short, toothless, bald man. He ran, jumped, wrapped his legs and arms around me, and gave me a wet, sloppy kiss on the cheek.
‘This is Roger,’ a woman said, appearing from the house.
The interview went well. I was given a two week trial. I was relieved as I had nowhere else to go.
At the end of the two weeks there was a party. I had been anxious leading up to it, as my time was coming to an end. Many of my friends were dead, and I was heading the same way. I loved this job. For once, my life had meaning, purpose and direction.
At the party I fell on my knees at the feet of the co-ordinator, in front of everyone. With tears streaming down my face, I begged for the job.
‘You already have the position, Tim,’ she said. ‘You got it after Roger jumped on you and kissed you at the interview. People usually run at that point.’
I was over the moon.
A condition of the job was that I had to do training and papers towards a qualification. I couldn’t believe my luck. A job, a place to live and training.
To begin with I was out to change the lives of the people at Mt Tabor. However Roger quickly showed me that there was nothing wrong with him. I was the one who needed help.
Mt Tabor changed my life. It was from here that I began therapy and addressing my past, and went on to pursue a life of community work.
Roger and I were close. He became my brother. We shared many adventures together.
Roger passed away before Covid 19. Wildly independent there was no way anyone would have been able to keep Roger in a bubble.
‘Cut that out,’ he would’ve said.
This article was first published on Facebook and Linkedin September 8, 2021.
Copyright© Tim Tipene, 2021.