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by Floriana Hall  

    Derek Alan Smith was the epitome of what a gentleman should be.  He was polite, kind and respectful of others.  Derek had just graduated from college Magna Cum Laude and started looking for a new job in his field.  He applied for three different jobs in another area and was interviewed for all three jobs.  In the meantime, he started looking for an apartment in that particular area in case he obtained one of the jobs.
    Derek was called back for a second interview by all three places of employment.  He felt that one of them was the best opportunity for him to advance.  The job was his and now he had to find an apartment within a short driving distance.  He looked at about five apartments.  Like most young men, he did not want to look at too many so as to make it simple.  Derek found the perfect apartment for him, not too old with modern appliances and an interesting view.
    All the papers were signed, but the apartment owner wanted Derek to have a co-signer.  His grandmother said she would be happy to help him.  However, the apartment owner did a background check on Derek, who had never been in any kind of trouble.  He told Derek that he found out that Derek Arvin Smith had a criminal record in Texas , and he thought that Derek Arvin Smith was the same person as Derek Alan Smith.  He was rejected even though it was another person.  Evidently, the Social Security office had made a mistake when they typed in the criminal’s Social Security number.  It was the same as Derek Alan’s.
    How could that happen?  Now Derek Alan did not have the apartment of his dreams.  He and his kin tried to prove that it was a mistake.  Derek had excellent credit, and the apartment owner admitted that not many criminals have excellent credit.  Nevertheless, they probed his grandmother’s credit as co-signer and found out that she also had excellent credit but they wanted proof.
    His grandmother could not see well but searched all her papers.  No matter what Derek faxed them, they wanted more.   The family was all getting tired of the apartment owners being so picky and not believing Derek.  Grandma said, “If they don’t accept this proof, tell them to go jump in the lake.” Grandma searched once more for proof of sufficient funds and finally Derek was accepted for the apartment.
    Talk about hassles, people do learn to cope with them when they are young.  Bureaucracy can make errors that cause much frustration.  Two weeks of trying to prove that he was not the criminal Derek Arvin Smith upset his whole family.
    All’s well that ends well.  Derek will be starting his new job and moving into his apartment next month.  Grandma can settle down and have cataract surgery.