It was just after the riots after the Rodney King Verdict. The city created a new organization dedicated to helping heal the city and address problems. They asked for volunteers. I called.
“Yes, I’d like to volunteer for the Heal LA organization.” (Or whatever it was called.)
“Why?” the person on the phone said curtly.
“I can help with writing and fundraising.”
“OK, but what’s in it for you?”
“Yeah, well, I watched my city almost burn to the ground. I thought I’d pitch in to help.”
“Right, but what do you get out of it? What’s in it for you?”
“Uh, sure, what do I get? I get the feeling I did something to help. You know, help my city…which almost burned to the ground.”
“But why? What do YOU get out of it?”
It didn’t get any better.
Back in Columbus, Ohio, when you wanted to volunteer to help, they let you.