Terrifying News item: After a drug raid at UC San Diego, engineering student Daniel Chong was questioned by DEA agents, after which he was locked in a 5-by-10 windowless room. He was left there for 4 days without food or water after agents “forgot” he was there. After being accidentally discovered and spending 5 days in the hospital, he is expected to survive and recover. An apology has been offered to the family.
Because that ought to fix it.
Okay. It’s ringing. Deep breath. Confident but sincere. Confident but sin-
Ah, hello? Mrs. Chong? This is special agent Bill Showerman at the DEA. Um, hi… how are you? No, scratch that. Silly question. Just a little nervous.
I just wanted to call and say, gosh, you know… we’re just really, really sorry about that whole… thing. Really sorry. You should see the guys here at the office. Everybody looking down, listless… everyone just feels really bad about this. If someone walked in to our offices off the street, they’d think someone had died. Heh. Which, you know, I think it’s important to note, no one did.
How is Danny doing? Can I call him Danny? No? Oh. Fair enough. How is… your son… doing? No permanent organ damage? Well, that’s super. Really. Everyone’s going to be just tickled to hear it. Tickled. Because, again, we’re just super sorry. But sounds like he’s going to be fine. Why, this will all be water under the bridge before you know it. Under the old bridge. A thing of the past. An anecdote.
Silly mix up, right? Just… silly. Do you know I forget where my car keys are, like, every day? Ha ha.
No, of course that’s not the same thing. I didn’t mean… yes… sure, I can imagine you do feel that way… I just meant… never mind.
Hm? No, of course it’s not a regular policy at the DEA throw people in cells and leave them to starve. You’re thinking of the CIA. Just a little joke there. Lighten the mood. No, ma’am, I have no idea how it happened; can’t figure out how we didn’t hear his cries for help. Maybe if he’d pounded SOS against the door or something. No, I’m not saying he’s to blame, of course I’m not saying that. I’m just saying I don’t know how it all happened.
Rest assured, Mrs. Chong, we’re making every effort to make sure it never happens again. Well, for starters, we’re putting a big sign over the front doors that read “Before you go: Did you leave anyone locked in a windowless room today?” Also, everyone is going to have to attend a mandatory “Don’t Lock People In Empty Rooms For 4 days” seminar. Uh, I think the brochure said it’s about 3 hours long. Yeah, there’s a guy out of Tallahassee; there’s a seminar for everything these days, isn’t there?
Hey, here’s some good news! The whole drug possession charge thing? Forgotten. Like it never happened. Well, that’s true that he was never formally charged before… you know… but still! Isn’t that exciting? Just our little way of, you know, making things right. Because of how sorry we are. And in the interest of putting this… you know, unpleasantness… in the past. I think that’s what we all want, isn’t it? Not to dwell on this? Especially in, say, a legal setting? A lawsuit…type… situation…? Don’t you think? Sure, you know, whatever you think. Just a thought.
Well, I don’t want to keep you. Tell that son of yours that we think he’s one tough fella. We could use a guy like him here at the DEA if he ever… no, sure, probably not. I’m just saying… One tough fella, is my point.
So, take care. And again, you know… sorry. Just totally our fault. Really. Big, fat oops.