Written by Steve Lupo and posted on FB (reprinted here with permission).
I visited Zeldin’s Patchogue office today with several other concerned citizens.
I went upstairs and walked into the office alone. A woman behind the desk was on the phone. Her voice sounded like Terri’s. When she hung up I asked her if she was Terri, she said yes and I introduce myself as Steven Lupo. She responded that she received my email and voicemail from last night and had logged in the comments. I thanked her.
The phones were ringing off the hook. I could see people manning the phones in the back room.
She asked me if there was something she could help me with. I informed her I wanted to know the face behind the voice. And wanted to show her something. I pulled out my phone and showed her the picture of my daughter on the day she was born. My daughter was born prematurely. I informed her that when it comes to our kids, Lee Zeldin and I have something in common. We both love our daughters deeply and I have compassion for what he went through when his girls were born. (His daughter needed brain surgery.)
I informed her that my daughter was born prematurely because my wife had a difficult pregnancy. My wife had many medical issues after her birth. We had many challenges and fears for the first six months of my daughter’s life. But the one thing I never worried about was going broke because I had fairly good health insurance. And that’s why I’m here, shouldn’t everyone have the same peace of mind Lee Zeldin and I had?
As I mentioned, the phone were ringing off the hook, and she picked up a phone call. I heard her tell someone that pre-existing conditions coverage was not eliminated from the Trumpcare bill. The person on the other end of the line clearly took her to task. She was talking on the phone when a woman came to the front desk and started staring at me. Finally, she asked if I needed help? I said no. I just wanted to talk to Terri for another minute. I asked her her name and she just glared at me. Finally, she said Melinda or Melanie, actually, I’ve forgotten.
Terry hung up on the person (I guess for being rude to her). I told her she never hung up on me. I tried to finish my message and she attempted to pick up a line and I’m not really sure exactly what happened but she seemed flustered. She stood up and looked upset. I asked did I say something wrong? She said no and walked into the back office.
Then Bill Doyle came out and asked if I needed help? I said no I’m just talking to Terri, thank you. Then he starts glaring at me. I asked him did I do something wrong? And Terri appeared again. I asked her again, Terri did I do something wrong? She said no. Then she added, I was trying to tell you I’m too busy to talk. I responded, Terri you may have been trying, but you never actually said that. She looked a little surprised by my response. Bill asked again if I needed help again? I said no thank you.
Knowing Bill Boyle, like I do, I knew speaking to him would probably not end civilly. So I thanked them for their time and walked out.
It was only after I left that I started to think how bizarre this encounter was.
No one in the office made me feel welcome.
If I had called Terri on the phone, would she have been this rude? What is the difference between my calling the office and my stopping in to leave a comment?
It is apparent to me now that I’ve met Terri, as nice as she is on the phone —it’s phony.
I understand she’s under a lot of pressure. Having to defend her bosses unconscionable policies must be nerve-racking. But that’s the job.
The three Zeldin employees I met today all seemed paranoid. They all seemed wound up like springs.
The only way I could describe how it felt in there was they seemed to have a bunker mentality.
They really don’t want to hear from any of us. It has become quite apparent to me, none of them could care less.
If anyone passes this on to Terri, tell her I say hello and I meant no harm.
My little treasures first day in this world. 14 days in NICU: