Marshelle worked two jobs for many years in order to support her 8 children, purchase her home and pay her bills. For 16 years she worked at the Postal Service and for the past 8 she has also worked as a cab driver. She had no complaints about either job until she tried to receive $8,000 in back pay that she believed she was owed.
One day, after she made a phone call regarding her back pay, a female co-worker became angry with her and tried to stick a pen in Marshelle’s eye. Marshelle says this was an attempt to get her to retaliate so she could be fired. Instead of retaliating, she went into the restroom and overdosed on pain pills. The person who found her made a statement supporting her case and stood by her throughout the entire 5 year ordeal (this witness, and Marshelle’s friend, was shot and killed in 2009).
Marshelle filed a workman’s comp claim for the incident. After returning to work, her desk was moved and she was forced to sit directly in front of the woman who had harassed her with the ink pen. This began a downward spiral for Marshelle. She began bringing a weapon to work, she filed 3 complaints, and she signed up for mediation but USPS didn’t respond.
It was then that Marshelle filed in federal court. She had to sell her home to pay for everything and she and her 8 kids moved into a motel. While living here she met another family in a similar situation. In an attempt to tell her story, Marshelle has enlisted the help of the mother of this family and has helped them in return by paying their rent. “People ask why I’m helping this other family...I understand. She’s depressed,” Marshelle said as she started to cry. As a matter of fact, she had asked this other woman to join us for coffee, but she refused because she thought she was too ugly. “This is what’s in my heart to do…”
During our chat, she briefly mentioned that the case had settled, but that’s as much as she disclosed.
Imagine if Marshelle’s drama were actually a comedy. I can’t quite picture it, myself. But Marshelle says that comedy has helped her get through her ordeal. She’s hoping to have her story turned into a movie with a message, but to make it a comedy.
To stay positive, she has begun organizing an annual comedy competition. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to organizations in St. Louis because, “there are a lot of organizations out there, doing a lot of wonderful things, that nobody knows about.”
Interpret Marshelle’s story however you will. It was pleasant to meet her and see her resilience and that’s what I took from our meeting.
Here is a brief video of Marshelle's story.
Here is audio of Marshelle's story.