Monday, April 13, 2009

Girl Private Eye and the Search for Paid Sick Days

Jessica was nine years old and she loved to dress up as a private eye. She had on her favorite green trench coat with a dark gray hat. In her right hand, Jessica held a magnifying glass. She was looking to investigate her next case in San Jose.

Jessica was in her front yard. She peered down at the sidewalk. There was nothing special about it. She then looked up and saw her best friend Jimmy. He had tears in his eyes.

Jessica put her magnifying glass in her pocket and gave Jimmy a hug. Jessica asked, "What's wrong?"

"My mom needs paid sick days," replied Jimmy.

"Why?" asked Jessica. "The last time I saw your mom, she looked great."

"She needs paid sick days to take care of my nana who has cancer," replied Jimmy.

"Your mom should ask for time off from her job," said Jessica.

"If my mom takes time off, she won't get paid," replied Jimmy. "My mom doesn't make a lot of money. We need every dollar so she can pay the bills."

"Maybe we should search for paid sick days," said Jessica.

"How?" asked Jimmy.

Jessica pulled out her magnifying glass from her pocket and stared at the ground for a few seconds. She then picked up a couple letters that she found.

"Oh my gosh," Jessica exclaimed. "I've found some clues."

"What are they?" Jimmy asked.

"They are the letters s and f," said Jessica. "I think they may stand for something."

"Really like what?" Jimmy asked.

"The letters are somehow related to paid sick days," replied Jessica. "Where do they have paid sick days?"

"I heard on the radio that there's a big city in the Bay Area that has paid sick days," said Jimmy. "But I can't remember its name."

"The letters are s and f. So that must be San Francisco," said Jessica.

"You're right," said Jimmy.

Jimmy then looked on the ground and found a small toy that looked like a building.

Jessica exclaimed, "Hey, that's a toy White House."

"The White House is in Washington, D.C.," said Jimmy.

"They probably have paid sick days there also," said Jessica.

"That's nice," said Jimmy. "But how are we going to find paid sick days for my mom?"

Jessica peered through her magnifying glass again and looked at the ground. She saw a paper with lots of writing on it.

"What is it?" asked Jimmy.

"It's a handwritten note that gives a special formula for getting paid sick days for your mom," said Jessica. "It says clap your hands twice, touch your nose once and point your finger in your air. You then should say I want paid sick days for my mom four times."

Jimmy followed the instructions and said the chant four times. "Now what?" Jimmy asked.

"Turn around," Jessica said. "I just saw your mom walking down the street from your house."

Jimmy turned and greeted his mother. Jimmy's mother spoke, "My boss just called me and gave me paid sick days. Now, I can take time off from work and take care of your grandmother while she's getting treatment for her cancer."

"Mom, that's great news," Jimmy said. "Jessica helped us get paid sick days."

Jimmy's mom gave Jessica a great big hug and said, "Thank you for your help. Is there anything we can do for you?"

"Yes," replied Jessica. "Please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers. And tell all the grown-ups you know to sign the petition."

"I will do that," replied Jimmy's mother.

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