As I left the donor centre, annoyance rose inside me. So many people had told me that a white car was not going to work and how I’d argued. But here I was, spitting on a clean handkerchief and wiping another mark off the door panel. As I stood, I sawthe something under my windshield wiper. A shiny white card, with writing on it.
Like all bits of advertising that get stuck on my car in car parks, my first instinct was to throw it away. For some reason this time I didn’t, but placed it on the passenger seat.
As I would find out later, it was one of those decisions where your life shifts in an instant.
Thank you for giving blood today.
As a regular donor,
we want to specially honour you.
Come along here at 10 tonight,
and go to the first floor
I’d always been very proud that I committed to donating, so this was wonderful. I would be recognised for my contributions at last. I had no doubts that I would be there.
Over the rest of my day, I forgot about the date I had that evening. Work was busy and it was not until I packed my bag and saw the card that I thought about it again.
I had my usual dinner at home – another ready meal – and caught up with the Monday night football and left in good time for my appointment.
I left my car on the edge of the parking lot where there were no others, so that I would not suffer the mishap of earlier. I walked to the door and pressed the buzzer. The door opened without my having to identify myself and I made my way upstairs, through a door I had never noticed before.
When I entered the room, I was surprised to see another dozen or so people mulling around, each with a glass in their hand and little plates of finger food. As the clock ticked to five past the hour, a small, hairy man, dressed in a purple three-piece suit appeared. He strode over to a raised dais and after clearing his throat, began to speak.
“Thank you all for coming, if we may make a start.
“You are all here because you have been giving your precious blood for many years, some even as many as 50, and we wanted to acknowledge you in some meaningful way.
“You may all realise that the health services appreciate your work and yet, sometimes, there are wasted donations – and we want to change this for you.
“We would like to offer every one of you membership of an exclusive club that will fully value your services, at no inconvenience to you. There is no cost and there are additional benefits of this private arrangement.
“During the next half hour, my colleagues and I will circulate, providing details of how it will work and if you are interested and willing, take you aside to complete your registration. Thank you.”
With that, the little man was joined by five others, alike in every way.
After attending to the person before me, one of them came to me and began to explain the range of benefits of membership. From holiday vouchers to restaurant discounts. Bonus savings points wherever we shopped, to preferential borrowing rates. It looked like an attractive deal.
The offer of late night donations, rather than making time during my working day, was the clincher for me. I cannot speak for others, but slowly and surely each disappeared around the dark red curtain where the registration process was taking place. The offer seemed popular, after all, what was not to like?
As I made my own way around the curtain, I felt s sharp prod to the side of my neck and another small man was conveniently placed to catch me as I collapsed, then he explained in detail how the club worked.
I would come after dark each month. They would take my blood and give me the usual tea and biscuits. One pint of my blood would be enough to satisfy the recipient, until the next month came around.
I was happy to comply with his every wish as I signed.
“The soreness where we insert your personalised microchip will pass in a couple of days,” he said, as he put my mind at rest, with a smile.
Membership of the club would continue, he assured me, forever.