Over the stable door: Given the run around in search for a stable hand

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WE APPROACH Christmas when days are short and darkness drags its heels. The first ‘lot’ of the morning pulls out later and later, giving us precious little daylight to carry out all the usual daily tasks.

With us having a fair amount of work to do I recently advertised for a stable hand on an equine website, to help out a few days a week. The response was positive, with interest from a variety of applicants.

Amongst them was a girl moving to Leeds from Bristol who had separated from her partner. She was desperate to work with horses and make new friends at work, I thought it sounded hopeful.

She sounded keen when I spoke to her so I arranged an interview for the following week when she had moved to her new home in Yorkshire.

Next day she contacted me to say the job centre would pay her train fare to Leeds if she could prove she had an interview to attend so could I send them confirmation, which I duly did.

The following Thursday I was all set for my list of interviews, having sent each of them exact directions to the yard. Her interview had been arranged for midday.

At 11am she sent a message explaining she was unable to attend, her reason - lack of money for the bus fare (£3.50) and, as walking would take her a considerable amount of time, she would not get to me by midday.

Interviewing is always a hit and miss affair. The number of people who fail to appear is considerable, most of whom you never hear from again, others may apply for a job a few years later.

I keep them on file so they don’t get a second chance to waste anyone’s time. At least in this case she had informed me.

At the end of her message she begged for another chance, outlining her capability for the job. For some reason, and against my better judgement, I decided to give her another chance.

I arranged to meet her at 11am on Sunday morning explaining it meant altering my plans so it was vital she didn’t let me down. She promised not to.

On Sunday I finished morning stables early, ready for the interview.

When it got to 11am, no one had arrived. I checked my messages. Nothing.

I knew then what I had suspected all along but still I waited, desperate to be proved wrong.

By 11.30pm I was seething. I rang her, which was a waste of time as her phone was turned off.

Cursing my gullibility all day at being taken in by tales of woe from a girl we now recount as the ‘train fare conspirator’. Later that evening I got an email. Conspiracy girl claimed she had left home at 9am, spent the whole day looking for the yard in Morley but had eventually given up and gone home with no credit on her phone.

I was still in quiet irritation at being led on this merry dance. She had been sent directions to Menston, not Morley, which was miles the wrong side of Leeds.

I was later told her deception in getting free travel, followed by emails to me she could show the job centre, would be taken as proof she was looking for work and so securing any benefits.

I wasn’t totally sure this had been her plan but my contact assured me thousands played this game.

I couldn’t believe it.

I wrote a stinging email, pointing out no employer in their right mind would give a job to someone with such blatant disregard for others.

She probably won’t read it but I felt better.

Thankfully the team I have working in the yard are the total opposite. They are dedicated, caring, fun and reliable, a type hard to find but thankfully there are still decent people out there.