Thursday, December 15, 2005

Story from last night

After wrapping up work at Boeing in Everett last night, I hitched a ride with the truck driver, Lee, who moves the legacy PCs back to Kent. Lee had to go back to our home base at building 87 where I had to go to enter my time card. It was nice of him to offer the ride rather than forcing me to walk in the bitter cold and I gladly accepted.

During the drive, Lee was silent. He's usually quite talkative, so I asked him if something was wrong. This is his tale:

"Man, I hate people who are in positions of power who decide to abuse that power just because they can."

(At this point I'll interject to point out that Lee is a black man. It's relevent to this tale).

"This black security guard stopped me on the way in. Ya know, I usually just show my badge through the window here - like this - and the guards just wave me through. But not THIS black man. He stops me and tells me to roll down the window.

He then tells me, 'I don't care if other people are not doin' their jobs or nuthin'. When you come up here and see me here, then you stop and roll down your window so that I can read your badge.'

I told him that it wasn't a problem, but that no one had ever asked me to come to a complete stop and roll down the window before. He said, 'I told you I don't care what the others do. That's their business. When I'm here or anywhere else you see me, you do what I'm telling you to do right now. Do you understand that?'


'What?!? What did you say?'

Yes, sir.

'That's better. When you drive around this lot and you see me, I want you to show me the same sort of respect as you'd show the President.'

I just looked at him and gave a little laugh, ya know? He asked why I laughed and was staring at him funny. I told him: you're a black man. He said, 'What does that have anything to do with it?'

And I told him: no black man has ever been President of the United States and there ain't likely to be one in my life time! There's no reason to be throwing your weight around like that and at this time of year, too."

I chuckled with Lee a bit as he said that last bit, then we drew silent again. Thoughts of power tripping people feeling my head. I told him our managers need to hear some of those words, too, and Lee agreed. As we drove up to the guard shack on the way out, Lee pointed and said, "See! See! That's the black man. Wrong color; wrong hair - ain't never going to be President and ain't never going to earn my respect with that attitude."

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