Friday, September 27, 2013

Sometimes people do the right thing

The news story about the football coach kicking all his players off his team and making them do community work to earn a spot back on the team reminded me of the fact that sometimes people aren't giant assholes all the time.  It also reminded me of an incident that took place in the twilight of my sales career.

The guy, his name was John, who managed a tire shop I used to sell maintenance products to in a small SW VA town was decent guy.  He knew I had a job to do and he didn't waste my time by stringing me along, if he didn't need anything he'd tell me so up front but he'd also make a point of looking for extra stuff he thought he might need when he was in the mood to buy.  We had a good relationship because we respected one another and we didn't waste each other's time.

My routine when I stopped at his store was I'd say hello to him and go talk to his employees to see if they needed anything and then I'd come back to let John know what they said and I'd show him new products then as well.  One day when I stopped in one of his regular guys wasn't there so I asked another guy where he was.  He told me the other guy had been fired.  I asked why and he told me that a few days prior to my visit a black female customer had called to schedule an alignment on her car but she could only get there at 4:30 in the afternoon and the shop closed at 5.  When the woman was a few minutes late the guy who would be fired soon said, "That nigger bitch had better get here quick or else she can fuck off.  I got stuff to do at home."  John overheard what his employee said and he asked him to repeat it.  The employee repeated what he said and he thought nothing of it because most guys in the tire business in SW VA are horrible misogynists and racists.  But the asshole hadn't counted on John doing the right thing.  John, they told me, walked over to his racist employee and told him to pack his tools up and to get off the property because he was fired.  They told me the guy laughed and told John he was being real funny until he realized that John wasn't joking.  My guy told me that he apologized and when John told him it was too late, he started crying and begging for his job back.  John refused and told him that the there was no place in that company for a person who would use that word to describe a black person.

I could not help but smile when they told me all that.  It was a rare occurrence in that business to see someone do the right thing and stand up to racism.  It restored my faith in humanity for a bit.

2 comments:

Caffeinated Joe said...

Very nice. Wish we heard more stories like this.

gmb said...

Really.