In my youth, my mother’s idea of success was, “go to college, get a great education so you can work in an air-conditioned office and have a secretary.” My fathers idea was, “I don’t care what you become, just do something.” I took my father’s advice and became many things… that is, I’ve had many occupations in my lifetime – including working in an office and I had a secretary.
One of my many occupations was working as a private detective and in private security. The reason I ventured into this field was that I had and still have many friends that are law enforcement officers. In the 1990’s, a couple of them wanted me to join their police forces, so much so, that those with “connections”, got me lined up with their connections to make my application process go smoothly. I went once and applied, but my heart wasn’t in it. Why? As I told my friends, “I can’t see spending my days and/or nights looking for the bad/negative things in people. So why the private side of the same coin?
I had another friend that was working in private security who convinced me to go to work for an agency that had a contract to transport prisoners from State-to-State, all around the U.S. That sounded interesting… flying around the country and being paid for it. Ok, weird huh? Well, I was in my late thirties then.
I didn’t get that job, but I did work some other fairly interesting jobs and positions, including working with some police departments. The point here is, while I was employed in this line of work, I’ve seen things that I’d rather not remember… seen things that I wish I hadn’t. I understand why some law enforcement officers drink excessively and more.
Let’s change the tone of this to something far more beneficial and enlightening:
In 2003, I became disenchanted with life where I had been living for twenty-three plus years, so I contacted a friend in a northern State and asked if he was ready to move – we had often spoken about moving to a western State and start life anew. He was game, so I packed up and moved where he was living to wait for him to get his vacation check, then resign his job. As “destiny” would have it, my friend postponed his departure date and I was running low on the money I saved for our trip, so I had to find work.
I finally found an easy job that I could work and quit at any time without any qualms. On my first day of work, I noticed there was a young man working there with tattoos all over his face, neck and arms, and his head was completely shaved, but oddly enough, he looked at me and smiled a genuine smile – I was not in the least uncomfortable around him. I remember a couple of non-Whites joining the company to work – they took one look at him and quit. I’m what some call, a “mixed breed”, or inter-racially mixed. However, I learned long ago not to fear the unknown, so I stayed on.
The next day while on break, I really noticed his tattoos were in German lettering, there was a German SS teardrop tattoo below one eye,etc., and he was also wearing a White Supremacy T-Shirt. I was sitting behind him and it seemed that he knew that I was looking at the shirt and pondering, “What the….?” when he turned around and said with a smile, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll explain it to you later.” I was still without fear, but now my curiosity had peaked.
Within a weeks time, we had actually befriended each other and we had some light conversations. At the end of the second week, the office manager decided to have a company party and all were invited. I’m not one that likes these kinds of parties, but my new friend asked me to attend, because he wanted to talk with me. Ok!
At the party, both of us made our rounds with our friends, then split off from the party to have our conversation at the bar – everyone else was dancing or… whatever. He proceeded to tell me that he, his wife and five-year old daughter lived in an apartment complex where Blacks also lived. His daughter’s best friend was a Black girl. My friend told me that he watched how his daughter and her friend played together without ever noticing their racial differences; this made him think and rethink what he had been taught about racial separation (to be kind here). He even told me that he would suffer greatly if any of his “friends” saw he and I sitting and talking together. He also told me that he wanted to talk with me because he was considering leaving the hate-group he was in. All-in-all, that evening went well. We shook hands when we finished our conversation and went our own ways.
We continued working together for about two more weeks, then one day, he didn’t show up for work; then he didn’t show up the next day. Since he was a friend by now, I asked one of his closer friends where he was. She replied that he had quit, but he was coming in to pick up his final check and that he wanted to talk with me.
When he arrived, he got his check, spoke with some of his friends, then asked me to join him in the hallway because he had something to tell me.
In the hallway, he told me that he had resigned because he decided to go into an eighteen month reprogramming center to get the hatred out of his life; he had an uncle that was going to pay $3,000.00 to have all the tattoos laser removed… and that he decided to do all of this because I accepted him as a friend, as he was. He stated that he felt there was hope for him since someone could actually accept him. He then did something very surprising, he hugged me.
I returned to my desk, happy to know that I had done something to help another, and I was allowed to see how grateful the person was that I was there for them… then I broke into tears, uncontrollable tears of happiness – happy… no, elated for him!
In closing: just be yourself. Someone will see value in who and what you are, especially when you’re genuine. As I stated in the previous post, your actions will speak volumes more than what your mouth will ever say. When a person is ready for change, they will seek whom they feel with give them the help they need. If you, any of us approach anyone with the idea that we’re going to change another person, we will meet with disaster, or at least, rejection.
Your life is valuable – be yourself! Be your best!
Those that “behold” you will change, but how?
Have a wonderful weekend!