by Doug Kruse
You never know when being friendly is going to pay off or being unfriendly is going to cost you.
I love going to Lafayette Louisiana, to Acadiana. I find the people warm and open, the food is the best especially at places like the Boiling Point that serve crawfish, crabs and shrimp boiled just right and oh so spicy. And, where you can here happy making Zydeco and Cajun music almost everywhere you go.
A few years ago while doing team member training for an oil field equipment manufacturing plant in Lafayette Louisiana I met Gene "Yard Dog" Josey. I guess they called Gene the yard dog because he worked like a dog driving a huge forklift out in the iron yard.
We got down to the deadline and so we got off training and on to doing the remaining work. I was asked to finish hanging signs out in the factory. Gene was driving the lift, picking me up about 12 feet in the air to just under the rails for the cranes used to handle heavy loads out in the factory. I was using iron plumbing clips and steel chain to hang aluminum signs.
About the third sign I hung Gene quietly said, "Doug, you might want to be a little more careful up there, those shiny little rails are hot with four hundred forty volts to power the overhead crane."
Now Gene may have been one of the newest employees in the place, not in a position of great authority as a forklift driver but I was suddenly aware of his importance. So, I said "Thanks!" as best I could with the lump that has risen up in my throat.
Having a limited understanding of electrical current, knowing its potential thermodynamic effect on the human body and curious about just why had waited until the third sign to share his warning with me, I asked him. "Why didn't you say something about that at the first sign we hung."
Gene smiled and said, "Hell Doug, I didn't know if I liked you at first."
Gene in his humble and quiet way reminded me of an important lesson my parents taught me. It is important for us to be friendly and courteous whenever we can to everyone we can. There may come a time in your life when your life, like mine, hangs in the balance depending upon how we treat to other people, especially unassuming people like my friend Gene.