Wednesday, January 5, 2011

P4E.196 Help Wanted

I experienced an unusual physical circumstance that was amazingly contrary to my last post. Another opportunity for learning!

The company I work for does a lot of work for the military. I was required to get a "RapidGate" pass to gain entrance to the military bases we are working on. I did all of the necessaries to identify myself and waited about two weeks until the physical pass was ready for me to pick up. Since the location that I had to go to was about an hour and a half away, I called to verify that the pass was indeed, ready to pick up. A young woman answered the call, checked and informed me that my pass was there and ready to issue.

When I got to the office, I waited only a little while before my name was called. I told the young man (a civilian, not military) why I was there. He took me over to where the passes were kept in a drawer. I noticed as we walked over that he was moving pretty slowly. He sat down on a stool and rubbed his face with his hands. "I'm really tired," he said matter-of-factly. He reached over to open the drawer with a big yawn. He took out a stack of cards about 2" thick held together with a rubber band. He took the rubber band off and began to slowly, one by one, go through the deck. About a third of the way through the deck, he asked, "What's your name?" I told him and he continued to thumb through the deck. "What's your name, again? Let me see your driver's license." I showed him. Periodically he would rub his face and say "I'm tired," and yawn. Finally, he got through the entire deck. He looked up at me blankly and said, "It's not here." His voice and demeanor clearly said, "You're screwed and I'm not going to do a damn thing to help you."

I explained that I had called to verify that the pass was ready before I drove an hour and a half to get there and that a young woman had checked for me. He leaned back, folded his arms, surveyed the area behind the counter (where there was NO young woman) and asked, "Who did you talk to?"

"I didn't get a name, but it was a young woman." He gestured behind the counter and said "There ain't no young woman here." I remained calm and told him again that whoever I talked to had checked and told me my pass was ready. He shook his head and began to thumb through the stack again. While he was doing that I happened to look down into the drawer that he had pulled the stack out of. There was a white envelope there and just underneath it I thought I saw another, smaller, stack of the same type of cards. "Is that another stack of cards there?" I asked. He ignored me. He finished going through the stack and gave me the same dull look. "It's not here." Pointing to the drawer, I asked again "Is that another stack of cards there?" He did not look into the drawer, but looked me in the eyes and said "You just don't believe me, do you?" "It's not that I don't believe you, it's just that I was told my pass was ready and I think there's another stack of cards in the drawer." "There's no other cards." "Look," I pointed, "Are you sure that isn't another stack of cards just under that white envelope?" He reluctantly lifted the envelope and lo-and-behold there was another rubber-banded stack of cards. He did not say a word, but took the rubber band off and started looking through the new deck with the same vigor. Of course, mine was the very last card that he looked at in that deck. He took it out and placed it inside a protective plastic cover and handed it to me. "Thanks," I said and left the building.

When I looked more closely, he had put the card in the protective cover upside down. He never did ask me to produce the "two forms of identification" that were absolutely required to issue the card.

That type of thing doesn't happen every day and I'm wondering what you would make of it? (I have my thoughts...)


  1. How did this lethargic, unmotivated, condescending guy get a literal gatekeeper position?

  2. My thoughts go to ezer- the biblical "help meet" and how I can see an elephant in the room only for him to INSIST it isn't there!