Big surprise, right guys? I know. Listen, I was thinking about a new bit about working in the service industry, and occasionally being confronted by a customer who wants something that your business is simply not capable of providing, or that is in violation of some rule. Usually an older customer. And the frustration we have with this kind of customer usually comes from a good place; we want to be as helpful as possible, and to sned everyone away happy, and a customer who wants something we can’t provide is a customer we can’t help, and, sometimes, a customer who prevents us from helping others.
With this in mind, it occurred to me that there might be a perspective from which Rosa Parks’ famous and rightfully lauded act of non-violent bravery was also an act of ruining an innocent bus driver’s day. I imagined an edgy bit, the kind I don’t usually do because of my own cowardice, about a long-suffering bus driver trying to make it through Thursday, a man following a protocol he probably didn’t believe in, owing to the insistence of this stubborn old woman who simply didn’t want to change seats. Hilarious? Probably not. Super offensive? Probably.
Before I pulled the trigger on this bit, I thought I’d look up the actual event and see whether it would be possible for me to hide behind some nugget of truth. Opposite!
The bus driver in question was named James F. Blake and, according to Wikipedia, he was a massive tool who simply did not like Rosa Parks, and had previously played the race card just to be a dick to her specifically, asking her to use the rear entrance of the bus before speeding off, probably sending up a cartoonish spray of water to ruin the shoes of the national hero in question. His defense of his own role in the incident is the one that makes the Doctor stop speaking to a person, that he was “Just following orders.”
So I’m not going to do a bit about it, no I’m not, hilarious though it may be, because to do so might invite sympathy towards one of history’s barely significant, half-forgotten toolbags. Instead, I’m just going to further my commitment to quality customer service no matter how difficult the customer. That’s what I learned today.