Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ben's layoff gamble

Since we're on the subject of Dad's favorite stories (we are still on that subject, aren't we?) I am reminded of one which centered around his friend Ben. Ben was from Alabama, and like many southerners during the 1940s and 50s had emigrated northward for jobs in the auto industry. He landed at Chrysler himself.

After a few years, there were extended layoffs; Ben was told his would be 3 or 4 months. He decided that, with that much time, he might as well take the family to Alabam for an extended visit. And off they went.

About eight weeks after they had left he was informed his layoff was over. He was to report the next Monday. So he and his wife packed the kids up, and early Saturday morning began the return to Detroit. You must remember that at the time, with no freeways, it was a long two day drive from northern Alabama to Detroit.

They got in late Sunday, and Monday morning Ben reported to the Chrysler plant where he had worked. He was told by a suit to wait a few minutes, and he'd be back with his exact assignment.

A few minutes passed, which became an hour, then two, and finally four. Eventually the suit returned with a new layoff notice for Ben.

Ben proceeded to tell the suit, in marvelously colorful language, that he did not appreciate being called in all the way from Alabama and having put his family through that trauma only to be laid off again right away. He then went to that guy's supervisor and told him in no uncertain terms what he thought of the deal, then to that guy's superior, and finally to one more suit above him. He wanted to make absolutely sure Chrysler understood the depths of his anger.

"Bill,' he said to Pops as he brought his tale to a close, "By the time I was done I was laid off, paid off, told off, and run off!"

But I bet it was worth every word.

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