The motivational picture below sets the scene for this article. It starts with this beautiful picture and ends with a retail establishment that looks good on the outside yet lurks muddied swill laden waters on the inside.
There comes a time in a person's life when such a circumstance occurs which could either break or better that particular person.
The events laid down in this article are what lead me to my true potential and life long passion. With the words below this picture, I went from an oppressed, subservient retail worker to a life of freedom, prosperity and happiness. I went from retail to riches after the events described herein.
Although everything in this photo looks wonderful the real essence of the motivational picture lies deep within it's roots. We all know that the colorful field could at anytime be mowed down or leveled by the elements. We also know that the majestic snow covered mountain top could crumble due to mother nature. What we don't realize is that the true strength of the site lies just below the surface in the roots of the purple floral field and the rocky structure of the powerful mountain in the background.
This motivational picture shown is imagery for the words to follow. Although beautiful on the outside, the roots and core are what matters. This theme continues with a story from my lifetime when I was employed by a retail establishment many years ago in the capacity of a cashier. This particular retail store looked wonderful on the outside, colorful and inviting for the locals to shop until one warm afternoon in the state of Florida when I was working inside.
A customer came in the store and approached me looking quite upset. She informed me that there was a dog outside locked inside of a car with the windows shut up tight and the motor was turned off. She had been out there with the car and dog for at least fifteen minutes waiting for the dog's owner to come back to relieve the poor animal. She further stated that she observed the dog laying down in the back seat of the vehicle with what looked like foam or vomit coming from it's mouth. This is when she rushed in. She asked me for help and wanted the store to assist her.
Continuing with this motivational picture, my first reaction was to leave my post, run outside and help the dog. I then turned and saw the manager of the front end starring at me with a disapproving look. The manager abruptly responded to the customer that it is not in the store's "policy" to get involved with such situations and she was on her own to call the police if she wanted. This customer then held her head down and left the store after saying to us that she did not want to get involved with the police. I told the manager, a girl barely twenty years old, that I would be happy to go outside to help. She firmly told me I was to stay where I was and not to leave my post. There was nothing she could do and furthermore did not want me to assist in any way saying, "You could get in a lot of trouble for this, you know".
My blood was boiling at this point and the motivational picture as I now present it continues. It was in the mid 80's that particular afternoon and by this time the dog had been locked in the car for now over twenty minutes. Every cell in my body was screaming for me to run out there to save this animal when the next customer in my line asked me what was going on since she heard part of the conversation. I told her and she said, "Someone needs to call the police". I told her my hands were tied and she replied, "Oh well, poor dog" and left the store.
I was about to jump out of my skin when the next customer in line approached with dog bones and treats to purchase. I glanced in back of me to see the store manager there watching me and listening to every word I had said. I politely asked the customer buying the dog bones if she had her dog outside waiting for her. She said no and asked me why. I had to say something and could not let this go with the fact that this helpless creature was suffering so. I explained what occurred and she said she would go outside to stay with the dog while she called the police. I could now breath and a few minutes later she came back in with the police and thanked me for telling her. The owner of the locked vehicle was paged, escorted out of the store by the police, two of which responded. One of the response team was a K9 officer with room in his vehicle for the animal. At this point the "manager" scolded me to return to my post and stay there. She blurted again, "You could get in a lot of trouble for this."
At this point in the motivational picture story I thought all was going to be well. I ended my shift thirty minutes after the event and went briskly outside to see if I could find out what happened. The officers were still there, the owner gone and ticketed with a violation and the woman who called was also along side. She approached me and told me that my actions in turn saved the life of the dog. She thanked me again and we all went on our merry way....or so I thought.
It had been two days since the motivational picture scene of the poor dog occurred and I thought all was well in my world. At this point what happened next seemed to me more inhumane than what happened with the dying dog.
I was summoned at the end of my shift that day to report with the same manager to her office. There waiting in a chair was another manager of the same age and told me to close the door behind me as they had to have a "conversation" with me.
Until then each job that I had held in the past had it's ups and downs with good parts and bad. However, I never knew such inhumanity as I discovered behind the closed door I was now encompassed in.
I was then told that I had violated the stores "policy" when I encouraged the customer to call the police. I then asked them if they knew that my actions did save the life of the dog. They replied that this was not part of my "core job responsibilities" and that I need to refrain from this ever happening again in order to keep in good standing with my employment.
The motivational picture of a brick being thrown at my head was evident to me. I was appalled and shocked. These two girls told me that I would have to "change my ways" in dealing with the customers if I wanted to keep my job position the way it was. They stated that it is not in my job description to do what I did and I had committed a violation against the retail establishment. They said I was hired to adhere and follow the policies and rules of the store and I had not done so.
I felt like screaming and asking these two girls if they were really human.
I left the store and returned to my home where I was greeted by my own dogs. I sat down on my sofa to pet my animals when all the rage and pain that dog had to feel engulfed my being to a boiling point of no return. I knew I had to take massive action.
I sat down at my desk and wrote my resignation letter. I got back in my car still dressed in my work uniform and drove back to the store. I entered the human resources office (not the person who reprimanded me) and handed in to her my resignation letter. She said, "Okay, so your last day is two weeks from today, right?" I replied yes and that was the end. No more words were spoken. I left and went back to my home.
The final curtain to this motivational picture scene is that what appears on the outside of something may not actually be what is lurking in the depths below.
How dare these people tell me I cannot save the life of an animal. Are they not human? Are they only concerned with the "bottom line" which does not involve an employee coming to the aid of a suffering trapped animal during the course of their shift? Who are these people? Are they even people?
The two girls actually did me a favor, though. They allowed me to escape from a place I was not meant to be any longer and gave me the freedom of time to follow my passion of being a writer.
I must add that I will no longer allow a job or anyone to tell me that I cannot come to the aid of an animal or another human being ever again. I, at that time, took back my life and have forever been grateful.
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"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
- Maya Angelou
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