Ignored black man, looking for boss.

John May
Franklin, MA

I was a salesman of warehouse equipment . On an ordinary sales call, I would drive to a warehouse and try to meet with the boss to deliver my sales pitch. Most times I would go in a back door, loading dock, or other path that would avoid the receptionists and get me in faster. On one occasion, as I entered the loading dock, I saw two men loading freight onto pallets. One man was black, the other white. I walked right past the black guy and straight to the white guy to ask him if the boss was in. He pointed to an office across the way and I went on with my day. As I left the warehouse and past the two guys loading pallets, I said goodbye and got into my car. And then it hit me. Why did I walk past one man and over to the other, when each one could have given me the answer? I just assumed that the white guy was the boss or knew the boss, never giving thought to the possibility that the black guy could be the boss.

I never did that again. It was 25 years ago, and when I heard of your project, this immediately came to mind.


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