Monday, May 11, 2009

Nice guys...

the first words that popped into your mind are exactly where we're going, sadly...

A few months ago my older nephew moved to western Kansas for what he thought was going to be his dream job. It fell through, though he immediately found another. He's had a "gift" for mechanical things and his education at WyoTech has stood him well; he can troubleshoot things on the fly, fabricate, whatever he needs to do.

Raised well by my sister and her husband, he's always been one to help anyone he can, no matter what it took. An Eagle Scout, in every sense of the word and as nice a guy as you could ever hope to meet, let alone be related to!

This "other job" he took was partly as a mechanic and partly maintaining the equipment for an assembly line. A month or so ago the 2nd shift manager asked for a key to his toolboxes because when he goes home they had no access to tools; he was promised no one else would be in his tools.

It didn't take long before he found things lying out when he came in to work, but didn't complain about it. He didn't complain when things weren't brought back for a day or two...then suddenly the keys went missing.

Still trusting, he left them unlocked, trying to do the right thing, to help keep "the line" running. (Something I remember all too well!)

Last Friday they laid him off. He went through his boxes and told them that about $400 in tools were missing and asked for the tools or the money. He was told it wasn't their fault if he couldn't keep track of his tools and that he had no way of proving he hadn't lost them instead of the company!

We talked on the phone when he called to wish Dillon a "Happy Birthday" at the party on Saturday and I got him to tell me what he really needed that was missing; they had taken every wrench he had from 3/4" up and most of his screwdrivers. The other things that were missing he had duplicates of and still had his sockets and impact wrenches.

He was going to the unemployment office on Monday (today) and to try to start job hunting on Tuesday. I talked to Dottie and went through ads and the online sales and figured out how to replace his wrenches and screwdrivers and call them early Christmas and birthday presents and since he'll be here for his brother's graduation next week he can take them home with him instead of me shipping them. I even managed to buy Craftsman through the sale ads and the "Craftsman Club" ad, so he'll get the warranty.

It's really sad to have him treated that way, though an open toolbox is always a magnet. I was lucky because when I hit my squadron in the Navy your box was issued, every tool was marked not only by engraving but by reflective tape in color codes as well. If they found one of your tools in a jet intake, on the flight deck, or anywhere except in your toolbox you were up for "captain's mast" (non-judicial punishment)!

So you didn't loan anything to anyone unless you really trusted them or you stood right there with them to get it back when they were finished!

At GM things were so bad that just using the locks built into the boxes didn't work, so they would have extra brackets welded onto the boxes for long locking rods and padlocks. It wasn't that there weren't ways to open them still, but it took so much effort they were usually left alone. When we shut down the plant and contractors were working inside, they would load them all into trailers and have them taken away from the plant 'til we came back to work!

I grew up at the end of the days where you could leave your windows open, or a car unlocked and not worry about what you'd find when you returned. When a handshake meant something; when if it wasn't yours you didn't take it; when if you borrowed it you returned it in the same shape or better than you got it!

There are many ways in which I love "now", but there are some that truly sadden me!

For my nephew a lesson learned, hopefully; yet sadly, a bit of trust extinguished.

May the week be kind to each of you!



chrissie said...

A sad story, Alan.

I could never condemn someone for being a victim of crime.

To use the phrase "they should have known better" is a tacit admission of moral defeatism, like it's the victim's fault because someone else is a thieving scumbag.

Sadly, even the police have that philosophy here in the UK.


Riot Kitty said...

That is so sweet of you to replace them! My husband has explained the tool thing to me - I still don't get it why people steal.

robin andrea said...

I am so sorry your nephew had his precious tools taken from him. A terrible lesson in today's world. You are the perfect uncle, though, so he learns that other lesson too. The one about good deeds and kindness. That one will last a lifetime.

ryssee said...

That is so maddening-especially since he was asked to leave access to them!
Replacing them is no small task either. You and Dottie are wonderful for putting in the legwork.
Fingers crossed - he sounds like a great employee and smart too, so I have no doubt he'll land right back on his feet soon.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your nephew's tools. It's sad that people will stoop that low to steel tools.

My dad was a fix it man for a power plant and he inscribed all his tools with his nick name "Robbie". I inherited many of those tools and every now and then when fixing something I see his name and I know he is still with me helping me along.

JLee said...

That is very sad and I hope this is only a new door opening for him...nice guys deserve something better!

Teresa said...

Wasn't that FOD tape the Navy had on the tools? Something I had forgotten about til now.

alan said...

Yep, Teresa, something bright and shiny to hopefully catch an eye before the blades went flying like shrapnel!


Calamity Jen said...

What a shame. How kind of you to help out, though -- like Robin Andrea wrote, that's a positive lesson.

Dru Marland said...

Blah. I kept having tools disappear from my toolbag at P&O Ferries. One of the less obvious sorts of discrimination. some tools I'd had for a long time and was quite attached to. Even engraved with my name... it's a shame we sometimes have to learn the hard way that some folk are finks.

von Krankipantzen said...

And the other sad part is if you say no to a request to borrow a tool you look like an asshole. Lose/lose situation. What a shame.

Dr. Deb said...

Sad when those experiences jade us.

Ms.LizzyBeth said...

Ah yeah, factory life, I remember it well and that makes me wonder why I want to get back into it (damn useful money). I always kept my toolbox locked and hated that people could be so untrustworthy, but considering the couple thousand dollars of tools I own I had to always play it safe. I know you remember how paranoid I was getting about recovering my toolbox from the factory when I got laid off, terrified that they would decide I took too long and cut the lock and sell my stuff. Had I taken a few weeks longer to pick it up I have no doubts all my tools would have been gone. It is a much darker and scarier world than it use to be and sometimes it worries me that I am able to survive so well within it. The good guys of yesteryear are fading away and it is sad that the "good" ones have people like this half-demoness as replacements. Still better off with a devil you know like me than the monsters I have to keep an eye on and try to keep in line for the rest of y'all.

No_Newz said...

Poor guy. I'm glad he has you.

Anji said...

I'm not sure wherether my dad would be nodding or shaking his head there. They take a lifetime to 'collect'. He loved his tools and when I left home he begrudgingly gave me one or two. I still have the pincers and they go straight back into the tool box whenever they are used.

If your nephew had asked for them back from the ones that borrowed they'd have made him feel mean and untrusting.

What a good Uncle you are!

Green tea said...

My Hubba was always lending his tools or garden supplies out.
Different though leaving your tool box unlocked.
Was it possible for him to take it home with him every night?
I remember those good old days when you never had to lock your doors.
I grew up within walking distance from a State Mental Hospital.
We had many strangers walking by our house but never worried about any of them.
Today you can't even lleave your garage door open.
Sad isn't it..
Your a "Good Guy" Alan

CrackerLilo said...

Now how did I miss this?!?! You are definitely one of the people who balances out the bad in the world, that's for sure. I hate a tool thief. (My father and grandfather were mechanics.)

I always have good pens, and actually developed a habit of sucking on them and leaving toothmarks so nobody'd steal them anymore! Unfortunately, not such a good idea for tools.