I was raised in a home where bigoted and prejudicial views were absolutely not tolerated. My parents always reached out to others of every race and creed, and treated all people the way they themselves wished to be treated. In 1972 I asked God to forgive me of my sins and invited Jesus Christ into my heart, an action that served to further solidify, magnify and engrave those parental teachings forever upon my very nature.
By 1978 I was a nine-year veteran of police work. I was good at my job and had a reputation of being firm but fair in my role as an enforcer of the law, adhering to the ideals of my childhood and showing respect for all human kind. I had been active in many different phases of police service and had some experience dealing with nearly every nationality, creed and race within our community. Yet despite my success as a police officer, I found myself growing increasingly disenchanted with my chosen career.
Two years earlier I competed for and won a new, administrative position as Crime Prevention and Community Relations Officer, then transferred out of the criminalistics section (a change I later came to regret) to “head up” that new section of the police department. I pioneered the infancy of the CP & CR section in the researching and targeting of criminal activity. I developed and coordinated public participation programs, authored informational booklets, and did all public speaking at CP programs and PR appearances on behalf of the department. I guess the totality of it all must have had me "burned out", because after a couple of years in that capacity, I now felt that I had reached the end of my imagination for this new section and run out of anything innovative or stimulating to bring to the plate. Part of my disgruntlement stemmed from the fact that I was stalemated in rank, and felt that CP & CR needed a officer with rank above patrolman to be it's administrator. Both the Public Safety Director and Chief of Police who had appointed me had since resigned and retired, and a new pilot was now at the helm, a man with whom I shared a somewhat strained relationship. With his promotion to Chief, I began to seriously consider resigning to seek employment somewhere in the private sector.
One night at a social party, I made acquaintance with a man of position with the United Parcel Service in Omaha. I spoke with him in some length regarding my professional quandary, and he invited me to make application with UPS for employment. He told me that there were positions opening for "drivers" and gave me his assurance that he would personally have a voice in the screening of any new applicants.
Within the next couple of days, I drove to the United Parcel Service in Omaha, filled out a job application and was told to return in two days for an interview. Upon my return for the interview, I was indeed encouraged to find that it was conducted by my acquaintance from the party. The interview with him went well as expected, and afterward he told me I would be getting a phone call later in the week with future instructions.
The following Wednesday, I received the anticipated phone call from the UPS office, telling me to report for "orientation" at 8:00 AM on Monday. Since the UPS caller did not tell me exactly that I had the job, but rather only to report for "orientation" I was still unsure if I had been hired. I then telephoned two separate friends who worked as drivers for this company and asked each of them what they thought, both men told me that "orientation" indicated I had been hired and would officially be beginning employment. With this information in mind, believing I would be starting with UPS the next Monday, I wrote and hand delivered my written resignation to the Chief of Police the very next day.
Monday morning, I drove to the UPS office in Omaha to report for orientation. To my dismay, I was directed back into the same interview room where I had been less than a week before and told that I needed to be further interviewed regarding my application for employment.
Soon the door opened and a large African/American man entered the room and sat opposite me at the table. He did not introduce himself or extend the hand of friendship, but merely opened a manila folder. "So you want to work for UPS do you?" He said coldly with sarcasm in his voice.
"Yes sir." I replied.
"Yeah,…." He sneered. "….and you're a cop aren't you?"
"Well,….yes…" I answered, with some hesitation in my voice.
"Well!….I'll tell you right now….I hate cops! They are just the low-life of the earth, not smart enough to do anything intelligent."
I was in shock! What had I ever done to this guy that he hated me so much? I sat quiet, thinking how my Savior must have felt before Pilate, while this insane man sat across from me verbally abusing law enforcement and me. He pounded his fists on the table as he told me how he thought cops should all "be killed". Now, in the old days, before Christ came into my heart, I would have (at very least) engaged the man in argument to defend myself or law enforcement, but now I realized that sometime this man felt he had been wronged by a police officer and he was taking it out on me. His angry ravings became so ridiculously bigoted that I just spaced off everything he was saying, aware that arguing with him would only escalate the situation. After all, I was on his home turf. I was there to seek employment not an argument.
Finally the guy must have run out of insults or got short of breath, because he ended my "interview" with an abrupt and defiant… "I'm gonna see to it that you NEVER get a job with UPS….now, get the H____ out of our offices!!!"
I left there angry,….not at that man, but at myself. I had quit my police job and now found myself unemployed. I prayed hard that day. I prayed that God would protect my family from the consequences of my impulsiveness, protect my heart from harboring any bitterness or cultivating the seed of prejudice as a result of this incident and for God's help in picking up the pieces of my battered self-esteem.
I admit I still have moments to this day when I see a UPS truck that I feel a little cheated and abused, but Proverbs 20:24 assures me that God's in control of the situations in my life and it's impossible for me to understand why some things happen. My goal should be to follow after the heart of God, leave these "incidents" in His holy hands and "….lean not on my own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5). God will sort it all out.