Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outgoing (05/05/11)
- TITLE: Outgoing Male
By Tim Pickl
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“Excuse me, what’s the big hurry?”
I almost walked over that person—I wish they’d get outta my way. Arrrrgh! Why is the Mail Room buried in the basement in this crazy place?
I exited the elevator almost in a sprint and spotted the aging sign:
The sign was an older late 1980s style—black lettering on a white-painted plywood background. Two arrows pointed to two separate slots in the door. Above the arrows were inscribed two simple, yet profound mailroom words:
I got to the mailroom door, and peaked through the Incoming mail slot. Inside, I spotted the mail clerk, who was busy weighing and sorting the day’s mail. He was a curious, eccentric sort of man—balding Caucasian around 50-years-old.
As always is the case, I was in a supreme hurry.
“Hey!” The clerk didn’t respond. Apparently he didn’t hear me.
I pounded on the door.
The clerk jumped up and scooted over to the door, bent down and spoke through the outgoing mail slot. “How may I help you, sir?”
I don’t have time for this.
I shoved an envelope into the slot and loudly ordered, “Make sure this gets sent overnight!”
“Sir, you put this into the Incoming slot.”
“Incoming, outgoing, whatever! Just get it there first thing in the morning. Good bye.”
“Yes sir, and thank you sir.”
As I spun around my Blackberry was vibrating with an incoming call. As I reached for it, the mail clerk simply added, “God bless you.”
That was strange, I thought. It wasn’t so much what he said, but how he said it.
I grabbed my Blackberry and pressed the answer button. “Yeah Bobby, what’s up?”
“We’ve got delays on the production line. Our main supplier has an outgoing truck problem—mechanical issues.”
“Mechanical issues, huh? We need to get this done. Rent some trucks. Borrow some trucks. Whatever we have to do! Take away all their excuses!!!”
“Yes sir, I’ll work on it right away.”
“Thanks Bobby. I’ll give you a buzz after my meeting tonight to see how it’s goin’.”
This time I rode the elevator up to the secured top floor, which required swiping my employee badge over a sensor. The entire top floor is reserved for executives and the Board of Directors. It has its own banquet room, with a full service kitchen and wait staff.
I ambled into the banquet room. Later that evening, we were throwing a "Thanks for Giving" dinner for the outgoing members of the Board of Directors, and the room was already decorated for the event.
“Wow, this is very nice.”
Rudy, the Executive Kitchen Manager called out to me. “Eh, Tomás!”
“Hey Rudy! I like what you’ve done here.”
“So… you like?”
“Yes. I like it! I love the Thanks for Giving sign on the back wall.”
“And we are going with the traditional Thanksgiving theme for food selections.”
“Ha! From your staff? That’ll be awesome.”
At that moment, we were interrupted by a light tapping on one of the French glass wood doors at the banquet hall’s main entrance. I turned to look and it was the Outgoing Mail Clerk.
“Excuse me, sir—”
“How did you get up here? Who gave you clearance?”
Rudy offered an explanation. “Tomás, Tomás… he comes up here every morning and every night, long before you are here and long after you are gone to pick up and deliver the mail.”
“Okay, okay... What’s up?”
“I just noticed that the envelope you brought down was empty, sir.” Feebly, the clerk handed the envelope back to me.
“Oh, no… I must be losing my mind. We have this project due by Monday and I needed to get this in the outgoing mail A.S.A.P….”
“I can help you sir.”
“I have friends down at the Post Office. If we go there, we can get it out tonight.”
“I have a better idea: walk with me to my office—I’m sure the letter is still on my printer. We’ll take my car.”
After the ride back, the outgoing mail clerk stopped me and said, “Thanks for giving me a job.”
“No sir, thank you for all you do…”
Then, I added, “Hey, why don’t you come to the dinner tonight?”
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