What are we doing?

Tonight I was chatting with a young man at a gas station convenience store.  It turns out that he works there from 5PM – 11PM then goes home for a short while before heading to his next job working at FedEx from 3AM – 8AM.  I know he is not that unusual, in the amount of effort he has to put into piecing together several jobs in order to create a “full-time job”.  

Probably, though I did not ask him, he doesn’t have any medical insurance from either part time job.  He also has to spend a considerable amount of time just going to work at two different places.  That also makes it more expensive to actually work.

The story is not new, nor unusual, yet it is still a darn shame that we do this to people.  Our society seems to think people like that are expendable, just flesh and bone to serve the more wealthy and better off.  

Why should this country that has incredible excessive wealth and insane waste, even with the recent down turn in the economy we are still much better off than many.  Why have we created or allowed to be created such a system that would make it necessary for people to piece together low wage, under-benefited jobs to just be able to make ends meet?  

If you consider how hard this person has to work just to work, how hard many people have to work just to work, we are not talking about lazy people.  This is not a person with low initiative, or drive.  

It just doesn’t seem like we are doing anything to make those kinds of situations the exception rather than the rule under which many many people operate under.

And then we as consumers, users of their services and products treat these people when we interact, as if they don’t exist, or exist only for our scorn or anger when our mood swings.  We don’t stop to consider that it is a caring, feeling human being who is standing on the other side of the counter.  We don’t consider that just maybe they are more hard working than we are.  We don’t stop to consider how many people they see every day who don’t give a damn about them.  And still they have to endure it and somehow we expect them to smile and be polite, even if we aren’t to them.

Perhaps, if we can’t fix the problem of the way corporations treat their employees, at least we can start being nice to these people who perform services for us.  Maybe we can be nice, even if they aren’t nice to us.  Can you give the gift of appreciation and respect, with no expectation of it being returned?

Can we start treating each other with respect and compassion?  I hope so.

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