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We Are All Valuable

So many people get offended these days. Wearing one’s feelings on one’s sleeve is the popular thing to do I guess. Like most of you though, I don’t get too excited about people making assumptions about me. In the past year, I’ve been a bell man, a car valet, a Walmart associate, a ski guide, a police officer, a court bailiff, a Lowe’s associate, and a shuttle driver. All very noble professions and worthy of my time. However, each time I was assumed to be one of the above, the person making that assumption was wrong. Each time it was an honest mistake. The person making that assumption meant no ill will toward me. Each time I was not offended. Where possible, I offered my advice or helping hand to the person. It doesn’t bother me to help the lady at Walmart get something off the top shelf. When a tip was offered, I decline it.

lots of people occupationsOne evening, my friend Ady called me. She owns Hong Kong Express, a Chinese takeout/delivery restaurant, and was looking for some fill-in drivers as a couple of her drivers were sick. She wanted recommendations for young men to do the job, but on a Saturday evening, good luck with that. My wife, daughter and I substituted as drivers that night. It was actually fun. When offered a tip, I declined and asked them to simply pay it forward next time they had a chance. Nothing wrong about being a delivery driver, it’s paid the rent, car payment, tuition and food bill for many a driver.

You’ve got to figure I’m getting to a point, so here it is. There are no demeaning professions, occupations, jobs or vocations. Everyone has a skill, an aptitude or a gift they can bring to society. Can’t drive? Stuck at home? Work for a suicide hotline, unless you are an emotional cripple, then maybe not. Work the phones for a volunteer organization. Do something!

I’ve made the mistake, from which I’m reformed, of telling my kids that if you don’t get your education, you’ll end up working at McDonalds. The McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc did a pretty good business when you think about it. The McDonald’s manager is applying skills every day that the electeds in Washington could sure learn from. That burger flipper? He’s working his way through school, with circumstances that might seem pretty tough to some, but he perseveres. The young lady working the counter? She’s learning skills that can guide her for life. The local fast food restaurant pumps lots of money into the economy through property and ad valorem taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes, wages and advertising.

Two things that irritate me though. When young men come to court and can’t (won’t?) pay their child support because (fill in a reason). Oh, they’ve got excuses. But what is coming out of their mouth is just that, an excuse. Courts have little sympathy for not paying child support, which is good. What to do with them? Harder yet.

The other thing that irritates me is when a cashier can’t make change. Each one of my kids knows the exact amount of change that they are due when making a purchase. My dad taught me, I taught my kids. We have become so dependent on the machine that when it fails, too many of us are lost as to what to do next. That being said, I used to know everyone’s telephone number, but no more. I don’t even know my license plate numbers anymore. Use it or lose it, I guess.

Kelly Burke, master attorney, former district attorney and magistrate judge, is engaged in private practice. He writes about the law, rock’n’roll and politics. These articles are not designed to give legal advice, but are designed to inform the public about how the law affects their daily lives. Contact Kelly at kelly@burkelasseterllc.com to comment on this article or suggest articles that you’d like to see.

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