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Make It Work If You’re Not A Jerk

, , | Right | August 16, 2021

I am eighteen and have been working at my city’s bicycle parking for two years, so I know the rules and have learned to speak to people. After 10:00 pm on special nights (park concerts), we tend to have just one person present with the cash in the safe, because hardly anyone parks their bike after that time. Also, we tag bicycles with a piece of numbered paper and give one part to the owner to identify the bike when leaving.

Tonight, just after my coworker leaves, a man comes in and walks to his bike to unlock it. He then approaches me.

Customer: *Aggressively* “I lost my number, but I am still taking my bike with me.”

I am immediately done with his hostile attitude, and I feel brave. Yes, I saw him take the key from his pocket, but if he had simply come to me first, I would have walked with him and he’d have been on his way.

Me: “Sir, without your number, you cannot prove this is your bike.”

Customer: “But I just unlocked it.”

Me: “I could not see that to verify. You could have just come in and selected a bike that someone forgot to lock. If you knew your number was missing, why did you not come to me?”

Customer: “Listen here, you little piece of s***. I am leaving with my bike and you will let me.”

Me: “Then I will call for those cops and they will detain you to figure it out.”

There are cops present for the concert, having a good vantage point over the park from there.

Customer: “I want to talk to your boss.”

My boss is the city council member for traffic. He’s a good boss and I am allowed to call him, even this late. I call him and tell him what’s up, and then I hand over the phone.

He begins a tirade, insulting me, including a threat to knock me out. Then, my boss replies and the guy quickly goes quiet. He hands me back the phone, parks the bike, locks it, and hands me the key.

Me: “Boss, what did you tell him?”

Boss: “That if he uttered one more word, I would get him picked up for threatening a government employee.”

Me: “But I work through a temp agency.”

Boss: “You know that, and I know that, but he doesn’t.”

I wished him a good night and enjoyed the music from a chair in front of my little office. At 1:00 am, just before l locked up, the man returned. His bike was the last one left, as my boss instructed and I would have told him, had I had the chance. I handed him his key and wished him a good night with a smile.

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