The Day That Silenced Everyone

, , , , , , | Right | September 11, 2019

(In September 2001, I am on vacation. While I’m there, my boss suffers a massive heart attack and has to be placed in a medically-induced coma. I return home from vacation late on the evening of 10 September and go into work the next morning needing to handle the small company myself. Of course, the day ends up being one of the worst in US history. Several of our clients and vendors are in New York City, and my boss was still comatose. To top it off, we import a significant portion of our product from Scandinavia, which is then held in Customs during the Anthrax scare a week following 9/11. Most of our clients are understanding, but I have variations of this conversation multiple times a day — including with the owner.)

Client: “Why isn’t my [product] here yet?”

Me: “As you know, [product] is shipped from Scandinavia—“

Client: “So?”

Me: “Currently all shipping containers are being held at Port Authority—“

Client: “What?! Why? I need it!”

Me: “Due to recent events, everything is being secured—“

Client: “Well, what the h*** are they even doing?”

Me: “Checking for explosives and/or Anthrax.”

Client: “I want to talk to [Boss]!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but [Boss] is currently unavailable due to a medical emergency—“

Client: “When will he be back?”

Me: “At this point, I am unable to say.”

Client: “…”

Me: “…”

Client: “…”

Me: “I will email you as soon as your [product] clears customs and is in route.”

(When my boss woke up six weeks later, we had to explain to him how the world had literally changed, which caused a second heart attack. I ended up running that small company for the next four months, and then quit once my boss was back and recovered.)

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