This Lesson Really Bites

, , , , , , , , | Working | June 10, 2021

I have submitted a few stories about my father-in-law, including this one. My father-in-law is a pretty smart man, especially when it comes to anything construction, and the company he has worked with for several decades really values him.

This story happened back in the early 1970s when he was much younger and my father-in-law would never dream about doing this now.

He was on a job site near a swamp where an alligator was hanging out. My father-in-law always had pets of all kinds and loved to feed anything that came near him. He would bring extra lunch and raw chicken for this almost two-foot-long alligator. This alligator was the darling of the crew and everyone really loved seeing him.

Also on this job site was a thief. My father-in-law would gladly lend out his expensive tools or even give them away to those who really needed them. Apparently, someone on the job site decided to just break into his truck and take the tools without asking and never returned them. My father-in-law bought a new lock and later came back to the truck to find it broken off and another expensive tool gone. This really ticked him off, so he decided to make sure that thief never did it again.

First, my father-in-law backed his truck up in front of a briar patch — very prickly thorny bushes that you don’t want to get into. Next, he went and found the alligator, put him in the back of his truck along with some chicken, and then closed the door.

It took but two hours before the crew heard yelling and screaming from the parking area. They came running and found a very scared and scratched-up man in the bushes and an angry alligator coming out of the back of the truck. The alligator walked back to the swamp, hissing at the thief along the way. The thief, knowing he got caught and looking quite ashamed of himself, went off to get some bandaids for his scratches. There was never any talk about it, but nothing was ever stolen again from anyone on the site.

The alligator still came up to my father-in-law every day at lunchtime waiting to be fed and eventually brought along some friends. My father-in-law said the hardest part about finishing that job was saying goodbye to his “friends.” Every time he was in the area, even decades later, he would stop by that part of the swamp and feed the alligators there. He would actually sit on the bank next to them and they didn’t react at all. There was one that he swore was his old friend that was eight feet long the last time he saw it.

Related:
This Lesson Really Stings, Part 3
This Lesson Really Stings, Part 2
This Lesson Really Stings

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