- Politics and Social Issues
Medical Transport Driver; Part 2 - Accusations!
Sexual Harassment? Me?
I had been warned by my boss not to get too friendly with the clientele. He said that some of the clients may seem like normal people but sometimes they are not quite what they seem. I think he told me this because he sensed my trusting nature. I take people at face value and allow them to destroy their image in my mind before I make any unfair judgments. That was how I was raised. To never judge a book by its cover and that all people were the same regardless of their differences.
I quickly learned that it didn't matter if I was friendly or not.
My first experience with being accused of sexual harassment occurred not because I actually did anything but because a client's third world husband was threatened by my American good looks.
I got the call one Saturday from my boss who asked if I had talked to a particular client during her trip. Let's call her Marilyn, like the last one. When I had picked her up from her apartment i could see a gentleman staring down from their picture window. She got in the front seat, not something I was comfortable with but I didn't argue. Some people prefer the front seat. She had never met me before and I was new to the job and I was just getting to understand the mannerisms of the folks I was picking up.
At the time i did not understand why a woman would jump in the front seat of her transportation vehicle when the back seats were empty. She didn't know me but she began talking immediately and incessantly. I was instantly bowled over by the avalanche that was coming out of her mouth. Trying to be polite I nodded and answered when it seemed expected and at one point I asked if she was married.
Why did I ask if she was married? Because her one way conversation up until this point was about her angry, jealous and abusive man. She had not mentioned if they were married to that point, I was just trying to clarify. For the next half hour she talked and talked and I talked when given a chance and I found Marilyn to be a really nice girl. I dropped her off and thought I had done well.
Turns out her third world husband felt threatened by me and that night they argued and fought violently! He wanted her never to get a ride from Transportation again but she needed the ride. So, they came up with a compromise. She called my boss and told him I sexually harassed her, using things I had said out of context and making up the rest.
I had thought he was joking with me. My girlfriend asked me what was so funny and i told her. Still convinced this was a joke, but it was not. I literally had to explain the whole trip and how she blind sided me with unwanted information and how her husband stared angrily down at me when i was picking her up. For a while she persisted but eventually she relented and even apologized and explained the true reasoning behind her explanations.
Now i understood. Now I recognized how easy it was for a woman to cry wolf. How quick people are to judge against a man simply out of instinct. Things could have gotten a lot uglier than that but I am grateful it never did. Eventually I picked that same girl up again and we always talked, at least she did, and we never bothered with the issue again. Soon enough I even met her sniveling, third world husband and found him to be meek and unassuming, not at all what her descriptions of him had been. Her credibility already in question I endeavored not to take her word on anything in general after that point. Understanding your foe is half the battle.
The next event was fairly similar. There was a young lady we took to her psychologist appointments. She was very forward and talkative. Again, i am none of these things. If you do not talk to me you may never hear me speak, that's just how I am. I keep my own counsel.
This time though I would be hard pressed to deny my attraction. She was very intelligent, artistically talented and lovely and every trip I spent with her brightened my day. Apparently we were getting too friendly. One weekend she called my boss crying, frantically explaining that I was repeatedly asking her out and sexually harassing her. This was not the case. I was still with my girlfriend at the time, we were not separated during this, and therefore I had not asked her out or anything of the like.
It was only a couple months later that she called back begging to be taken by our company again. She explained to my boss that she had said those things only because her boyfriend didn't want her to get in the car with me again. He was worried I was going to steal his girl! She explained that she wanted to apologize to me personally, and that she was rid of the boyfriend. My boss didn't like the sound of this and said so. He did not take her back as a client and let me know that once again my name was cleared.
She is gone now, so I will say no more, R.I.P.
This saddens me a great deal. I wish she would have talked to me and let me know what she was going through. But I guess if I had known she was being treated poorly anything I would have done might have only made things worse for her. My father raised me with some very strong guidelines. You never strike a woman and if you ever see a woman being mistreated you have to be the real man and step in. "Only a man can save a woman from another man, son, and you do what you have to do!" He said. I have taken these words seriously and thus have looked harshly upon my fellow man. I have stepped in when the occasion has presented itself but most often my demeanor alone is enough to warn fools of their looming humiliation at my hands.
Here is another event that I cannot fully explain.
I picked a young lady up from the rehab she had been confined to for the past six months. I had never met her before so I was my usual quiet self. She got in the back seat and I was relieved since it was going to be a four hour trip to get her home. I much preferred the radio to a stranger's personal bussiness, especially one who just got out of a drug rehab. Call me crazy!
The entire time she did nothing but what I assumed was sleep in the back seat. I dropped her off and she was very short with me, angry almost. I didn't understand this at all but women can be moody so I swiftly forgot about it and went on with my day.
My boss got a call not long later from this young lady or someone related to her. They explained that I had sexually harrassed the girl on the way home during our four hour ride home. He called me explaining and I laughed out loud at this one. This time I didn't even say a word to the girl. No conversation or anything. Then it dawned on me. Was she planning on a lawsuit and by facing her ass to me the entire way was she trying to entice me into doing something stupid? Was that why she seemed so angry when she got out of the car?
I don't know. I can't say for sure. I can only shrug my shoulders and push on so that's what i did. I always presented myself as a professional. I always acted like the perfect gentleman. After fifteen years you get to know people you see week in and week out. Many of my clients I came to see as friends. Even removed from the job by 18 months I can say that I will never forget many those people and the impact they had on my daily life.
As a final comment I would like to say this. If I was counting, and I was not, the number of times I was sexually harassed by clients in fifteen years it would number more than a dozen. I rarely mentioned these events to anyone because I did not want to embarrass our clients and I did not want my better half to know I was being hit on constantly. I loved Jeannie desperately and the last thing I wanted was for her to become suspicious of me. I remained loyal no matter what was dangled, or flashed, in front of my face.
Part three of my stories will be coming soon. Here is a preview...
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