If you prefer to watch a video, I didn’t do one for this post. Sorry.
For three years I have been an annual pass holder for a really enjoyable activity at the Brevard Zoo called Tree Top Trek. It is a series of fun obstacles that are set up in the tree tops some 20-40 feet above the ground, with zip lines throughout it. I have been going two to three times a week for the past year and a half (since I retired) and just about all the staff, composed mostly of college-aged kids, know me.
I have had friendly conversation with all of them, and even on one occasion enjoyed a hug with one of the women. They have all been friendly and we have exchanged jokes. It has been very enjoyable for me to go, not just for the good workout I get but also for the camaraderie with these young people. No one ever told me that I was doing anything wrong.
A week or so ago I received a phone call from the woman who manages Tree Top Trek telling me that she has just now been advised that over the past few months 4 of the staff have written complaints about me being unsafe and making improper gestures (whatever that means), and after reviewing this with her senior staff they have decided to terminate my pass and refund me a pro-rated amount of the cost of my annual pass.
I told her I was shocked to hear about this, and never did or said anything to anyone to purposefully hurt or upset them. I said I have always tried to be friendly and don’t have any idea of what she is talking about. No one ever said I upset them, no one ever told me I am in violation of safety rules and if I continue I will be evicted, and no one ever told me I was doing something inappropriate. There are always senior staff members and a manager on site, so if anyone had a problem (I asked her) why didn’t anyone say anything to me? I assured her if I had been made aware of any of these allegations I would have immediately apologized and made correction to my behavior.
I also asked if she would tell me who said what, and her reply was that “for legal reasons” she would need to check if she could do that. Legal reasons? What laws, either municipal, state or federal, would prevent her from telling me what I was alleged to be doing wrong? Especially if those things got me kicked off their property!
I have had similar experiences during my 40+ years in the corporate world, both personally and hearing about others. This country has a Constitution that, under the 14th Amendment, guarantees everyone equal treatment under the law, and under the 6th Amendment (Confrontation Clause) states all people have a right to face their accuser. It has come to the point today where these two foundation stones of a free republic are ignored by the corporate world. I was subjected to a Witch Hunt and found guilty in a Kangaroo Court, which resulted in being persecuted for actions that I didn’t even know I was doing.
If I had done something wrong, I certainly would have corrected it. The first time anyone does something wrong it is their responsibility to correct that action, but how can they if they don’t know about it? Isn’t it only fair to say, “When I first did that it was my fault. But, because you never told me about it, when I kept doing it that was your fault.”?
The system of law we have has always been based upon the premise that one is innocent until proven guilty. Not any more. Today the way it works is that the first one to complain, wins.
I was told they investigated the claims against me, yet how can you investigate something when the accused hasn’t been part of that investigation? It is really sad that these people believe what they are doing is right- their idea of investigating a claim against someone is to ask everybody if that person has ever done anything wrong. Then they collect their accusations and decide what to do. The accused has no input to this at all. If this had been a jury trial, it would have been one where the prosecutor makes the case and presents witnesses against the defendant, but the defendant and the defense lawyer aren’t present, don’t get to hear the prosecutions case and are not allowed to rebut the witnesses.
The bible tells us what to do when someone sins. It is found in Matthew 18:15-17:
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
I do not expect everyone to do what the bible says we should do- that is a fact established by human history. But our laws are based on what we are told in Matthew 18, and if corporate America ignores these basic tenets of interpersonal relationships, then what happens to justice? We read the news and watch “cop” shows which include court cases all the time. But we aren’t experiencing it in our everyday lives. What we do experience is what happens to us daily, which for most people is what happens at work.
And what happens at work is that when someone complains about someone else, the alleged person is wrong from the git-go. That person never even gets a chance to explain or amend their behavior before they are either written up or fired. And when they ask why they were never told, it is almost always because the other person was too shy, or too afraid, or too upset to tell them. In other words, because the “wronged” person has a problem with being honest with others, you are the one who has to pay for it.
This also reflects poorly on the manager who clearly hasn’t created an atmosphere of trust that would allow the shy and emotionally immature person to come to the manager so that the “bad” behavior could be amended.
I did something wrong, at one time or another, and was never told about it. I was then accused of doing wrong constantly for months on end. Why it took so long for the Manager to find out I can’t say, but when she did she summarily “fired” me. No warning, no probation, no opportunity to apologize and make it right. So what happens? I am upset, embarrassed and mortified, and the person(s) who felt I had wronged them never get closure, other than some feeling of revenge. The bible says the Lord shall avenge, but, well…since they don’t care about what God says we should do when someone wrongs us, why should they care about leaving revenge to God? Or for that matter, anything else God says about how to treat each other.
I am venting a little, yes, but I am not seeking pity from you or justice from them- there is no justice in the corporate world. I am also not “crying” about being treated unfairly, which I was, but am using my experience to show that we all need to steel ourselves against the unfair and sinful way people treat each other, which is now not just condoned, but encouraged by those who are in positions of authority in both the corporate and political arenas.
The way we learn about interpersonal relations outside of our own family starts in school and continues at the work place. Most people spend 2/3 of their life in “Corporate America” so what they see and hear in the workplace is how they believe they should act. And because of how corporations are today, how people believe they should act has nothing to do with the bible or the bible’s form of justice. And when justice doesn’t exist anymore at the work place it will soon disappear from the country completely.
First we threw God out of the American justice system, and now we have also thrown out Lady Justice. Her replacement wears no blindfold, has no scale and holds the sword over her head, ready to come down on whomever is brought before her.
The worst part of this entire debacle is that I am ashamed because I know that anything I may have done that was considered inappropriate or wrong will reflect poorly on God and other Believers, for many at Tree Top Trek know I am a God-fearing man. That is how it is with people: if you say you are God-fearing they expect you to be as perfect as Yeshua was, and when you do anything that isn’t “saintly” they automatically say worshiping God is useless because you sinned. I was treated unfairly and persecuted unjustly, but the result will be some people there will think worshiping God is useless because Steve said he worshiped God and was a Minister, and look at what he did.
That is what hurts me more than anything else- I dishonored God.