Monday, October 2, 2017

A LONG DAY OF MOURNING

Today. October 2nd, is already a day of mourning on my annual calendar.  Today would have been my son Michael's 30th birthday. Today I light a candle for him. We lost him on Father's day 2005.  Happy Birthday, my son. I love you and know you are with me always. 

It is, though, a double day of mourning in the wake of the horrendous (not a strong enough word) events that unfolded here in the city I love, Las Vegas. I won't go into the whole story, because everyone knows what happened.  My Wife Nikki and I were sitting at home. We had just finished watching Walk The Line, and my phone started beeping.  Having been a 911 dispatcher in one of my past work incarnations, I have a police scanner app on my phone. It alerted me that 40,000 people were listening to the scanner.  That's a lot. Flipped it on along with the TV to see the events unfolding. Listening in real time to the officers and the dispatchers. The strike teams and SWAT teams. The amazing coordination of our law enforcement and support agencies.  They came in amidst total pandamonium and took control. They quickly located the shooter and confirmed he was dead.  It was amazing to hear in real time. We knew details long before the news channels reported.  

I woke up this morning to many e mails and texts asking about my welfare.  I did a show at Caesar's Palace the night before and was invited to come to the concert last night. I declined.  I like to spend Sunday night with my son and my wife. Which I did.  I, as a spectator do not like large crowds unless I am performing for them. We realize last night that no one is safe from a madman.  The entertainers had a hard time realizing what was happening, because on stage, it's loud and hard to hear.  I have been on many stages this size, and seeing the video, praise the people who cleared the stage in the short precious time they did.  

This could have been much much worse. As we listened to the scanner, there were reports of shots fired at Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, Tropicana, Flamingo, New York New York and the Paris. 
My first thought was that it was a coordinated terrorist attack. Thank god the shots fired reports at the other properties were unfounded. One gunman. This time.  Face it...Las Vegas is a target. We are very vigilant in our security in this town. There are thousands of cameras in every hotel / casino here and many sharp trained eyes that are watching everything you do.  How did this guy get all these guns up. Suitcase? Golf Bag? Something that security didn't catch.  I see a future where we will have to run bags through a scanner at check in like at the airport. But even then, unlike the airport, we have free range at hotels.  All this is yet to be revealed. 

For now, today, this moment, I mourn the loss of my son Michael, and pray for the well being of all the surviving victims of last nights shooting, and pray God's Speed to Heaven for the ones who did not make it.  Bravo to all the first responders, and the brave every day citizens who kept themselves in harm's way to help others who were hurt. Last night they were all just people helping each other.  Humanity can come together and be one force for good. 

Take a moment of silence for the departed and Good night and God Bless

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Yellow Shirt...............

Gildan G94800 - Dryblend Adult Pique Sport Shirt - Green - SI work, as you may know, at Jim Marsh Kia in Las Vegas (plug plug). We have a variety of polo shirts that we wear, including White, Red and YELLOW.  We are only required to wear the YELLOW shirt on Saturdays.  Now, when I say yellow, I am not referring to a light canary, or even a mustard, or traffic light speed up to get through the intersection yellow. I am talking full blown, neon, glow in the darkness of space, stop traffic, blinding highlighter YELLOW. Even Yellower than that!

When there are fifteen of us gathered for our saturday sales meeting, we brighten up the room, and believe me, it's not because of our sparkling personalities. It is, the YELLOW shirts. 

When we got the yellow shirts, there was much grumbling. jokes about removing stains with a highlighter, radioactive references, and of course, the whole, 'We look like security guards'  narrative. 
(If you have ever been to Vegas, you know that all the security officers in the casino hotels wear bright yellow shirts. .... but, I dare say, not THIS YELLOW).  That being said, I really kinda like the shirts. We were all required to purchase 1 of the shirts. I purchased 3, because I like YELLOW.  I would wear the shirt every day, and actually wear it a couple times a week, prepared for the yellow shaming from my friends,  all in fun. I have even seen a few of them wearing the shirt when not required. ?  It works with my skin tone. 

Every so often on a Saturday, a customer will be on the lot, and out of professional courtesy, I will ask them if they have been helped.  "Oh, yes", they will say.  "The guy in the YELLOW shirt is finding a car for us".... Much like the man in the bowler hat in The Thomas Crown Affair.  Yes, very helpful.

Soooooo, yesterday, being a Saturday, YELLOW shirt day, my day ended by me having to pick a customer up at McCarren airport.  He was flying in to drive his new Kia from Jim Marsh Kia (plug plug) back to L.A.  So, being the extreme customer service kinda guy that I am, I drove the 40 minutes to the airport, dealing with flight delays and the whole bit (his flight was delayed over an hour) and waited patiently for him in the baggage claim area to arrive.  I did inform him that I would be in the brightest YELLOW shirt I believe he has ever seen, or indeed will ever see again. 

The flight board informed me that I had about a 25 minute wait until his flight arrived. So, there I stood, playing words with friends, and candy crush peacefully minding my own business when out of the blue, it began.

A weary disheveled traveler walked up and asked me where to go for lost luggage.  I informed him that I do not work there, and I am sorry, I have no clue.  He then read my shirt: the bold red letters above the left pocket saying Jim Marsh Kia (plug, plug), shook his head and walked away.  Within  30 seconds, a  young couple in party mode (there was no doubt), walked up to me with alcohol induced increased speaking volume, demanded I take them to the shuttle for the Flamingo hotel and casino.  I smiled and said, I don't work here.  They, in no uncertain terms, informed me that I should not be wearing a F****** YELLOW shirt.  They then proceeded to stumble up to a Limo driver, also waiting for his customer and yelled at him, for probably wearing a funny limo guy hat.  I just shook my head, made a remark to him about tourists, and continued my vigil. 

Within another minute, a somewhat looking confused gentleman with his cap on sideways and 46 pounds of gold chains proceeded to ask me, quite forcefully to show him where the international terminal was.  I told him, I wished I could help, but I don't work here.  He paused a moment, and said, "Hey, I was just askin'...do you know where it is?" I told him no, and he walk off in a huff. 

Now, I have been at the baggage claim all of about 7 minutes and have guided people to the rest room, shuttle busses, and baggage carousel 12.  Hmmm, maybe it is time to hide. So, I took a post behind the ATM in the corner.  Alas, the radiance of the YELLOW shirt is not easily dimmed.  More people, more directions, more "Sorry, I don't work here."  

I looked up. Another man headed toward me. My initial thought was to kick him square in the...."Hey, Ron....we made it...."  It was my customer. I hurried him and his girlfriend out of the baggage claim into the safety of my car, and drove to where the paperwork was signed. Delivered the car and put a cap on the night.  

On the way home, I stopped at the Casino to pop in to see who won the fight. As I peered at the board, happy in knowing I had accomplished my mission with my customer, Someone tapped me on the shoulder.  I turned around to face a nice older gentleman. "Excuse me," he said, "Do you work here?"