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Railroaders' Nostalgia > The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit


Date: 12/25/23 09:10
The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: TAW

In the early 80s BN Seattle dispatchers office we had some guys who were big, excessively so, on practical jokes. I’m not a fan of them, especially at work, so I avoided them any time I could.

The General Superintendent of Transportation was a jerk on his good days. That he was less than unpopular would be an accurate description. He enjoyed catching dispatchers doing something wrong so he could give them time off or fire them. One guy got time off for two trains headlight to headlight at a holding signal on single track. There were no switches at that point, so one train would have to back to the previous siding to let the other by. The CTC machine had lined the signal on its own. The dispatcher didn’t do it. That was the day that we found out that we were responsible for mistakes the signal system made. We were supposed to monitor at all times for the system’s mistakes. The system is not supposed to make mistakes. It’s purpose was to prevent us from making mistakes, but were told that was irrelevant.

The dispatching arena was a miserable place. Seven districts working in a big room with plain brick walls, a hard laminate floor, and a concrete ceiling. It was noisy and cold. One might observe that we were not too happy working there.

The pranksters decided to take him on one Christmas.

On Thanksgiving and Christmas, BN theoretically shut down the railroad. Amtrak was still running and some local managers defied the plan and ran trains anyway, but there wasn’t much traffic. There is no shutdown for the dispatchers. We all had to be there.

There was a table in the back of the room that was used by people leaving cookies or such for the dispatchers to share. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was usually loaded with goodies, as it was on this Christmas.

We knew that he would show up to check, not on how his railroad was doing as a good GST would, but to try to catch wrongdoing. That was standard procedure.

The preparation was extensive. Dozens of beer bottles were filled with root beer and the caps crimped back onto them. Dozens of wine bottles were filled with grape juice, corked, and replica seals put on them. There were brownies, lots of brownies.

Well, Christmas morning was party time at the office. The table was loaded with goodies. There were bottles of wine and beer and a platter of brownies. Every position had open bottles on the table and empties in the trash.

When the boss walked in, there were several dispatchers at the table in the back of the room. Some were away from their position talking to someone at another position. He walked through the door and stopped dead in his tracks. The look on his face was precious.

’What the hell y’all doin’?

He walked across the room to the table in back, looked at all the bottles, the brownies, the dispatchers standing around.

’Fahrd! Y’all’s FAHRD! Y’all’s FAHRED. GET OUT!

The lead prankster walked up to him, beer bottle in one hand and an empty glass in the other. He held the glass up in front of the boss’ face and poured.

‘You need to chill. Have some of this.’

It was close enough that the boss could smell it... and the brownie he was handed.

Another prankster picked up a bottle of wine, uncorked it, poured a glass, and handed the boss some of Welch’s finest grape juice.

‘Merry Christmas.’

The boss went around the room, position to position, looking for the real stuff that was being hidden. There wasn’t any. That made him even more angry.

He stomped out of the room like a two year old throwing a tantrum.

Yup, it was a good Christmas in the BN Seattle dispatchers office.

TAW



Date: 12/25/23 09:15
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: goneon66

oh, that was good.............

66



Date: 12/25/23 09:18
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: engineerinvirginia

With three years left I feel empowered to tell worthless managers just how worthless they are....since they have one tenth the tenure, one hundredth the experience....and they know very well I probably know a little more than them, they just stand there and take it. 



Date: 12/25/23 09:19
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: Chessie

LOVE it! 



Date: 12/25/23 09:58
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: Drknow

By attrition and staying alive I’ve found myself falling into Old Headism and while I’ll never consider myself one of the REAL Old Heads, I do find myself having a little more gravitas with the minions that call themselves “Mgt”.

Constantly following their orders to there catastrophic end and then pointing out how much stupid just happened, and how any first month switchman wouldn’t have committed stupidity like that 30 years ago is something that gives me feelings of hope and joy. I’ve also found that more and more these New Leaders of Logistics leave me alone and don’t try to engage me when they come into the room, so I’ve got that going for me; which is nice.

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/25/23 10:02
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: 3rdswitch

It is actually sad that there was a super like that around. Awesome prank however. I was blessed to have great management at ALMOST every on duty point I worked in the Los Angeles area.
JB



Date: 12/25/23 10:37
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: Drknow

I’ve met more Superintendents and other assorted mgmt strata that were of like what Spatch described than not.

One guy was really a decent human. He was forced out.

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/25/23 22:11
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: roustabout

Thank you for the story, Thomas, Merry Christmas!



Date: 12/26/23 05:34
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: atsfer

Great story...thanks for sharing.



Date: 12/27/23 09:17
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: cnr6776

TAW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In the early 80s BN Seattle dispatchers office we
> had some guys who were big, excessively so, on
> practical jokes. I’m not a fan of them,
> especially at work, so I avoided them any time I
> could.
>
> The General Superintendent of Transportation was a
> jerk on his good days. That he was less than
> unpopular would be an accurate description. He
> enjoyed catching dispatchers doing something wrong
> so he could give them time off or fire them. One
> guy got time off for two trains headlight to
> headlight at a holding signal on single track.
> There were no switches at that point, so one train
> would have to back to the previous siding to let
> the other by. The CTC machine had lined the signal
> on its own. The dispatcher didn’t do it. That
> was the day that we found out that we were
> responsible for mistakes the signal system made.
> We were supposed to monitor at all times for the
> system’s mistakes. The system is not supposed to
> make mistakes. It’s purpose was to prevent us
> from making mistakes, but were told that was
> irrelevant.
>
> The dispatching arena was a miserable place. Seven
> districts working in a big room with plain brick
> walls, a hard laminate floor, and a concrete
> ceiling. It was noisy and cold. One might observe
> that we were not too happy working there.
>
> The pranksters decided to take him on one
> Christmas.
>
> On Thanksgiving and Christmas, BN theoretically
> shut down the railroad. Amtrak was still running
> and some local managers defied the plan and ran
> trains anyway, but there wasn’t much traffic.
> There is no shutdown for the dispatchers. We all
> had to be there.
>
> There was a table in the back of the room that was
> used by people leaving cookies or such for the
> dispatchers to share. On Thanksgiving and
> Christmas, it was usually loaded with goodies, as
> it was on this Christmas.
>
> We knew that he would show up to check, not on how
> his railroad was doing as a good GST would, but to
> try to catch wrongdoing. That was standard
> procedure.
>
> The preparation was extensive. Dozens of beer
> bottles were filled with root beer and the caps
> crimped back onto them. Dozens of wine bottles
> were filled with grape juice, corked, and replica
> seals put on them. There were brownies, lots of
> brownies.
>
> Well, Christmas morning was party time at the
> office. The table was loaded with goodies. There
> were bottles of wine and beer and a platter of
> brownies. Every position had open bottles on the
> table and empties in the trash.
>
> When the boss walked in, there were several
> dispatchers at the table in the back of the room.
> Some were away from their position talking to
> someone at another position. He walked through the
> door and stopped dead in his tracks. The look on
> his face was precious.
>
> ’What the hell y’all doin’?
>
> He walked across the room to the table in back,
> looked at all the bottles, the brownies, the
> dispatchers standing around.
>
> ’Fahrd! Y’all’s FAHRD! Y’all’s FAHRED.
> GET OUT!
>
> The lead prankster walked up to him, beer bottle
> in one hand and an empty glass in the other. He
> held the glass up in front of the boss’ face and
> poured.
>
> ‘You need to chill. Have some of this.’
>
> It was close enough that the boss could smell
> it... and the brownie he was handed.
>
> Another prankster picked up a bottle of wine,
> uncorked it, poured a glass, and handed the boss
> some of Welch’s finest grape juice.
>
> ‘Merry Christmas.’
>
> The boss went around the room, position to
> position, looking for the real stuff that was
> being hidden. There wasn’t any. That made him
> even more angry.
>
> He stomped out of the room like a two year old
> throwing a tantrum.
>
> Yup, it was a good Christmas in the BN Seattle
> dispatchers office.
>
> TAW

"Yall's Fahrd!" Not too hard to guess what road he came from.

Posted from Android



Date: 12/27/23 10:54
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: Drknow

Sure as hell wasn’t GN.

Sounds like one of the EHH (PBUH) minions. Amazing how some corporate cultures have a reputation for civility and others for tyranny and corruption.

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/27/23 11:55
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: tehachcond

We had an engineer on the SP Los Angeles Division that dressed like a bum, and had a full whiskey bottle sticking out of his pocket.  It was actually full of iced tea!  Drove the local officials nuts.
He was an ace engineer and no way would ever take a drink on the job.  He just took a delight in stirring things up.

Brian Black
Castle Rock, CO.



Date: 12/27/23 15:29
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: Drknow

tehachcond Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We had an engineer on the SP Los Angeles Division
> that dressed like a bum, and had a full whiskey
> bottle sticking out of his pocket.  It was
> actually full of iced tea!  Drove the local
> officials nuts.
> He was an ace engineer and no way would ever take
> a drink on the job.  He just took a delight in
> stirring things up.
>
> Brian Black
> Castle Rock, CO.

His type always inspired me to speak truth to power. It’s gotten me into the ringer once or twice but the truth shall set you free.

And being a weed up some morons ass is also a hobby that I can enjoy on the job.

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/27/23 18:47
Re: The Boss Makes a Christmas Visit
Author: Trainhand

I'm sorry I didn't think of the whiskey bottle trick.

Sam



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