As an early riser I often find myself in a neighborhood convenience store in the middle of the night.  When I walk through the door I can often feel the trepidation from the clerk on duty.

At my second hotel we closed the lobby after dark and worked behind bulletproof glass.

Many mornings I arrive at work and hear about a robbery or attempted robbery at a local shop and sympathize with the clerks.

When I was a young man I worked overnights at two hotels.  One was near a State Police barracks and I started providing coffee for the troopers.  There weren’t many overnight stores 35 years ago.  Our coffee shop would close early afternoons but an agitator would keep the coffee churning all night until the kitchen manager arrived at 5:00 o’clock and started a new brew.  The troopers joked they didn’t mind old coffee as long as it was strong.  I liked having them around.  It kept bad guys away even if a squad car was outside the front door only a handful of minutes.

A year after I left the first hotel I read where my replacement had been robbed.

At my second hotel we closed the lobby after dark and worked behind bulletproof glass.  Customers had to enter through another door and would often grouse, “I didn’t realize this was a bad neighborhood!”  It wasn’t.  The hotel was located off a highway exit in a wealthy suburb.  Even nice places can be dangerous and especially with an on-ramp for quick getaway.  I was on duty one overnight when some drunk thought it was funny to tell me, “This is a stick-up!”  Police let him go after a stern warning.

Maybe you think security glass makes you uncomfortable but then you don’t have to stand alone behind a counter all night long. Sometimes I think it’s really because you believe those of us now and before who work or worked behind the counter are just white trash.  What’s the big deal if we get gunned down, right?  After all, our orphaned children don’t have any real feelings.  And we’re easily replaced on the job.

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