As an environmental engineering firm, we design and upgrade water treatment plants. Vendors will frequently come to our office to tell us about their products in hopes that we will name them in the specs. On Tuesday this vendor came to tell us about valves that they carry. Most vendors will just give a presentation and have a couple of their products to show and be done with it. But this guy was all about PARTICIPATION. This was annoying for many reasons including that people are trying to eat the lunch he brought them while he’s asking them to come up to the front to help him.
I’m not eating anything so I get called up to the front. I reluctantly get up and he asks me to turn this valve. He’s put a pencil inside to show how tight of a seal it can make. So I do it, then sit back down. He undoes the valve and holds up the pencil to show that I turned it hard enough to compress it. He says in front of my colleagues, “You really turned the valve tightly. I’m proud of you.”
I’m proud of you.
I was livid. This older man I just met decided to express his pride in me for compressing a pencil. I felt insulted that he said this to me like I was some kind of child. I can guarantee you that he would not have said that to 1) an older woman or 2) a male.
Then he was talking about how sealed this valve was and said, “Nothing could get up there. Not a rodent, other animals, even Johnny Jihad”. I had never heard of this phrase before but decided it was incredibly rude and ignorant. Especially when one of my nicest coworkers is Muslim and I’m sure he loves to hear stupid name-isms based off of the crazy extremists that people try to say hold the same beliefs as him.