I recently had a run in with a very moody forest ranger.
Well, truth be told, he was just a volunteer, I think, but he was in charge of the park, so I figure he represents the Forestry Service regardless his exact status.
It was a dumb situation and really didn’t get that our of hand. The dude apparently just doesn’t care for journalists nor did he understand a journalist doesn’t need anyone’s permission to write a story about a park in which his or her taxes are being used to fund.
It was a very brief conversation, but I left it with a really sour taste in my mouth for people working for the Forestry Service. I mean, other than that ranger on Yogi Bear, I really didn’t have much of an impression of anyone working in a national park. Plus, I can’t say I was even a big fan of that dude and I kind of always thought that cartoon sucked. Sorry Boo-Boo.
As I drove home fairly bitter, I began to think more about the situation and the Forestry Service as a whole. I’m sure there are a ton of good people there who would have gladly helped me, I just happened to run into one old dude with a grudge, and who perhaps, was just having a rotten day.
This thought was later confirmed when I got to interview the guy who was actually in charge of the park. He was super nice and helpful and I left that conversation kind of wanting to go fishing with him.
It was totally unfair for me to feel like everyone in that line of work was a jerk based on one old dude, but it was also the reality of the way we generally operate as humans.
We all represent different groups of people and, like it or not when we act, we are acting on their behalf.
From your family to the college you attended to your employer and your religion. Unless you live alone in a hole, you represent a variety of different people each and every minute of your day. And of course if you do live in a hole, I guess you still represent the hole people and so their rep is on you.
To be honest, I suck at this a lot of times and I’m sure there have been plenty of occasions people have left an encounter with moody Travis and thought, “Dag, journalists suck,” or “Man, that’s what a Williams is,” or “Ugh, Celtics fans are the worst!”
Of course more importantly, because I’m a Christian, I also represent Jesus everywhere I go and much like me with the forest volunteer, it’s possible I might be the only Jesus rep a person ever encounters.
Honestly, that often scares the crap out of me.
I mean what about those times I get ticked off about not getting a sweet pull-through spot at Wal-Mart? What about when Taco Bell goes all skimpy on the cheese and heavy on the lettuce? Or what about those dreaded times when I’m waiting for my dentist appointment and some mom changes the waiting room TV to “Doc McStuffins?” AH! Seriously, can we get some laws on this one?
It’s scary and it’s not really fair, but the reality is that even at the worst of times, I am still a representative of a lot of good people and most importantly, a rep for the best person to have ever walked the Earth.
And it’s my responsibility, not theirs, to make sure my actions accurately reflect that.