He had not been expecting a letter. In fact, his record with the company indicated that he would not receive a letter. He was so confident that he had not made the list that he even dared to leave town for a few weeks. Can you believe he was on vacation when the letter arrived?!
It came in a nondescript, carrier service envelope. It wouldn’t have mattered if it came in a cereal box. Everyone knew what it was. They were all so sure that the letter didn’t belong in this mailbox, but here it was, nonetheless. Besides, the television networks and the newspaper reporters had already gathered across the street. Even if he had been in town when the letter came, the media would have given it away; the flash bulbs would have already gone off, in his eyes and in his head. It was better he wasn’t there.
Unfortunately, I was. Not at the office, but nearby. I was close enough for him to send me there, and how could I not offer to go? He couldn’t be there, but that damn letter was. Someone had to open it. Someone had to know what it said.
I went in, nervous. What would this mean for us? I really should have known better. This industry is already infamous for its lack of ethics.
Upstairs, she handed me the thin envelope. Thin is never a good sign when it comes to envelopes. We didn’t talk about it. All eyes were on that letter, but it commanded silence. I opened it. I was instructed to make copies of each page. I was the only person with access to the contents. How could I not read it?
They referred to us as rejected. We weren’t just an extra, or an unneeded, or even a mistake. We were the reject. Like the demented offspring of a science experiment gone awry, we were forced into a corner to be discussed and scrutinized and in 23 days, disposed. We had no leverage. We had no recourse. We were expected to just accept it, as if a reject wasn’t even privy to the inherent response of human nature!
That was on May 14th. On July 14th, we joined forces with the other rejects. He had been receiving a lot of letters lately, and phone calls, and emails, too. No one was accepting the contents of that letter. We were clearly objecting to it. Furthermore, just as sure as there are organizations to campaign for the needs of the runt of the litter, our representatives began to rally around us. Apparently, they had agreed with my assessment; the letter was too thin. It was missing vital information and, on our behalf, they demanded that information be provided.
Chrysler had, admittedly, fooled us. I wasn’t expecting it. In hindsight, he might have contemplated the possibility of making the list, or dreaded it, but he certainly did not deserve to be on it. Fool him once, shame on you. He will not be fooled again. This time around, justice will be served. This time around, he will be waiting.