Making an impression

Posted: Thursday, September 06, 2001

The other day our family went to the Broiler for dinner. While we were there, we saw something that I think relates to how the rest of Southeast feels about moving the legislative session.

It was Sunday evening about 5:30, the Nugget Mall was closing and the security guard was trying to get everyone out so he could lock up. But before he could, there was a woman in the mall having a really bad day. She had gone down south for neck surgery and was in a neck brace, her flight home to Petersburg had been delayed a couple hours and she was alone, stuck in Juneau, with a 2-year-old son who had been cooped up in a plane all day. In my experience with child rearing, it doesn't get too much worse, but it did.

The security guard told her she had to leave the mall, which she would have been happy to do except that her son, who she couldn't pick up, had melted down on the floor in a screaming mess. The security guard could have helped them both into the Broiler, but instead he threatened to call the police, saying that carrying squalling infants wasn't part of his job description. Well, to make a long story short, one of the kids working in the Broiler seemed to have a broader job description and helped get her settled. She got to her plane and made it home to Petersburg.

Now what sort of story do you suppose she has to tell her friends and neighbors about Juneau? At one time or another almost everyone from Yakutat to Ketchikan passes through town. They don't come to ride helicopters or play golf. They come to catch planes and buy groceries.

They don't form their impressions of Juneau based on how we vote on a road. They form them based on how we treat them when they need help.

Maybe we should spend a little less time trying to make a whipping boy out of progressive politics and spend a little more time trying to live up to our role as the regional center of Southeast Alaska.

Alan Kinsolving


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