Updated: Jun 25
A friend of mine is brilliant writer. Let’s call him Bill. (Not his real name.)
Bill’s published several books and one of them was made into a short film.
The film made the rounds at film festivals where producers and directors look for short films to expand into feature-length films.
Yeah, apparently, that's a thing.
We talk about going to the Academy Awards together. (I’ll keep you posted.)
Anyway, when he’s not writing books that get made into movies, he’s what’s known as a Civil Process Server.
Bill’s principal job is to deliver or “serve” legal documents to a witness, defendant or other person involved in a legal action, mostly divorces and car accidents, according to Bill.
Process servers are to the legal system what mail carriers are to the postal service.
Getting angry at a process server is a lot like blowing up at your mail carrier for delivering your electric bill.
Some people go to great lengths to avoid Bill, others are mean and rude, as if he were the cause of their divorce or personally requiring them to appear in court.
Threats of physical violence are not uncommon.
Once a man sternly informed Bill, “I’m standing my ground!” As if Bill were a one-man SWAT-Team.
Chances are, you’ve been served, stood by awkwardly while someone you know has or, you’ve seen it on TV.
Since process servers are not always welcome visitors, Bill is not thin-skinned.
Since his work requires him to diffuse people given to irrational explosions of temper, (at least until he can make a quick exit) he's got a way with words.
He's really good at this.
As you might guess, the stories emerging from serving divorce papers, summons and other “you’re in trouble” missives are pretty good.
And since authors write stories, you can see how this works out well for Bill.
Yesterday, I got this text from him.
“I’ve just been thrown out of Dexter Industries after serving the VP there.”
“There’s a story behind this,” I thought.
I should note, that while Bill is not physically imposing, intellectually he’s the most dangerous human being I’ve ever met.
Here's the story:
Bill had papers to serve the president and vice president of a company we’ll call Dexter Industries.
(I love this covert stuff. So help me, I feel like the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo!)
Interestingly, the president and vice president also happen to be brothers.
Yep, that’s right, brothers.
In the lobby, Bill asked for the president first.
The receptionist replied that the president was out of town.
Next, Bill asked for the vice president (the other brother).
The receptionist called him.
The vice president arrived in the reception area as if Hail to the Chief were being played.
He immediately snatched the paper out of Bill’s hand in a very “I’m the boss (today!)” manner.
The receptionist had obviously seen such displays before.
When the legal document arrives in the designated recipient’s hand, the recipient has legally been “served.”
At that moment, the “process” of the server is complete.
After opening the document and realizing he’d “been served,” the vice president, somewhat childishly, tried to give it back.
Imagine a kid trying to shove a lump of coal back up the chimney.
Of course Bill couldn’t accept it.
Unable to reverse the process, as it were, the vice president rapidly turned into one of those disgruntled customers who verbally attacks a someone nearby who they think they can bully. In this case, Bill.
He hissed at Bill,
“You tricked me!”
An accusation to which Bill calmly replied,
“I can see how your brother ended up in the top spot.”
The secretary who’d been watching the vice-presidential drama unfold, burped an audible, “Oh, Sh#t.”
Bill departed hastily.
He’s really good at that, too.
If you want to depart hastily from your current job.
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P.S. I asked Bill of I could “steal” his story and he told me I could. It’s cool.