Friday, July 6, 2012

A fire angel for the people

Mr. H. is now 86 years old but appears to be much younger when reminiscing about the old days.

He worked for years as a New York City public fire appraiser representing the people versus the Insurance companies for damages sustained to property in a fire.

In general, he worked for commissions-usually 5-10% of the pay-out.

However he would never take a commission when representing, for example, a single mother trying to raise a family. "It just wouldn't have been right to profit from their loss and money was often so tight in those days."

The appraisers who worked for the Insurance companies were always trying to force a settlement of a claim for the least amount possible. Mr. H.'s goal was just the opposite.

He reports he was considered a "hero" to the people but "a thief and a whore" to the Insurance companies.

He worked in and around a very tough and street smart clientele, including the Mob.

He says he got along with most folks well because of two simple life rules:

1. If you cross paths with someone who isn't civil with you, just walk away.

2. You don't have to like people, but if you do the right thing, they will like you.

As an aside, I couldn't believe he had never smoked cigarettes.

"Why?" he asked.

"It just surprises me that you never smoked given the nature of your business and the people you worked for back in those days."

"Well I never used a prostitute either, even though I worked around them everyday as well."

Touche, I thought, well stated.

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