No job in the construction world is notoriously easy, but being a traffic controller comes with a caveat most other construction jobs have: Dealing DIRECTLY with the public, and specifically pissed off people sitting in cars, and while you hope most people can suppress murderous road rage, you never really know until it’s too late.
So I appreciate the subject of today’s story, a traffic controller with a true “don’t give a fuck” attitude that I can’t help but admire.
I work for a contracting company in Pennsylvania. I work as a traffic controller, meaning I’m the guy that sets up to the traffic cones and signs at construction sites, as well as hold the sign with stop and slow on either side. As you can guess, because I’m sure some of you do just a little bit, people HATE me when I’m at work. I get constant remarks and comments thrown at me simply because I inconvenience people a few minutes on their commute.
But I don’t give a shit because I’m making sure the workers, my coworkers. AND the drivers are all safe and no one gets hurt or killed. I also don’t give a shit about what people say about me as I have pretty thick skin (I’ve been overweight most of my life and didn’t have a girlfriend for a long time so people always assumed I was gay even I recently came out as bisexual)
So one day I’m working a job with FOUR other traffic controllers. Usually its only two, me and someone else, but we were on a busy interaction so we needed more people.
I was at the top of a hill which flowed into a huge S bend before the intersection. I was there to make sure that people slowed down before the bend to avoid them blowing past or hitting my coworker at the bottom. I was to only stop traffic when I was radioed to. This was only for the few times the work trucks were moving out of the work zone.
Things were going smoothly at first, eventually I got the call to hold traffic. So I flip my sign to stop and traffic comes to a stop perfectly fine. Then I hear it. A few cars down the line, a woman is blaring her horn nonstop and screaming out the window of her Mercedes. This Karen is just wailing that I stopped everyone.
She eventually gets out of her car and comes stomping up to me. Now i can’t leave my post however I was fully prepared to wack this bitch with my sign if needed.
She finally reaches me and says this..
K – Karen M – Me
K – “What the fuck are you doing?”
M – “I’m holding the traffic ma’am”
K – “Let us through I have to be at the airport”
M – “I’m sorry ma’am but we have workers moving down there. You’re just gonna have to wait”
K – “This is fucking ridiculous. Just tell them to move, I have to gooooooooo” (yes that exaggerated)
M – “I’m sor-“
She cuts me off
K – “Listen you heroin addicted, good for nothing slimeball, get the fuck out of my way and do you’re fucking job”
She storms back to her car.
Again I have thick skin so I didn’t care about the comment, however I am so not against some good old malicious compliance. She wants me to do my job? Well alrighty then.
I get the call to let traffic through and begin to do so. I notice the two cars that were behind Karen had turned off into side roads, so she was the last one in the line. “Oh perfect” I think to myself.
I radio down to the guy at the bottom of the hill and tell him I’ll be holding traffic for a bit. By law in PA I can hold traffic for 15 minutes. So I decide to use that to get some malicious compliance on Karen. I let the car in front of her go and stop her. She starts back up again.
K – “What the fuck are doing?”
M – “Sorry ma’am, there’s an obstruction in the road. You’ll need to wait til its moved”
What was the obstruction you ask? Well it was my lunchbox that I threw into the middle of the road after stopping her.
She went off for 15 minutes on me about how shes gonna “miss her flight” and how I’m a “dirty convict” (never been to jail btw)
15 minutes goes by and I move my lunchbox and let her through, thankfully only one other car came by in that time and it turned off into a driveway so I wasn’t inconveniencing an innocent here. She pulls up and yells and me and asks “What the fuck were you doing you shithead?”
I reply with a very snarky, “Just doing my job ma’am”
She drives away in a huff
When we finished up, the others asked what I was doing and I told them what happened. They thought it was the funniest shit they’d heard that week.
Idk if she was late for her flight but I hope she was.
Moral of the story kids, don’t fuck with traffic controllers. We can fuck up your day more than you think
TL;DR Karen is running late for her flight so I make her extra late by simply doing my job
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