As it turned out, he was never technically "let go" from work at the Ford factory. He was one of the few men left working the line the day that the factory closed it's doors. It was a little thing, but he took SOME pride in knowing that he was never actually "let go"
Ford had closed down many of it's factories, nationwide in an effort to cut costs, his included. He would finish his shift today, and join the rest of the men in the city in search of honest work.
March 3rd, 1930, the factory was offically closed.
Elton had noticed his boss, Mac, drinking since this morning. When quitting time came, Mac's attempt at a final "atta boy" speech on behalf of his downhearted and now unemployed staff, was almost undecipherable due to his mumbled slurs. He kept raising an invisible glass and talking in circles, saying things like, "As soon as this whole economic rut nonsense blows over we'll be up and running. You just wait!"
But, the empty hip flask and the strong smell on his breath suggested that Mac may not have believed this truth quite as wholeheartedly as he was attempting to convey.
Mac had hoped to give a final speech, in which he left his staff feeling uplifted and hopeful, but it was ending up more of a somber apologetic explanation, sprinkled with a few out of place zingers by a wisecracking downtowner.
When the creshendo of Mac's painfully akward speech (or rant) came, Elton knew it was time for someone to take over, lest the man himself start laughing hyterically or sobbing like a baby. Placing his hand on Mac's shoulder, Elton moved forward, cutting in "Yes your right Mac,this economic nonsense will blow over."
As Elton began, he took a moment and paused and allowed a tender silence to fall over the room. A moment in which he absorbed the dispare, self doubt and humiliation of his fellow employees. His voice was sure, sincere, as well as honest and hopeful.
"It is not for individual failure, that we leave this place today. I have worked alongside many of you for some time now and can attest to that truth. Do not lend your mind to thoughts of any task left undone. Surely, since this factory has been run on less than a half staffed as efficiently as it was run with a full staff, then no fault could be found among these people who stand before me today.
The repercussions of the shortcomings of this economy can not be found within the workers who have banded together faithfully to produce the fruit of industry...but rather in industry itself, an entity which we have been lead to believe to be infallible and unbreakable.
And so, in knowing that this, that the industrial collective is in fact, fallible, breakable and weak at it's core, let this be a time where we look once again to the individual human spirit and the capacity it has to endure and rise in such a way that industry cannot.
And with you, along side you, I rise. Proud to have accomplished and overcome so many challanges already and eager to endure and to again accomplish and overcome in the challanges which lie ahead.
To the struggle that awaits us, outside those doors, as we know it does, may it bend but never break you. May you aspire for goodness, even in the darkest of days, and have something of a hunger for humility.