Don’t be too Quick to Judge

You know about Grandma and you certainly know about Grandpa because I was able to write a whole book about him, which I hope you have all read or will read soon so we can have our own little book-club discussion about what you learned. I have been providing you with stories of my childhood, but I have said little about Dad or his family. I hope to change that a bit.

His first few jobs kid-type jobs were working as a camp counselor and then in the library at college. You may know that his grandfather—his father’s father—worked for many years at a bank in New York City called Merchant’s Bank, which now has become Valley National Bank.

Dad worked briefly as a courier, delivering money and checks from the bank to a money-exchange company in the World Trade Center and several other banks in the financial district on Wall Street. All this valuable paper and foreign currency would be shoved into a manila envelope secured by a string and handed to Dad.

Typically, and particularly in those days, an employee of a bank would be dressed in a suit and tie. That was not the case with Dad, who was specifically instructed to dress casually—which meant jeans and a tee shirt. If you ever saw photos of your father in those days, you will remember that his hair was not neatly trimmed. In fact, he wore it quite long, and I believe he also was not clean-shaven.

He would pick up his envelope at the bank and then head to the New York City subway to deliver his very valuable “stuff.” The value of that envelope could be as much as $45,000, which adjusted for inflation today was about $250,000!

The thought was that no one would suspect anyone dressed in such scruffy attire to have anything worth robbing. It was a surprisingly brilliant dress code for the job and just proves that you truly can’t judge a book by its cover. That poorly dressed person could be a courier, a celebrity in disguise trying to get in character for a movie role, or a spy. You just never know.

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