June 15, 2011

"Grippers" #1(how to get homeless without even trying)

Episode #1 Meet the Slider Family

Bob Slider is a 37 year old, blue-collar, happy-go-lucky, hard working guy who loves his family, enjoys taking care of his house and yard, plays fantasy football, drives a pick-up truck and loves a "cold one" now and then. He and his wife, Tracey, and their 12 year old son, Jake, live in a modest, three bedroom, one and a half bath house in Pinellas Pines, FL., a town located in the Tampa Bay area bordering St. Petersburg. High school sweethearts, Bob and Tracey have been married for 14 years.

Bob is an assistant manager at Bildot Building Supply, one of the largest suppliers of commercial tools and construction equipment and materials in the area and he has worked for the company for 16 years. However, as the economy sputtered and and construction slowed, Bildot immediately felt the squeeze. As things rapidly got tighter and tighter Bildot, within a nine month period, was forced to lay off 16 workers leaving a crew of 12. But things went from bad to worse and, on this particular Friday, the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend, James Bildot called the remaining employees together and, with tears in his eyes, announced that effective immediately, Bildot Building Supply was closing its doors for good. After 55 years, the company was going "belly-up". Just like that Bob Slider and his co-workers became statistics. They were unemployed. Bildot too, was a statistic--just another company that had failed

Bob had earned $16.00 an hour and, for years, averaged 48 hours a week earning more than three grand a month. Hours had been gradually reduced and for the past two months he had been working 30 hours a week, sometimes less. After deductions he was bringing home less than $400.00 a week. As he and his co-workers drove away from Bildot it was as if everything was moving in slow-motion. Bob gave cursory waves to the other guys and choked back an unexpected tear. This place had been like a second home and just like that it was gone. It was almost like someone close had suddenly died. Fear of the days ahead suddenly grabbed Bob Slider in a choke hold. He could not breathe.

Next time:Incident #2 Tracey has more bad news