Treating People As People


I am proud to say that my Father remains one of my biggest heroes. As an example, a long time ago when I was a prosecutor and he was a judge in the Los Angeles Federal Courthouse, I would continually see him not only greeting the custodians in the hallways, but even asking about their children – all by name! And they would literally glow in response. It was not his way to speak to me about things like this, instead he led by example. So I started doing the same thing. Amazingly enough, the first time I did this was to the custodian who was cleaning my office. When I greeted him by name, which I knew from the label on his shirt, he literally stopped in his tracks. Then told me that he had been working here for ten years, and I was the first attorney ever to address him by name. The irony of this was that I eventually learned that he was the father of one of the stars on the UCLA Basketball team. So that was my unneeded tangible reward for treating people as people.

The fundamental truth is that people everywhere simply want to be treated with dignity, and most people will respond accordingly when that happens. So this brings me to another story about my father. One weekend he went up to Lompoc Federal Prison to take a tour, and he happened to take my wonderful mother with him. As my mother later recounted, during the tour the warden said that there would be a talent show that afternoon presented by some of the inmates, and asked if they would like to attend. Sure, was the answer. So before the show began, my father was sitting in the first row, with the warden on one side of him and my mother on the other. And next to my mother was an inmate, who struck up a conversation by saying: “Mrs. Gray, I’m sure you don’t know this but your husband was the judge who sentenced me to be here,” whereupon my mother became a bit uncomfortable. The inmate continued: “Yes, and he actually gave me a maximum sentence,” whereupon my mother started leaning over toward my father. “But,” the inmate went on, “Judge Gray treated me with such respect during all of the proceedings, that he is my favorite judge – and I have had lots of judges!” Bottom line, treating people as people works – for everyone. So please join me in saying hello to the people who clean our hotel rooms and mow our grass, as well as those who are in wheelchairs or are in other ways disabled. They are anxious simply to be recognized as the human beings they are, and we are blessed to have the Liberty to do just that!

** I once saw this statement on a sign at a bar:
“Bad decisions make for the best stories.”

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President