“It’s a Small World After All”

You’d think that in a city as big as Chicago, this sort of thing couldn’t happen….but it did.

Back in the 80’s I worked in a small nail salon with the 2 owners, Ramone & Vivienne, who claimed to be brother & sister (they really weren’t, but that’s another story). Our nail tables were all positioned next to each other in one fairly small area so that we all worked side by side.

Everyone heard everyone else’s conversations & many times all of our clients were conversing with each other, as we 3 techs joined in on the hot topics, too. One day Vivienne had a new client, a female cop (out of uniform) in her chair & as they were chit-chatting the woman started pouring out her guts to Vivienne about the sexual harassment she’d been enduring on the force.

According to her she’d been pursued by a married fellow police officer & had shunned his advances, but was now being bothered by him & his buddies on the force. I didn’t hear all of the story, as my table was furthest from Viviennes, but I heard most of it & most likely so did the client in my chair, plus also the client Ramone was working on, too.

Perhaps a week or more had passed when all of a sudden the female cop barged into the
salon decked out in full police uniform. She presented a very intimidating image with her gun in her side holster as she began loudly yelling at Vivienne.

All work came to an abrupt halt as everyone in the room gaped in shock at her red, angry face. She accused Vivienne of disclosing their conversation to someone in her department regarding the sexual harassment she had divulged on her last visit & she was now in trouble with her superiors.

The police woman was mortified that her coworkers knew her personal business & her work life was now unbearable. She let Vivienne know in no uncertain terms that she would never be back & upon having her say, she turned, storming out the door as it slammed behind her. We never saw her again.

Poor Vivienne was so stunned & shaken by the encounter, plus all of us were beyond embarrassed for her. She swore on all that was holy she had never told a soul about their conversation & couldn’t understand how such a thing could have happened. We all truly felt bad about it, but what could we do now? The damage was already done.

I cannot recall how we figured it out, but evidently the client Ramone had been working on that day when the female cop was initially telling Vivienne about the harassment actually knew the man in question (the alleged harasser).  She must’ve told someone else what she had heard that day in the nail salon & it gotten back to him or possibly she told him herself.

Now if this could happen in a large city the size of Chicago, imagine what gossiping could do in a small town?

The moral of the story for clients (& salon staff, too): don’t talk about anything you wouldn’t want printed on the front page of your local newspaper because you never know who else is listening. Take it to your grave or to your priest in confession.

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