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Don’t Be a “Friendly Fred”

By Adam Bush on August 29, 2019

A couple months ago, I was doing a shoot for a local business highlighting a new project they were launching. We had one cinematographer and myself as the crew. Our job was to scout locations within their building, set up and interview employees.

One of the locations was a really nice auditorium. It was a pretty plush room with stadium seating and a large stage. It also had pretty nice theater lighting. As we’re setting up the shot, I asked if we could dim the overhead lights.

Enter, Friendly Fred. Fred’s job was to oversee the use of the auditorium. If I had to guess, I’d say he was 45 and had worked in this position his entire life. (Maybe not his ENTIRE life, but for awhile.) When I asked if we could dim the lights, you would have thought I asked if we could send a rocket to Mars, that it was really putting him out! He looked at me, rolled his eyes and then walked away. Moments later, the lights were dimmer.

As we were dialing in the shot, we asked several more times if we could dim the lights more. With every request, we got a shrug, an eye roll, a laugh, whatever condescending response Friendly Fred could give. (That’s the name his co-workers had given him, not me. : )

Finally, a team member asked, “Hey, Fred! Could we see how you’re doing that and maybe we can do it ourselves? Much to his chagrin, he obliged and took us behind the stage to a very small board that had about one knob on it: the dimmer. THAT’S IT! ALL HE WAS DOING WAS TURNING A KNOB.

I walked away with two lessons. First, the day I respond to co-workers with condescension and a sense of “don’t touch my stuff,” is the day I HAVE TO EXAMINE MY HEART. In Ephesians 4, Paul writes a letter – from Prison – to the church, in response to many converted Jews who were unhappy that the same gospel message was available to the Gentiles. Their issue was that the Gentiles never followed Moses’ previous laws. Paul says: ‘Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ‘ Ephesians 4:31-32 . The last part sticks out to me: as God in Christ forgave you. I don’t deserve what I’ve been given through Christ, so I am have no business walking around entitled as if I did something to deserve the goodness of God. Paul knows this and says, because of this: BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER. Fred lost site of this a long time ago. Granted, Fred might not be a Christ follower, though there are plenty of Friendly Fred’s in the church world.

Second and finally, that question of, “Could we see how you’re doing that and maybe we can do it ourselves,” solved a problem. Be a problem solver! When there is a tension, ask yourself, “What would or WHO COULD help fix this issue?” Instead of complaining, (honestly, like I did) be like our team member and think through your options to solve the dang problem.

That’s it. I hope this helps and happy storytelling.

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