Scared of the Pentagon...not what you'd think

Yesterday I waited on a customer who was buying a gift for her son. He is in the military and was being sent to a new posting, so they were having a birthday party for him before he leaves. She seemed a bit stressed, so I asked her where he was being sent, fully expecting to hear her say Iraq.

“The Pentagon,” she said.

“But that’s wonderful,” I said.

“Oh, no, I’m so worried,” she said.

“Why?” I said, slightly puzzled.

“It could get hit by a plane,” she said.

“But it’s not Iraq,” I said, “and the odds are so slim that that would happen again, and…”

(This is where I stopped myself from saying, “it’s a really big building and even if it does happen again odds are he’ll be on the other side of the building.” Honest to God, it was coming out of my brain and heading for the mouth.)

I was just flabbergasted that she was so worried (and it showed so clearly on her face) at him working at the Pentagon. When you consider the dance for joy a thousand other moms and wives would do if told their soldier was going to the Pentagon instead of Iraq, her reaction was just so odd! Especially in the light of the fact that most of the country seems to think of 9/11 as a New York only event, completely forgetting the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.

I said a few more comforting, encouraging things, she asked me if counseling was part of my job description like a bartender, and left thanking me for the support. I just stood there shaking my head.