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The Shift Supervisor

I wanted to return the welding jacket, but I didn't know where to find its owner…

A welder at work

Graveyard shift as a welder at a shipyard was one way for a poor student to make ends meet.

On my first job fixing an aircraft carrier, sparks burned through all my clothes. It got so cold outside not even the blowtorch warmed me.

I desperately needed a welder’s jacket, but a good one was made from tough leather and cost more than $100. I couldn’t afford it. I was about to begin work one evening when a gust of wind chilled me to the bone. Lord, please help me get through this shift.

“Why aren’t you wearing a jacket?” a voice asked from behind me.

I turned to see a young man wearing a supervisor’s hard hat. I figured he must be new—there wasn’t a scuff on him. “Smith,” his name tag read.

“A jacket’s on my list, but I can’t afford one right now,” I answered.

“You can borrow mine,” he said. “Follow me.” He led me to his storage box and pulled out a jacket still wrapped in plastic. Smith had fifty pounds on me, but I put it on.

“It fits!” I said, surprised. “When can I get it back to you?”

“Hold on to it for now,” he said. The jacket got me through the night. And the next. And the one after that. I kept searching for the new supervisor, but couldn’t find him anywhere. Finally, I approached my foreman. “I’m looking for the new supervisor, Smith,” I said. “I have his jacket.”

“Smith?” the foreman asked, frowning. “There’s no Smith working here,” he said. “And there’s no new supervisor here either.”

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