Back in the early 70's. I learned the power of protest with even just a few people and some signs in front of Liberty Mutual
Insurance Company. I missed out on the anti war movement..something I still regret, I missed out on the Civil rights March...another regret. I did learn though, taking on an insurance company beat out the wait time of a lawyer trying to right a wrong when a vehicle ran through my Mother's drive in Restaurant, putting her out of business along with her 7 employees. Follow below the orange squiggly....
A vehicle lost control and went right through the front of a drive in restaurant called The Tigers Den in Douglasville, Ga. My Mom and Dad and grandmother barely escaped death. The pickup truck slammed through the Arnolds type drive in restaurant and destroyed the building along with all the stock which consisted of hamburger, chicken, fries, pizzas, tomatoes, lettuce, cash register and the soda fountain along with the milk shake machine.
My Mom had insurance as did the person driving the vehicle but the Insurance wanted to play the name game and not pay for damages on the second or third week of being OUT OF BUSINESS. There were four curb hops who depended mostly on tips and they were African American. There were two other curb hops, one of which being my younger sister. I bring this up because the AA factor helped the small movement because they were totally unemployed in the coming out of the Civil rights Movement in a small southern town. They were extremely passionate about the idea I had.
Mother had to employ Pinkerton security to keep equipment from being looted. She then after much arguments with put offs from Liberty Mutual Insurance retained a lawyer. What a mess ! He was sending letters back and forth to the claims division and taking her calls when he decided to and she was extremely frustrated. The case was simple. The building did not jump into oncoming traffic and the driver that received a ticket's insurance should have paid but the arguing between the Business Insurance and automobile insurance was crazy and in retrospect so typical of what we have now with big pharma and insurance.
After four weeks of my Mother ranting and she about to lose the best help she ever had and equipment and food ruining, she was livid. My Mother had a temper but did not know why this whole mess was keeping her out of business and loss of income. She was fussing with the lawyer who was reassuring her in time, in time. I, at the mere age of 21 walked into the lawyer's office and said, "What are you doing". He told me in no uncertain terms that this was none of my business. It was. My whole family was out of work and so were my buddies who worked there, not to mention The Dairy Queen was now getting her clientel. I was not so toe to toe back in those days but as I recall, still had some attitude as I told him. "Well I don't think she needs you" I think we can get her a settlement without you. I was told not so politely, "You are a smart ass and silly little girl" I walked out of his office and posed this proposal to my family. "Why don't you picket the Insurance Company in Atlanta". I said, Get the curb help and all of us go down there with picket signs and call them Unfair and with signs.
Mother, somewhat of a radical in her own right said, " I like it".
We gathered together at my parents home and made signs that said...Unfair to workers...Don't pay claims...Robbing the customer blind ....Don't buy Liberty Mutual...
Out of Work ..out of Luck.. Thanks Liberty Mutual. Don use Liberty Mutual ....Boyctott...I remember my sign said, 'LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE..KEEP SHOPPING...THEY DON'T PAY CLAIMS.
I went to the library and looked up how peaceful protests worked. I found out we kept walking and not talking but we could switch off signs. It only took three days
of peaceful protests. THREE DAYS. People even employed with Liberty Mutal joined in.
We never chanted or said a word. We just marched in front of the company in downtown Atlanta. We were told to leave and my Mother said.. NO. The police at the time said we had a right to protest in front of the building. One the sidewalk. This is where we were. No permits. Day 2 ..TV2 News Reporter appeared on the scene and talked to my mother. She told of her dillema. Day Three. We went from about 8 people in a protest of unfair claim action to about 20 and to this day I have no idea who joined in.
Day Three.... The adminstrator/Manager of The Liberty Mutual Insurance Company settled with my Mother on the spot with check in hand. No media there that day and there was a phone call to the media thanking them but no follow up. We left.
I walked into my Mother's attorney's office Day 4 after the settlement and he said to my Mother, "Your daughter is crazy". Mama replied, "Yeah and you get no cut in the settlement.. That would sound pretty crazy to me if I were you. Counselor ..Your loss for not putting your butt in gear.
That was the first time I ever stood in front of a huge Corporation and challenged unfair business practices.
No one since has been able to tell me that protesting does not work. NO ONE.
I have no clue what would happen in today's society of the tea party crowd but it worked then and is working in Wisconsin and it will work in the VA.
In six weeks The Tigers Den was open for business under a banner.. Drive IN don't drive through....Grand Re Opening.
I wrote an article in the local paper announcing the reopening. Wow, when I think back that was a lot of fun !!!!! Yes, I guess I have always been an activist. (Even on small scales), Organize... Just do it. Nobody will do it for you when your are getting screwed by the big corporations.