- The Washington Times - Friday, August 1, 2003

Noble: Aristotelis Belavilas, the very patient in Las Vegas.

Time seems to stop when one enters a doctor’s waiting room. It’s not just the outdated magazines or the plastic plants or even the uneasy air of unpleasant expectation. It’s that one is suddenly stuck in doctor’s standard time (DST), which is at least an hour behind — and often more — whatever time zone one is actually in.

The busy Mr. Belavilas was stuck in such a time warp. His 2 p.m. doctor’s appointment gradually became a 3 p.m. appointment, and then a 4 p.m. appointment. When Dr. Ty Weller still hadn’t shown up by 5:15 p.m., Mr. Belavilas left, without receiving the injection he needed to treat his chronic back pain.

According to Mr. Belavilas, Dr. Weller “didn’t say he was sorry and that he was with another patient or that he had gotten a flat tire, nothing.” So, after stepping out of the office, Mr. Belavilas sued Dr. Weller for $5,000, simply, as he said, “to teach the doctor a lesson.”

Last week, a small claims court agreed that the lesson had long been coming, and it awarded Mr. Belavilas $250 in damages. While Dr. Weller disputes Mr. Belavilas’ claims, and plans to appeal the decision, he probably shouldn’t wait for a better verdict. After all, while impatience is rarely a virtue, respect for others — and their schedules — usually is. Instead of being teed-off, chronically late doctors should take Mr. Belavilas’ noble lesson to heart.

Knaves: The members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Locals 586/668 of the Beaver County Public Works Department, for untiring laziness and unequalled brazenness.

Beaver County, Pa., is a shabby place these days. That’s despite the best efforts of the members of the local Blackhawk High School recycling club, who completed a much-needed cleanup of Buttermilk State Falls Park last fall.

The nature preserve is known for a foamy stream that runs through it, but it had become notorious for hundreds of illegally dumped tires. Tired of looking at the pile, and realizing that a park was no place for a pile of Pirellis (not to mention Michelins and Goodyears), the teens took action. They pulled the tires out of the park and threw them on their bedroom floors. Just kidding. They completely cleared up the tires, receiving no compensation other than the simple satisfaction of not having to see the mess any more.

Once others had freely dirtied their hands, 15 SEIU members demanded they receive filthy lucre for the less-polluted park. Specifically, they alleged that the teens had done what was contractually a union task — just one that their members had never gotten around to all the time that pile of tires had been accumulating. Recently, union members actually filed a grievance, calling for $958 in back pay for back-breaking work they had never bothered to do.

One might suspect that such brazenness would be met with belly-laughs by local authorities, but it worked once before. After members of a prison-striped work brigade cleaned up a county park for free, the union complained that the inmates had stolen union jobs. It was paid about $1,000 in compensation.

This week, Nate Laney, the organizer of the cleanup, actually offered to pay the $958 out of money he had earned from his summer job as shuttle driver for a local automobile dealership. To their credit, Beaver County officials refused his offer — Commissioner Jimmy Albert rightly called SEIU members “a bunch of crybabies.”

However, those big babies are determined not to roll over, and so the matter is headed for arbitration. Regardless of the eventual outcome, Beaver County will remain a dirty place until SEIU members grow weary of their greed.

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