Face-to-Face Meetings

Bob Ensley

CRS Mediator, Atlanta Office

[Full Interview]

Question: When you needed to personally contact people, did you call them on the phone or did you write, or what?

Answer: No, you never write when you can call, you never call when you can visit. On-site assessments are essential in this business.

Question: You can look at them and they can look at you?

Answer: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean you know coming from New York, the first two cases I ever had, one in Dublin, GA, and one in Cairo, GA. The sheriff said to me, "You sound like one of them Yankees. You don't know what a n****r problem is until you get down there and see some of these n****rs." I said, "Well Sheriff, I just may do that." I flew into Tallahassee, rented a car, drove across the state line, and I went into the sheriff's office, and the female deputy said, "Can I help you?" I said, "Yes, I am here to see sheriff Lane Waldroff." She said, "Go out there and have a seat around the corner where the rest of the black color people are." I said, "Thank you." I saw him come out, walk around and everything, and that's when I said, "Darn, he should've been here by now." I called the airport, that plane landed. So after a while, he came and said, "Can I help you boy?" I said, "I'm Bob Ensley." He said, "Well I'll.....You're a n****r!" Dr. Porter, who's son is a senator here, he's a doctor in Dublin, GA, 150 miles away. He invited me down for lunch to discuss a problem in Dublin. They have a large hospital. I went to the front door, and the black comes and said, "You gotta go around to the back, boy." I said, "No, Dr. Porter's expecting me. Would you call Dr. Porter and tell him Bob Ensley is here?" So he came to the door, and he looked, and he said some unkind things too, and he's a doctor. So after he left, the lady said, "You're the first colored man ever had his feet under that dining room table." I said, "Thank you." But the thing is, that's why it is so important to do on-site assessments. You can look at people, know who you're talking to, and you can detect a sense of sincerity, or you know sometimes when you're being mislead.