Now THIS Is An Unethical Stickler For Policy…

I love this story! It’s a classic example of the unethical bureaucratic mindset. It shows that it isn’t only American brain-on-autopilot officials who embarrass the human race this way. Best of all, it’s from France, as far away from the ridiculous NFL protest than isn’t a protest and the President’s obsession with it as possible.

Frenchman Philippe Croizon gained international fame in 2010 when he swam the English Channel without the use of his arms or legs, because he has no arms or legs. He is almost certainly the most famous quadruple amputee in the world, and definitely the best armless and legless long-distance swimmer, if you don’t count fish. Yet when he recently tried to board a train, he was blocked by a railway employee who asked for proof that he was disabled. (Disabled passengers get a discount on train tickets in France). Here is Croizon…

The controller insisted on seeing his state issued disability card.  Croizon was in a wheelchair. He has no legs or arms. Never mind: if you can’t prove you’re disabled by producing the proper documentation, the controller insisted, then you aren’t disabled.

Eventually other passengers made such a commotion that the controller gave up and took Croizon at his word. When I first started reading about this, I thought that the guy was arguing that if Cruizon could swim the channel, he wasn’t disabled. Of course, this would mean that French porpoises couldn’t get their discounts either. Or the Little Mermaid.

Croizon is apparently an amazingly nice guy. He tweeted about the incident, but unlike everyone who has read about it and responded on social media, he refuses to condemn his tormenter, and wrote the controller was just doing his job.

“I wanted to take things with a sense of humor and do not get to insults,” he wrote. “This gentleman may have had a bad day, he may be tired, I don’t know.”

It was generous and kind for Croizon to try to give this officious fool a hand,  but he really doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

(I’m sorry.)

22 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics

22 responses to “Now THIS Is An Unethical Stickler For Policy…

  1. JP

    Does your son roll his eyes at those puns?

  2. JP

    Also I’m betting Mr. Corizen can’t stand these jokes.

  3. Some people would give…well,…to be able to swim as well as Croizon.

    • Hold on there, wouldn’t it be a nice gesture to point out that Jack deserves a hand for indicating that tactile signing during televised natural disaster/emergency evacuation proceedings makes a gripping situation difficult to grasp?

      Golf clap or high five…

  4. Dwayne N. Zechman

    The real problem was that the controller was confused because Croizon was holding TWO tickets purchased with a disability discount. You wouldn’t believe how much those things cost!

    –Dwayne

  5. Steve Berlin

    I’m “smh,” as my daughters’ generation would say, Jack. As a governmental ethics professional, I’m dismayed at this railway official’s lack of independent thinking. As a collector of offbeat philosophical quotes, I’m somehow I’m reminded of one about much-vaunted French pedantry. As the apocryphal French philosophe is said to have said: “what you propose may work very well in practice, but it would never work in theory.”

  6. dragin_dragon

    Just to prove that this isn’t just French, but “officiousness” in general…I have COPD. as a result of that and being a veteran (low income), my health care is being handled by the Veteran’s Administration. One of the things prescribed is “rescue inhalers”, albuterol sulfate in an inhalable form. There is very little risk in these inhalers, and few, non-lethal, side effects. Yet the VA, totally ignoring the name “rescue inhalers” limits a veteran to 4 of these things in a 90 day period. My question…what happens if, in that 90-day period, what happens if the veteran has more attacks than 4 of them will handle? The answer…”I guess you can always go to the emergency room” where WHAT will happen? You will get an albuterol breathing treatment or two and a NEW rescue inhaler. The only real problem is that the emergency room at the VA hospital is 45 miles from my house. Now THAT’S officiousness…I suspect all in the name of saving money…not lives, but MONEY.

  7. Rich in CT

    We can’t have undocumented disabled persons boarding trains now!

  8. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    Aside from their ridiculous (incomplete) Maginot Line, the Vichy France bow to Hitler and Nazism, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, I now have just one more reason to disrespect the French. Who cares how beautiful Paris is? They have a real cultural problem, going back for centuries.

  9. Sue Dunim

    Jack’s joke was just a bit of armless fun.
    Though that might be a matter of a pinion.

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