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Judged to be 10% wrong.

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Endure 30 days in jail or leave the country. You decide.

Saudi Arabia, 1971.

One month into a job in Dharhan, Saudi Arabia, while working for SAFCO, fertilizer company, two new gas turbine operators came on the day shift. Dave introduced himself and asked the guys, "how was your vacation?" He was aghast to learn they were not on home leave afterall. They had spent 30 days in a Saudi jail.

It seems they were involved in a truck-car accident. They were driving a SAFCO truck, on a road built by SAFCO, on SAFCO property. An unwitting Saudi drove a car into the truck, sideswiping them. These two South African contractors, working on a 3-year assignment in Saudi, were found to be ten percent at fault. Since they were foreigners (infidels, if you will), they must have been partially to blame. The judged ruled that the accident wouldn't have happened if they weren't in the country!

Decision: take their families and leave the country immediately or stay and serve 30 days in jail. The Saudi who caused the accident was not punished.

The two plant operators decided to stay and serve the time. A 24/7 calendar was mounted on the wall of the office building in SAFCO. Co-workers would sign up for visiting hours to bring the men food and water and to go there to play cards or checkers through the small hole in the cell door. The jail cells were poorly ventilated and without windows. Of course, no air conditioning. Did I mention it gets hot in Saudi Arabia?

The guys were not on vacation at all. Hardly. So much for Saudi Arabian justice. Not for infidels, for sure.

Recollections of Dave Lucier (FEP-1968)

Created by admin
Last modified Friday, Mar-17-2006 01:34 PM

Ahmad the Taxi Driver

Posted by scortas at Wednesday, Apr-02-2008 03:46 PM
As a sequel to the SAFCO accident, Getsco FSE were not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and we had to use Taxis. Aramco would give us "chitties" whic we gave to the Aramco approved Taxi Drivers. I regularly used a taxi driver from Somalia, his name was Ahmad. He had a white Impala. He used to tell me about Somalia, being the land on Milk and Honey (and Bananas). Once I asked him about his family, and he said he had nine children who were with their mother back in Somalia. When I asked about their ages he said 2,4,6..18 years. So stupidly and implusively I asked how often do you get to see them to which the obvious answer came back..once every 2 yeras!

Ahmad the Taxi Driver

Posted by scortas at Wednesday, Apr-02-2008 03:47 PM
As a sequel to the SAFCO accident, Getsco FSE were not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and we had to use Taxis. Aramco would give us "chitties" whic we gave to the Aramco approved Taxi Drivers. I regularly used a taxi driver from Somalia, his name was Ahmad. He had a white Impala. He used to tell me about Somalia, being the land on Milk and Honey (and Bananas). Once I asked him about his family, and he said he had nine children who were with their mother back in Somalia. When I asked about their ages he said 2,4,6..18 years. So stupidly and implusively I asked how often do you get to see them to which the obvious answer came back..once every 2 years!
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