037: You Were Never Created to Fit In

Uncommon Sense: the This is True Podcast show

Summary: In This Episode: Uncommon Sense can be found in very unusual places. In this story, a janitor at one of the plants at a multinational corporation had the cojones to call the CEO with an idea. And the CEO was smart enough to listen.<br> <br> <a class="twitter-share-button" href="https://twitter.com/share?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">Tweet</a><br> <a href="#transcript">Jump to Transcript</a><br> <a href="https://thisistrue.com/category/podcasts/">How to Subscribe and List of All Episodes</a><br> Show Notes<br> <br> * An interesting tidbit in the “cola wars”: you likely know that Coca-Cola “won” the “war” by getting and maintaining a bigger market share than Pepsi. On the other hand, consumption of soda pop is way down. With its 1965 acquisition of Frito-Lay, PepsiCo is much stronger in the snack food category, and the real story is in the final numbers: in 2018, The Coca-Cola Company reported a net income of $6.43 billion on $31.85 billion in sales. But Pepsi: $12.51 billion net on $64.66 billion in sales.<br> * The <a href="https://variety.com/2018/film/news/flamin-hot-cheetos-movie-devon-franklin-fox-searchlight-1202707879/">Variety</a> article I mentioned.<br> <br> <a name="transcript"></a><br> Transcript<br> Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.<br> Richard Montañez grew up in Guasti, California, in the 1960s in a Mexican immigrant family. You may never have heard of Guasti: it’s an unincorporated town about 40 miles east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County that used to be known as South Cucamonga, in an agricultural region where one of the biggest crops was grapes. In the 1960s, the “family business” (if you will) was to pick those grapes. Like many Mexican farm laborers, the Montañez family made very little money for their hard work: the entire family with 11 children lived in a one-room apartment at the labor camp. The bathroom down the hall was shared with a number of other families.<br> But Richard could go to school! Always a way to get ahead, right? He remembers his school bus was green, not the standard yellow like other school buses: just another way to separate the children, he says now. But there was another problem: in the 1960s, schools were starting to integrate, but that doesn’t mean they offered anything extra. They made a take-what’s-offered proposition, and they offered classes taught in English. Don’t know English? Too bad: you have to learn on your own — no help from the school. And certainly his parents couldn’t help: they only spoke Spanish.<br> But he started school, even though he couldn’t understand the teachers. At lunch, he thought the white children were staring at him: the other kids had sandwiches, and he had a burrito. When he got home, he asked his mother to make him a bologna sandwich for lunch the next day, because he “didn’t want to be different.” No, she said: “This is who you are.” The next day she made him two burritos so that he could give the second one away to help make a friend. And this is where the first glimmer of Uncommon Sense kicked in: that second burrito was so coveted that within a few days, he was taking lots of extra burritos to school …and selling them for 25 cents each! He was 7 years old.<br> “I learned at that moment that there was something special about being different,” Montañez said, “that there was a reason that we all just couldn’t fit into the same box.” Yet, one day the teacher asked the students to say what they wanted to be when they grew up. As the other children named things like teacher, astronaut, and doctor,