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Hero For A Day

Back in 2000 while I was working in Mexico City I was called out for an emergency trip out to a cell site about 20 miles from my hotel. We had some radios that were overheating and I was the expert on this problem at the time.
I got a ride to the site with a local technician, Ed (Eduardo) who was a great guy, he had dual citizenship with the US and Mexico. He really liked me and was a great friend to me during my entire time in Mexico. He always explained the local customs and interesting sites to see, things to do and places to go.

Anyway, we got to the cell site and I quickly identified the problem. It was a fairly easy fix. I had to add a 4 inch ground wire to the affected radio (factory mistake). I went thru the rest of the radios testing for the problem. I found 6 more with the same problem and fixed them. Called my main office to give them the report and we headed back to Mexico City.

About half way back to the hotel we got a call. Apparently some of the management were in a panic about the ungrounded radios and wanted us to immediately go to another couple of cell sites to test for the same problem. We did, and found a lot more radios that needed repair. We fixed them and called this in.

Well this really opened a can of worms. They wanted every cell site in the area checked out for bad radios. And it snowballed from there. We kept finding bad radios at every site and the management got more and more upset.

Radios
Some of the radios that we worked on.
Note the defective radios are marked with a paper sleeve.

To shorten this part of the story we basically worked until we were about to drop. We checked into another hotel to get some sleep, got up and went back at it. After 4 days of this, I ended up in Leon Mexico about 200 miles from my hotel in Mexico City. I had not planned on being gone very long and hadn't brought a change of clothes. So I went to a local shop for something to wear. The shop was a sort of sportswear store. I picked out a really super nice jersey and another tee shirt or 2.

At this time there were still a few cell sites to check on but Ed had to go back to Mexico City about another issue. So he got me a ticket for a bus ride back and he would meet me when I got back off the bus in Mexico City a couple of days later.


Here I am on a mountain top outside of Leon, a couple of days before this story unfolds.

I eventually got through with all the cell sites and got myself cleaned up, got my pants and underwear washed and put on my fine new jersey for the ride.

Old Ed really outdid himself this time. He had gotten me a luxury seat on the bus. It is quite similar to first class on a plane. You get a big ole reclining seat, free drinks, hot towels, the works.

Bus Station Image

As I was getting my ticket processed and getting ready to get on the bus I noticed that I was getting a lot of attention from the other riders. I got a lot of smiles, some handshakes and pats on the back. It was weird. I had no idea what was going on but I finally just attributed it to them really liking Americans or just interested in the gringo in the luxury seat.
This adoration continued for the whole trip.

So I finally got back to Mexico City and got off the bus where Ed was there to meet me. I got some more of the royal treatment as we were walking away to his car. He had started laughing. Laughing so hard he cried. We went about a block away and he pulled over to the side of the road to try to compose himself. With tears in his eyes he explained what had happened.

Apparently Leon had a national soccer team that had just signed a Swedish player. He was a semi super star. He just happened to have signed with the same team of which I had bought an official jersey.

So, seeing a gringo, with an official jersey, riding in a luxury seat on a bus to Mexico City they had naturally assumed that I was the Swedish player!



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