By Bill Peckham
After the Super Bowl, CBS premiered a new show - Undercover Boss. It's a new reality show where corporate leaders take entry level jobs at their companies. The premier shows Waste Management President Larry O'Donnell going undercover as Randy and working a range of jobs, from cleaning porta-potties to running residential garbage pick-up routes. One of the jobs was policing blowing garbage at a landfill (UPDATED video - CBS has made a clip with Walter available):
The dialyzor, Walter Settles, is the supervisor who fires Randy - he fires his company's COO.
Watch the full episode, the segment with Walter starts at the 11:44 mark. At 13:47 there's this bit of dialogue:
Walter: I'm on dialysis and that take up three days .. three nights anyway. I lost the functions in my kidneys
Randy: I would have never guessed that you have that kinda health issue. I've been marching up and down those hills picking up trash - you come marching up there. How do you do all that?
Walter: I let my spirit tell my body what's going to happen what I'm going to do what I'm not going to do, because if I let the body tell me what I'm going to do I'm not going to do very much.
Randy: You have such a positive attitude do you work with other people on dialysis?
Walter: I would like to but as long as I can work and I'm able to work I'm going to work ... when I see a perfectly healthy person dragging around, and I can go out there and work circles around them, and he can't do this and can't ... that really pisses me off there, because I wish I was healthy ... you should be able to do more than I do. If I can get out there and fill two bags in 10 minutes, I'm expecting you to do three bags in ten minutes
It's was good television. And it really could have only happened on a reality show. If the show was written we would have never seen someone on dialysis in a physical job.
At the end of the show Larry/Randy's real identity is revealed. When Larry reveals himself to Walter he mentions Walter has been on dialysis 19 or 20 years and promises Walter the opportunity to volunteer on the company clock.
I think outside of news pieces this marks two television firsts - showing someone who has been on dialysis a long time and showing someone on dialysis working a job that is physically hard. Undercover boss showed a long time dialyzor who has to shower after work. We're out there; it was a pleasant surprise to see this accurate, positive portrayal.