NAME: Eddie Wright
POSITION: State Capitol shoe shine/information-desk clerk
Capitol Weekly: How long have you worked at the Capitol?
Eddie Wright: Thirteen years here, going on 14 now. The station has been
here for over 100 years. There was a guy before me who had been here for 22,
a guy before him who was here for 32 and I have been here for 13. That
doesn’t mean I’m going to be here over 30.
CW: How did you get this job?
EW: That’s an interesting story. I was commuting between Oakland and
Sacramento. I came to the bus station one day waiting for my brother to pick
me up and there was a blind guy stumbling through the station. I stopped him
and asked him, ‘Where are you trying to go, maybe I can help you,” and he
said, “God bless you, I’m just trying to get to the bathroom.” So I helped
him up to there and helped him back out and I explained to him that I had
been in Sacramento about three or four months looking for a job and couldn’t
find one. So he said, “Oh, I got a job if you really want to work,” and I’m
like, “Doing what?” and he said, “Shining shoes,” and I’m like, “Thank you
but no thank you,” right? So he said, “Now, wait a minute, I’ve bought two
houses and sent my girl to college.” I said off the top of my head, “Where
you at? The Capitol?” and he said, “Yeah!” I decided I might try that for a
while and I met him here that Monday. Even though he was blind, he did shoes
better than I did. He showed me what to do, and where to go, and how to do
it, and then he went home. He passed on about two years ago, and up until
that time I always took him some money at the end of the month. His name was
Tony Benjamin. He was one of the nicest people I met since I’ve been in
Sacramento. He just totally had faith in me and was dying for someone to
pass it on to. He told me, “You were the only person in the bus station who
even offered me any help.”
CW: What are some of the memorable events or people who have visited your
EW: Yeah, I’ve had Muhammad Ali here, Jane Seymour, Steven Seagal, Geraldo
Rivera, Mario Van Peebles. That’s just a few of the people I’ve had in my
chair, and of course, the governors. I’ve been here through Pete Wilson,
Gray Davis and now Arnold.
Me being a musician, I used to play with Natalie Cole myself. I was looking
for a job that didn’t take up all of my time. I applied for a lot of
different jobs in the building, but luckily nobody ever hired me. I’ve been
in five or six bands since I’ve been in Sacramento. I play bass, keyboards
and I write songs. I started out carrying equipment for Larry Graham of Sly
and Family Stone when I was a teenager.
CW: Any other moments that stand out during your time here?
EW: Ironically, the first time I ever came to the Capitol was with the Black