I knew Mike in 1972 when he came to the United Kingdom along with his mother, father, sister and brother. His parents were warm, kind people and we all took to each other almost instantaneously. Mike left to work elsewhere but his parents stayed in England. We became close and considered each other family, staying in touch regularly.
I next met Mike in 1980 when he again came to England. He knew I had remained close with the rest of the family, so when we met up again I regarded him the same way I regarded them—family. But I erred in this assumption. He was not at all the same as his other family members. Further, over time it began to dawn on me that he was truly a condescending and heartless individual. The following incidents are just a few of many that led me to this conclusion:
First incident: In 1997, Mike’s brother Andrew and wife Pat had flown out from Australia to go on a weeklong cruise aboard the Freewinds, the Church’s retreat in the Caribbean, celebrating the anniversary of its maiden voyage. It just so happened that Mike was there, as was I, both of us in a work capacity. I took the time after work to see Andrew and Pat whenever I could. On the day of their departure I went to see them to say goodbye. I’ll never forget their parting words: “Marion, do you know Mike never came to see us even once the entire time we were on board?” I was stunned and speechless.
Second incident: Mike’s son Benjamin was working in Clearwater, Florida. One day in 1999, a colleague of Ben reached out to me to ask me if I could do something about Mike being out of touch with his son. Ben was very upset as he never heard from him. I went to see Mike and told him he had a very upset son and he is to call him now. Mike tried to brush me off, saying he would call “later.” I knew he wouldn’t, so I strong-armed him and said, “No, you are going to call him now” and made him get on the phone and call. It was an unbelievable scene: his own son begging to be in touch and even then, having to make a single phone call was a pain in the arse to Mike Rinder.
Third incident: In 2000, Mike’s mother, Barbara, had arrived on the Freewinds for the yearly anniversary cruise. Once again, both Mike and I were on board in a work capacity. I made a point of going to see Barbara the night she arrived. The next night I went to see her again. She said, “Marion, I haven’t seen Mike yet. Do you know why he has not come to see me?” She was visibly very upset and hurt. I couldn’t leave her thinking he didn’t care, so I said, “He will definitely be coming to see you.”
That next morning, I went to see Mike and told him what she had said. He nonchalantly responded with “I’ll try and see her.” I told him he had to see her today, even if it was for ten minutes, as it would mean so much to her. But somehow I knew he wouldn’t. As I couldn’t bear the thought of her continuing to be upset, I purchased a box of chocolates and a card, took them to Mike and ordered him to write her a note that I then put in her cabin. I knew this would at least make her feel he cared, even if he really didn’t (which was the case).
As I thought, he made no effort to go see her other than once the entire two weeks she was onboard.
And again, just as had happened with Andrew and Pat, as she was departing and I went to say goodbye, she asked me, “Marion, why doesn’t Mike want to see me?” What could I say? So I told her, “He does love you” to make her feel better, but it was a lie. Had I been truthful I would have said, “He is a cold-hearted scumbag and no matter how many times I said for him to go and see you, he just didn’t give a damn.” But I didn’t have the heart to say that to her. She was a 70-plus-year-old woman who had traveled all the way from Australia hoping to also see her son, a son who would not even afford her the time of day.
Fourth incident: In 2002, I was working with Mike on a writing project and we were sitting at a table that was about 4 feet wide and 6 feet long. He sat at the end and I was about two arms’ lengths down the table from him.
When Mike completed writing the first page, he just tossed the page on the floor beside him when he just as easily could have passed it down the table to me. This meant that I had to walk around the table and get down on my hands and knees to pick the page up every time he tossed one there.
After he did this several times, I asked him to please not do this and just pass them to me. He looked at me disdainfully and said, “What’s your f—king problem? It’s your f—king job,” and he carried on doing it. I had no choice but to keep getting down on my knees to pick them up. This went on the entire day.
Considering I am a woman and someone he has known for a long time, it was humiliating. Mike treated me as his lackey, and not even a “thank you” to boot. I have never, ever, worked with someone like Mike Rinder before or since.
Fifth incident: What took the cake was a phone call I had with his mother Barbara in 2010, in which she described an incident that had recently occurred. Mike had not been in touch with her for years, and she had basically given up on him. He had too many betrayals towards the family and her Church.
But Mike had come to Australia and while there, illegally intruded into her personal quarters when she was not there, snooping around in her dresser drawers and personal belongings. She told me she felt violated—this invasion of privacy upset her greatly. This was a son who had never given a damn to even see her when she wanted to see him, who suddenly “cared” (not) and had the audacity to invade her private quarters when she was away on vacation. I will never forget that conversation.
The fact is: Mike Rinder never cared about his parents, his sister, his brother, his wife or even his own children or any of his friends. He is heartless and cold—words that even his mother Barbara used to describe him, and it is how she felt about him when she went to her grave. Those words still ring true today.