Working at NeXT was always a privilege in my eyes. So many comments on here about people of authority, now at NeXT, are so far off the mark it truly reminds me how bad people are at both portraying these people and perceiving what they are like in real life.
Steve and Laurene both were and are down to earth people. If you saw Steve and never took the time to say hello then you're probably the type who'd rather vilify or enshrine him, but if you did you'd see a normal guy with a wry wit.
I've heard the same from many ex-NeXTers, certainly only found him as willing to spend some time on some Atari-days stories when I had the privilege to chat with him for a few minutes one time in the NeXT days as well, and it always just ticks me off when *(&&@*#^$()*&*!s who didn't ever work for/with him, know him at all, or even meet him, can take the time to just call him an egomaniac and a-hole. So far from the guy I met, doesn't sound like this story or your experience either.
Pleasant to work for at all times? Haha... No, I've heard wonderful dressing-down stories, but even the people who were part of those had a deep respect for him and thought he was an incredible guy. Hell, he really made a difference.
Anyways, nice to hear actual everyday tales. Not the things books are made of, but good stuff.