Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Surprise Visitor

In my line of business, we have certain services that are intended to help people with immediate, tangible needs, even though those services are not our primary mission.

Right before closing time, I received a text message from my assistant, who was on her way home. Yes, I know—texting while driving. What can I say? I’m a whip-cracking task master. She informed me that there were emergency vehicles in front of our main building.

I interrupted my meeting and headed over. I saw a fire truck and an ambulance parked right outside the visitor’s entrance. Since I was not feeling like a hero, and my medical training is limited to WebMD and Wikipedia, I took my time to get there. By the time I arrived, the Hero/EMTs had already taken the visitor into the ambulance.

My Director of Operations, Maintenance Supervisor, and Receptionist were all standing around the welcome desk. Although I knew I would get a written report anyway, I asked for the details.

A suicidal man walked into the building, distraught and asking for help. He pulled out a can of bug spray and repeatedly sprayed it into his mouth. Since their medical training is no better than mine, they called the real professionals.

A chill ran up my spine as I took in the scene. I am so glad that all he brought in was a can of bug spray. There are times when those who wish to die are not content with ending their own life. They take others with them. I’m so thankful that this visitor did not bring a firearm into the building. If he had come in with a firearm, there would have been no one there to stop him and this would have been an entirely different post.

Not that I have anything against firearms; I own two—they are inert, emotionless and possess no malice. Instead, they are only dangerous as a result of the actions of an untrained, inattentive, or evil individual.

Time to review our security policy.