With A Gun To My Head
What would you do? We have all heard the horrific stories of work place shootings. We have been distant witnesses to schools invaded by disturbed individuals who commit murder. Everyday we all walk into situations that could potentially put our lives at the mercy/ or in danger of loosing them. The thing is most of the time we have no way of knowing until it is too late.
Mine is a story of disbelief. I walked right into a powder keg one day. My small business dictates that I have to venture into the unknown, with an unknown variable. PEOPLE. There is a trust factor that both parties must be in agreeance . We walk into their homes, we are exposed to and entrusted with their things, parts of their lives. I have ALWAYS preferred that we be allowed to do our work without the presence of others. That is why we are licensed, bonded, and insured. These are the things we do to make our clients feel better about us being in their houses. They give us keys and alarm codes trusting we will come in do the work, lock up, and leave. Some are at home, not a major problem or issue, simply not a preference. However, all we need is the ability to do our work without their interference (i.e. not in our direct line of work).
Recently, life dealt a client some pretty rough blows and his response was to escape rather than deal with it. He did not have a long distance to go for his refuge, it was in a bottle. We walked into his escape with what we thought was significant armor, we were wrong. Upon our arrival we found him in a state that made us, well lets just call it uncomfortable. As impersonal as I try to be and as I want to be, humanity always manages to come out. I would have simply left had I been alone, but that was not the case. We proceeded as though everything was alright, but everything was more like all wrong.
I saw the weapon, it reminded me of a canon. I am not a gun enthusiast, so I know little about them. What I did know was that he had a big gun , it appeared to be a real gun, and this client was half dressed(shirtless and shoeless) and he was drunk. My husband/work partner saw it and he knew much more than I did about guns. There we were basically stuck and the only thing I could think to do was proceed with caution as though all was well, but to move as fast as possible.
Like a police negotiator my husband kept this guy engaged in conversation while attempting to work. He was wanting to talk, he needed an ear. I literally RAN the vacuum over two floor levels. The dusting was hit and miss, in my mind in his state he would never know the difference. The animal hair was gone, the visible surfaces in the baths and kitchen were clean, we were out of there in about 50 minutes. For that 50 minutes we were held hostage, whether it was implied or real, it felt the same. No sudden movement, watch what you say, watch where he was, and keep an eye on that gun. All this while you try to do what you normally do. My biggest fear was that he was going to attempt suicide and we would be witnesses to it. However, upon our departure I thought of how much danger we were in personally. It took hours to clear our heads and get beyond where we had just left. We were physically and mentally exhausted.
I never thought about the danger one puts oneself into when they enter the home of another. You are at their mercy, in their territory. I am seriously looking into a different type of business venture. I anticipate it will be sooner than I originally planned.