Friday, June 27, 2008
By Richard E. Noble
One thing that a business owner must think about that doesn't enter the mind of the average person is getting robbed. Having had experience in managing businesses for other people, I was aware of this problem when I opened my own local business. Eventually I had three cash registers in my little ice cream parlor each containing $150 in start up cash. I know that doesn't seem like much money but 450 bucks is a lot of money to some people. I won't mention all of what I did in my local business to protect myself, my wife and the little bit of money I accumulated daily because it was probably illegal.
The police and all the experts tell you that if anybody confronts you, don't resist - give them all your money and hope for the best. But after reading a number of stories about all the whackos out there, who rape, murderer and kill people just for the fun of it, I questioned all the authoritative advice. I had a small baseball bat under each cash register - along with other things - and I told my wife that I would be attacking anyone who tried to rob us. We had an attack plan. I felt that rather than being carted off in the trunk of some insane person's car, shot six times in the face and then dumped off the edge of a cliff, I would go out fighting. I am very happy to report that no one ever tried to rob us.
But I have a rather interesting recollection from my days as a restaurant manager in the "big" city.
I had been instructed by the company to make daily deposits each evening at the night deposit drop at the bank. But the local newspapers were full of stories about people getting robbed in just that way. On top of that on many occasions, I didn't shut down the restaurant until as late a two o'clock in the morning. It didn't seem wise to me to be pulling up to a night deposit box at two o'clock in the morning and strolling up to the box with five or six thousand dollars. I opted to hide the evening deposit in the floor safe and make my deposits during the day. Of course, this meant on a long weekend or on holidays when the banks were closed, I had a lot of money in my tiny floor safe back in the manager's office.
Things went fine for quite awhile. But then one evening I got a call at four or five in the morning. It was the police. They had been called by the security alarm people who gave them my number. They wanted me to come down to the restaurant as quickly as possible because they felt that they had a robber trapped inside the restaurant and they needed the man with the keys.
When I got there the place was surrounded - there were cruisers everywhere. The second I stepped out of my car, I had five guys all over me. I told them who I was and they brought me over to a plain clothed detective. He explained the situation to me. He wanted me to open the back door with my key, disable the alarm, and proceed as quickly as possible to the light switches. I was to snap on all the lights and the cops would take it from there.
I went over to the back door with the key. I turned off the security alarm. I opened the back door.
At this point the detective, or whatever he was, came up behind me quickly. He put one hand on my left shoulder and then stuck his revolver arm under my right arm pit.
"Okay, we're going in. As soon as we get in there I want you to go to the nearest light switch."
I started to move forward as he shoved me from behind, but then I stopped. I said, "No offense, sir, but it doesn't seem to me that the person with the gun should be standing behind me. Shouldn't you be in front of me?"
He said, "Yeah well, I don't know where the lights are and what if the guy in there is armed and starts shooting?"
I felt that was my line.
"That is a very good question," I said. "Shouldn't the man who has the training in dealing with this sort of behavior be going first?"
"Well, that's true and normally I would but I am retiring next week and I have seen too many of my buddies end their careers just like this. I've been looking forward to my retirement for a very long time and I am not about to screw it up now."
Naturally understanding the problems of professional working people and compassionate to their plight, I went forward in the dark with his gun arm projected from under my right armpit and his body protected behind my body. I rushed to the nearest light switch and flipped on the lights.
Just in case you are wondering, the bad guy was inside but he didn't shoot and I'm still alive. I do hope my friend the detective had a long enjoyable and healthy retirement.
Hobo-ing America and A Summer with Charlie are books written by Richard E. Noble. They are both for sale on Amazon.com. Richard Noble is a freelance writer and has been a resident of Eastpoint for 30 years. If you would like to stock his books in your store or business he can be contacted at email@example.com.