Chicago - Dec. 11, 2017
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I Am A Security Guard: 10 Degrees And Topless

Around 5:20 on a recent morning, a woman walked into the store and said she needed help. She wore a pair of blue corduroy slacks. She had nothing on her feet or above her waist. In short, she was topless.

The lack of clothing surprised me. The temperature had dropped to 10 degrees.

I reached for the phone. First, I paged the Cool Assistant Manager. Afterward, I called the police. While I described the situation, the woman lunged at me, beat my arms and chest and yelled. I pushed her back with my right forearm. She sat on the floor. The police arrived and escorted her out of the store. An ambulance took her to a hospital.

Coworkers cracked jokes about the incident for weeks.

The overwhelming majority of shoplifters and bad characters don't resort to violence. We escort shoplifters peacefully to the office for questioning. Visitors who create a disturbance usually leave the store when we tell them.

Unfortunately, some people attack. That's when the fun begins. All of the store's guards have had legendary scrapes.

The Head Guard and a partner once nabbed two women for stealing cosmetics. The women wrestled with both guards just inside the entrance. They had to be dragged into the office. Afterward, the perps' gangbanging friends parked in the store's lot and briefly waited for the guards.

The Head Guard has a wife and three children. He's no fool. He decided to take a vacation until the heat cooled off.

Another guard grabbed a man stealing candy. The thief resisted. They fell and rolled on the carpet. The thief cut himself on a cart. The Cool Cashier called the police, who came right away.

My encounter with the topless woman caused some chuckles at the store. I've had two other incidents, however, that did not generate laughs. They put me in very hazardous positions.

One night a beggar walked into the store. I told him to leave. He refused. I found an assistant manager, who repeated the request. The beggar pushed him.

I grabbed the man in a bear hug and dragged him out of the store. He called the police and claimed I beat him up. He also told the same tale to his family. The man's son-in-law came to the store and yelled at me.

I had a bit of luck. The store's security system and the assistant manager backed my side of the story.

The support, however, did not ease my fear. Unfortunately, I spent the next two months looking over my shoulder just in case the man had vengeful friends and relatives.

One woman who had been previously banned for stealing caught me off-guard. I stopped her at the entrance and told her she could not come into the store. She rushed me with both arms lifted upward. I grabbed her by the forearms and pushed her back outside.

As she walked away, she lowered her right hand, That hand held a screwdriver. Somehow, I had missed it. I spent the rest of the shift thinking about the weapon and my lack of health insurance.

In theory, a security guard merely serves as a visual deterrent. That suits me just fine. The instructor for my first security gig reminded my class about the importance of coming home from a shift in one piece.

Reality, however, is different. The guards are occasionally forced to defend themselves. That threat of violence hangs over the crew on every shift.

When I stand at my post, I think about the next confrontation. I size up everyone - men, women, even big teenagers. I ponder my chances if they act aggressively toward me or someone else. The customer's age, disposition, gender, or size does not matter to me.

I don't turn my back off anybody.

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A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. He welcomes your comments.

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See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in our Life at Work collection.



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Posted on December 23, 2010


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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