While I was developing the Anniversary Blog, I kept thinking of something that happened at work a bit back. I don’t know why I thought of it just then, but it wouldn’t shake loose from my thoughts. I now wonder what is the link between the potential Darwin Award story I am about to tell you, and my story about anniversary flowers?
But, then and again, I’m known for bouts of non-linear thinking.
A few moons ago, I worked at an institution of higher learning essentially doing the same work I do today. Contrary to popular belief, these institutions – ooops – I shouldn’t paint them all the same color – this institution proved to be fertile ground for producing a generous crop of potential Darwin Awards.
The day of my story, I got into work my usual time. As I was settling into my chair, I noticed that the message light on my phone was winking. Have you ever had that split second thought of “don’t check the message, ‘cause you’ll be sorry” and you check it anyways to find that you should have listened to that little voice?
(Panicking) We smell smoke in the building. Can you come over quick?
The message was left an hour previous. I had walked by that building coming in to work and I hadn’t noticed any shooting flames or fire trucks or any other excitement, so I took a safe bet and called the Caller to find out exactly what was going on.
Me: You still there? I guess the fire department came and everything is okay.
Caller: No – we still smell smoke and we don’t know where it’s coming from.
Me: Pull the fire alarm NOW!! Get out and call 911!!!!!
Me: NOW !!!!!
After muttering a few curses and fighting the urge to bang my head against the wall until it all went away, I ran over.
When I got to the building, the fire department had arrived and was already investigating. This was way too fast for the time between my putting the phone down and making it to the building, if Caller had put the 911 call in. Someone else had, and it would have been minutes previous to my conversation with Caller. Following up on this later, unpleasantly I found out that the convoluted path I suspected as having been taken, which ended with the fire department’s arrival, was true.
The alarm bells weren’t ringing, thus no one had evacuated the building. For sure I wasn’t going into the building until the “All Clear”, so speaking to Caller and getting the full story was out of the question for however long this all took.
In the end, all was well and it wasn’t smoke they smelled.
I later talked to Caller and from our conversation gathered that a group of them had actually deliberated together for a good half hour about what to do. Then they called me, leaving the message. I asked why no one had called 911 or pulled the alarm.
Caller: We were afraid to get the $1000.00 fine for a false fire alarm. Our boss wouldn’t have been happy.