Friday, December 2nd of 2016 began like every other Friday morning had before it. The air wasn’t as cold outside as you would expect for a NYC Winter day but it was crisp and fresh. I remember feeling good that the weekend was about to begin and although I didn’t have any plans, I was looking forward to it. After all, it was the holiday season and the most magical time of the year. I thought to myself that I could even just take in the decorations, dancing lights, and walk until my feet were cold. I continued to page through the latest emails and was distracted by something which made me look up from my desk. There were four clients already waiting at the glass door. I caught the phone display out of the corner of my eye as it went from 8:59 to 9 am, heard the click of the lock, the swing of the door and the whisper of the colder air as it rushed in the beginning of the work day.
We were not scheduled for any monthly system tests but as I turned, I found a disheveled man at my desk begging for my attention. He and his partner were from a fire system company, first timers to the Office, and were unsure they were at the right place. Handing me the 3 part carbon work order, the disheveled man announced himself. This was brilliant planning I thought to myself as I read through the service section. It would be an audible alarm test while the Office was open and on a Friday when clients were already waiting at our door. I picked up my phone to dial facilities to put our system into “test mode” so I could send Jim and his partner off to the basement. I stopped listening to him when I heard my client call out my name from across the Office.
I had already met with several clients and returned phone calls before the Duo again were at my desk. Jim handed me the completed 3 part carbon work order for my signature as he told me we were all set. I laughed. I asked him if he noticed anything irregular with the test and he shook his head. I turned as I started to speak and motioned him to follow me as I walked away from my desk. He wasn’t aware, apparently, that we had two areas of the Office where fire doors rolled out of the ceiling to section off those areas and keep a fire from spreading. As I showed him the door and pointed out that it had malfunctioned, I explained to him that he would not be able to leave the Office until the door issue (it had only retracted back into the ceiling about two-thirds of the way) was resolved. Minutes later, both were on the ladder peering into the ceiling. By this time the phone was ringing non-stop, clients again were waiting to be assisted, and I already had a client at my desk.
I thought to myself, no, I’m changing my mind. This is going to be much worse than other Fridays. It already is going in that direction. I could never have imagined how right I was and what would happen next. This was one of those times where you look back wishing you had never been right.