I used to be a security guard, on the graveyard shift, in a school buiulding in Downey, CA. At 3:50 a.m., the Sunday after the Whittier earthquake of 10/1/87, I was just sitting at the desk and the whole building–two story and maybe a quarter-mile to a side–started to shake. I headed out the door! Fortunately the only effect was that an alarm–on a door that hasn’t been used in years–was tripped, and I reset it. That was scary!!!
Back at a defense contractor I worked for one time we had a bomb threat phoned in. This would have been a perfect place to hide something like that in too, much like any factory. Lots of innocuous electronic devices and process equipment.
The cops finally showed up about 30 minutes after we had alerted them, performed a 60 minute cursory search and proclaimed the building to be safe. Yeah right, the building was about 20,000 sq. feet and stuffed to the gills. I think they just gave up.
Needless to say, every employee left for the day. They never did prove who actually called in the threat, but the estranged husband of one of the employees was suspected and questioned several times.
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
My scary work experience wasn’t at work, but on the way home…
When I worked in DC, the firm would pay for a cab home after 7pm, but not EVERY NIGHT, so every now and then I’d ride the metro.
One night I rode home and was the only one to get off at my station. There was a man walking around sort of aimlessly on the platform. The guards were nowhere to be seen.
As I started towards the escalator, he turned and started to follow me. So I stopped and pretended to be interested in one of the big plastic lighted maps on the wall. He stopped, and started circling around again. I was terrified.
I waited until he got to the farthest point in his circle, and RAN up the escalator, RAN all the way to my apartment. It usually took fifteen minutes to walk from the station, and I made it in about five. In heels.
Once, when I was waitressing, one of my fellow servers slipped on the wet dishroom floor and completely severed the tip of one of his fingers on a broken glass. I’ve led a (thankfully) very sheltered life, and this was probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen. All I could do was just sit there with him, yelling for a clean towel to try and stop the bleeding, while someone else ran to call for an ambulance.
I was really pissed off that my boss wouldn’t let me, or anyone else ride to the hospital with him. After my shift was over, I went to see him, and the info. desk people said that no one from the restaurant had even bothered to call and check up on him.
I only worked there for one more week, and the whole time I was scared to death everytime I had to walk into the dish room.
When I was on a carrier in the Indian Ocean we were all sitting in the shop one morning goofing off. No planes were flying because we had just taken on fuel from an oiler. An announcement came over the PA system that there was a major fuel leak in an engine room. Not a really big deal as things like that happen a lot on a carrier. A minute later they announced a fire in the same engine room. That’s certainly not good but not really unusual. 30 seconds later the PA blasts “The fire is out of control, abandon four main machinery room. General quarters, this is not a drill, all hands man battle stations.”
That gong-gong-gong alarm really gets one’s attention. If the pucker factor wasn’t enough just then a panicked guy ran by our door. He was heavily covered in soot but to us he looked, well, charred.
The rest of the day was not fun. Seven guys were killed in the initial fire and we didn’t stand down for over 24 hours. Helicopters were dropping off more fire fighting foam and breathing apparatus to get us through it. Fire is a really scary thing on a ship because it’s not like you can stay at a motel if your house burns down. The ship itself wasn’t in danger but you can be sure we were all making sure our life vests didn’t have leaks and there were fresh batteries in our strobe lights.
I am an alarm operator/dispatcher for a security system company. About two months or so ago I was leaving work at 11 pm. The street I work on isn’t in the ghetto or anything, but it certainly isn’t the country club section of town, either.
When I came into work that afternoon, I’d had to park quite a distance from the building. I glanced down the street at my car and noticed a ruffian-looking guy standing/walking by my car. He looked up at the same time and we made eye contact. I expected him to slink off into the shadows like a normal shady type, but he came running up the sidewalk toward me. I turned and ran, and as I rounded the corner to go up the stairs and back into the building, I glanced over my shoulder. Sure enough, still right behind me. I managed to get inside and call the police. They knew him from my description, talked to him, nothing more. It’s not illegal to run toward people, exactly.
I was glad to get out of there, but I felt sorry for the 3rd shift person. She was pregnant, too. That was her last night on the job.
A little background info first: a coworker of mine was having an affair with another coworker and they weren’t even being discreet about it. This went on for about a year and then she decided to divorce her husband so she served him the papers. A few weeks later, the husband showed up at the office, screaming his head off and attacked the other man. He grabbed him by the collar and choked him (the other guy promptly fainted). Security was called in and hubby was escorted out of the building. No charges were laid (Why? Who knows?). Everybody was in shock and we were all relieved that the husband didn’t have a knife or a gun with him. Today, she’s my boss and they both still work together.
Why should I care about posterity? What’s posterity ever done for me?
- Groucho Marx
Hmmm, I would have to say that the scariest thing at work happend to me. I was on a really steep roof and was being really careful so that I wouldn’t fall down. Eventually, I had to deck the bottom half of the roof. Decking is really slick, and I really didn’t want to fall off so I built a platform so I wouldn’t hurt myself. Well, while I was building the platform, I shot a nail strait through my thumb. Who would of thought that a nail gun could put a 16 penny nail right into my finger? It really sucked afterwords though because the nail stuck in and was a barbed nail, ouchy. Peirced thumbs just aren’t cool.
What you see is what you get, but you haven’t seen anything yet.
I was an assistant manager in a pizza place. A HS girl who worked there was cleaning the machine that flattened the dough between two rollers. Though you were not supposed to do this, it was common to open the machine up and hold a spatula-like metal thing against the rollders to clean them.
She made a mistake, and it was while I was walking around the corner, so I saw the whole thing. Her finger caught in the roller, and it quickly took her up to her elbow. Blood dripped from the bottom of the machine and she was screaming.
I pulled the plug quickly, told someone else there to get her in my car, and I ran out to start it and pull it around. The trip to the hospital, with her screams, is something forever entrenched in my head.
Fortunately, it turned out to be a lot worse that all of us thought. She had relatively minor skin damage and the blood turned out to be from a small puncture where her nail broke off. Nothing was broken, though the whole arm was swollen, sensitive and badly discolored for a few weeks afterward.
But still, watching it happen like in slow-motion, and the car trip afterwards, was horrrifying.
I worked on ore freighters a couple of summers in college. At the bow of the ship is a compartment, about 30 feet high, that has a single hatch at the top that is above the waterline when loaded. This is so that if there is a collision, the water won’t come pouring into the rest if the ship. No one is supposed to work in there when the ship is loaded, because it is about 98% under water at that time and there would be no escape (30’ straight up?) if a hole was punched in the hull. It still needs to be maintained, however, so when the ship is riding empty and only the bottom two feet are in the water is when the crew is sent in. We had scraped it already and were applying the rust-inhibiting red lead paint when the sun came out. With a 30’ × 30’ steel wall sitting in the sun, the temperature got up over 100° and the fume-laden red lead paint started really pumping out the gas. They did pull us out, eventually, and had us knock off for the day–but not before I had found myself painting a section on the starboard side with no memory of when I had moved from the port side and only a fifteen foot length of two-inch angle iron stretched between my last position and my current one, twenty feet above the deck.
I was working for a delivery company and it was a rainy day out and I was driving a 1990 Ford Van. I was in an industrial area along a residential strip and, as usual, in a rush because our deliveries had to be completed in a certain amount of time. Traffic was stop and go, but I had managed to get up a bit of speed and was on this strip where the road was bordered by small but deep drainage ditches.
I found a clear patch of traffic and had gotten up to around 45 mph, when something distracted my attention for a second and when I looked back, this big tractor trailer had stopped in the road ahead. I hit the brakes and that ass light, crappy van promptly skidded seemingly like forever – directly at the rear of this monster rig. So, I cut to the right because traffic was a steady flow on the left and figured that wrecking in the ditch was safer. I went off of the road and just as the van started to tilt into the ditch, there came this heavy thud and the front end bounced up. The semi was by then on my left and as the van’s front bounced up, I hit the gas and plowed onto a dirt driveway I had not noticed before! I went right onto it, straightened up, and plowed off the other side IN FRONT OF THE SEMI, and back onto the road.
I kept right on driving as if I had meant to do that, but about a mile down the road, I had to pull off to make sure I had not stained my pants. I figure God must have been watching out for me that day.
“Think of it as Evolution in action.”