Sometimes I used to think that I was Job and God was having fun at my expense. In the early 1980’s (long before cell phones) one Sunday evening at 7 pm (after I had just consumed a bottle of wine), I got a phone call from a security guard from The Hellfire Missile Division of Rockwell International in Duluth, Georgia. He inquired if I were the same Ed Katz who owned Peachtree Movers. He said he had one of my movers in his office, and I needed to pick him up.
During my 45-minute drive to Rockwell, I couldn’t figure out what happened. That day we had 24 men and three trucks doing a “shuttle” office move (where you simultaneously load and unload trucks at both the old and new locations while the trucks shuttle back and forth between both buildings) but that move was supposed to end at 5 pm.
Upon my arrival at Rockwell, the security guard gave me the rest of the sad story. That day we had a few newbies (new employees) on the job, and one of them was just 17-years-old and still in high school. Apparently near the end of the job, he went to the bathroom. While he was “in the can,” the crew finished working and left. When he came out of the restroom, no one was there. He pushed the elevator button but to no avail since it was a secured building, and the freight elevator doors were locked in the open position at the loading dock. He was on the fourth floor and ran to the windows overlooking the parking lot and frantically banged on them trying to get the attention of the crew that was entering our vehicles and driving away. No one saw or heard him. (It should be noted that no moving company takes roll at the end of a job to ensure all are accounted for.)
He tried to use several desk phones but couldn’t because he didn’t know to dial *8 to get an outside line. There were two emergency exit doors on the floor. However, both had large red stop sign warnings that stated, “Alarm will sound if door is opened.” The fear of the alarm alerting the police prevented him from opening the doors.
Two hours later, while the security guard was making his rounds, he heard someone sobbing on the fourth floor. Following the sound, he found my mover on the floor behind a desk leaning against the wall. That’s when the guard called me.
Of course, Rockwell was located 30 miles north of my house and the poor mover lived 25 miles south of my house. When I finally got home around 10 pm, before I indulged in another drink, I developed our new “Bathroom Policy,” which was this: you must tell your supervisor and two other crew members before you go to the bathroom. If you don’t, and you get left behind, do not call Mr. Katz to pick you up! The policy obviously worked—well, let me put it this way: I never had to retrieve another employee who was left behind!
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