It is July 2010. I was still a loss prevention agent, or ‘LP’ at a large big box retail chain store. I spent the majority of my day walking around the sales floor looking to catch shoplifters stealing. LP was a sweet job if you have a touch of sadism as violence was always a possibility. This is one of the mild ones:
I received a frantic call from the front end supervisor begging for LP to the front registers to protect them from an increasingly irate customer. One of the few job duties I took very seriously was protecting my coworkers. The situation was escalating quickly in the 30 seconds it took me to arrive on the scene he had been joined by two of his buddies. All 3 men were over 6′ tall easily over 200 lb. I’m behind the men to the right watching from a few feet away watching the scene unfold. Tension is building in my stomach. I already know what I’m going to do I just have to wait for the moment.
My mind is racing with possible scenarios: Who do I confront first; what needs to be said; how ‘strong’ do I need to present myself; and physical position to ensure a successful single punch knock out is inputted into my brain like data bits from a computer. I can feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins; my mind is racing, and my heart is fluttering with hyper focused attention on my target.
Quickly the leader charges at the terrified manager. I have my moment. Running up to the leader before he can assault my coworker I shove him back into his friends and in a thunderous voice proclaim to the group:
“You are done, you are not going further”
I cut him off mid sentence in the same voice, “I don’t care; you are done, get out of my store. Now.”
His friends, previously stunned at the 6’3″ 280 lb man getting in their face begin to advance on me. I am facing a 3 on 1 situation with no back up, but I didn’t care. Nano-seconds feel like eternity when analyzing the situation 3 moves ahead: Step forward knock out leader in one punch. A kick to the shin, and punch to the temple should take care of the second guy. Hopefully I can do that before the third guy has time to react….
I can feel the crowd of customers watching the situation unfold waiting silently in anticipation. Before I put action to my plan the leader backs his group down, and gets ‘taken care of’ by an assistant manager. But my job was done.
That was the first situation of many where I was called to protect my coworkers, and wouldn’t be the last. The store employees looked at me differently from that day forward as word spread of the incident. They knew they were safe. Its a peaceful feeling.