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Control Yourself! And Your Kids!

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: imakep0werfromdasun | February 27, 2022

I work in the solar industry (mainly residential) as a service technician. Whenever something goes wrong with a Solar PV system, I’m the guy they send out to fix it. I’ve been doing this long enough to have the knowledge and skill to complete an entire installation by myself, with roof pitch and module count — within reason, that is.

I go out with one of the crews for an installation as they are short a few guys. It seems like a pretty standard job: forty panels and not a steep roof. We should be in and out, timing permitting, finished and back at the shop by four or five pm.

We arrive at the house in what looks like a pretty rich neighborhood. The homeowner greets us and even offers to grab us all breakfast. It is a good day so far. We set up an exclusion zone to prevent anyone from coming too close to the house as equipment, tools, etc., can fall off the roof. I’m on the ground working on building the electrical portion of the system. I’ve got my music playing, all is good, and I’ve got myself in a good rhythm.

I then notice a child, no older than seven, darting past the red tape we put up, heading toward a ladder to the roof, and trying to start playing on it. Like a human being with common sense, I run over and tell the kid:

Me: “You can’t play on this. That red tape is up so you can’t get hurt.”

Then, the kid’s mother appears.

Mother: “Don’t talk to my son like that. He just wants to play with your tools.”

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t allow him to play with our tools. I also can’t have him or you past that red tape. We put it up for your safety.”

Mother: “Oh, he’ll be fine. Just tell your workers to not drop anything.”

Me: “I can tell them to not drop anything all day, but that doesn’t exclude the fact that accidents happen, and we cannot risk anyone who is a non-worker being hurt. Now please leave; this is an active worksite.”

Mother: “I can do as I please and so can my son. We’re friends with these people, and they let my son play in their yard. You should take a better direction at talking to potential customers, you know.”

Me: “Ma’am, until I have site plans for an installation on your house, how I speak to you is not a concern I have. If I sound cross, I apologize, but I have now told you twice that I cannot have you past that red tape. So, I am asking once again, please take your son and leave before either of you gets hurt. This is an active worksite.”

She grabs her child’s arm and storms off, while also tearing off a section of the exclusion zone tape and storming over to her house two doors down.

A little while later, the panels are prepped, and the roof is based out. We’re now just finishing up the electrical before placing the panels into position. I’m running between the basement and the outside area. I get back outside, and I’m punching in some wires when I hear one of my guys yelling from the roof.

Coworker: “Hey, kid, what are you doing?”

That immediately catches my attention as I think the little kid has run past the exclusion zone tape once again. But my eyes catch an older kid running down the road with a solar panel in tow. Thankfully, he isn’t very fast with how he is holding the panel. I dart over to this kid with one of our solar panels and attempt to rip it from his hands, while simultaneously trying not to let it hit the ground. I am able to get my hands on it, but this kid actually puts up a fight and tosses the solar panel in a way that puts me in an awkward position, and he lands a full-on punch to my chest. Not gonna lie, it does knock the wind out of me a little.

But I go into full self-defense mode. The kid wants to take another shot at me since I didn’t completely go down. I immediately put him on the ground without throwing any punches; I don’t know how old this kid is and I don’t want to get into trouble for hitting a minor, but I’m not about to let this kid continue to hit me.

I have the kid pinned down on the ground, and out comes the mother, running and screaming like a banshee, the typical, “I’m calling the cops,” and, “You just assaulted my son!”

Me: “Your son was stealing a solar panel and punched me in the chest. I had to defend myself.”

Mother: “I told him to grab the solar panel! My neighbor said I could take one and try it out and see how I like it.”

At this point, my guys were at my aid, and I told them to call the cops and keep the mother away from me. As we waited for the cops to show up, this lunatic was ranting how she was going to sue all of us, and blah, blah, blah.

Cops arrived about ten minutes later. I removed myself from the kid and the cops split us all up to take our statements and such. The mother went with her story about how her neighbor said she could borrow a solar panel and try it out. Now, even if he did say that (which he didn’t) you can’t just let someone take a solar panel, because they still belong to the company. Most people who buy solar finance the panels and pay them off over the course of the next couple of years. It works a lot like financing a car.

It got to the point where the cops asked if I want to press charges for the assault. The homeowner had a security camera system and caught the incident all on tape, so I gladly said yes.

The homeowner was present during most of the ordeal, and he told us he’d never talked to that woman in his life. I have no idea what her intentions were with the solar panel. If she planned to just slap it on her house, she’s as stupid as she is entitled.

The kid was eighteen, so legally an adult. I have no idea when the court proceedings are going to be taking place. I honestly just want this over and done with.

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