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In Deep Water And Deeper S***

, , , , , , | Working | March 23, 2022

I worked for a major private security company in Hawaii as a site supervisor for quite a unique property. This location was a 400-ish-acre valley that had once housed munitions for the United States Navy. Created in 1935, it was either nearing completion or already in service when Pearl Harbor was attacked. We have reason to believe it also served as an internment camp at some point during the war. When the Navy left in 1993, they left behind 200 or so munitions caves which were blasted into the sides of the mountains making up the valley. These massive bunkers would become industrial storage for rent sometime in 2005.

On this particular day in 2017, we had just experienced massive storms that sent the property’s river over the low-lying bridge between the two halves of the valley, rendering it unusable to any of our tenants.

I found out about this as soon as I came to work. I drove directly through our lower gate system into the forest to close the gate that would block access to the bridge so no one would get the bright idea of trying to Oregon Trail the river and get swept all the way down to Pearl Harbor.

When I arrived, I found that the water was about two feet over the road deck and moving furiously. I took my pictures, locked the gate, and started documenting the closure of half of the property.

One of our tenants rolled up behind me. He was a long-time member of the valley and was well aware of the bridge issue when we experienced heavy rains.

Tenant: “Hey! Open the gate!”

Me: “Sorry, I can’t. As you can see, the bridge is underwater.”

Tenant: “How do I get to my unit?!”

Me: “Sorry, [Tenant], but as you are well aware, when this front bridge is out, it means E row is inaccessible.”

Tenant: “I don’t give a f***! Open the gate!”

I sighed and gave his vehicle a once-over. He was driving a two-wheel-drive 1985 Ford Ranger that was sagging horrifically due to the trailer hooked up to it. He had about as much hope of getting to the other side as I did with my 2013 Mazda 2.

Me: “Sorry, no. At that depth and speed, you wouldn’t make it across with that vehicle. It’s against policy for me to let you try.”

Tenant: “What did you just f****** say to me?”

Me: “I said no.”

Tenant: “Do you know who you work for?!”

I deposited my report into my clipboard and closed it with a smile.

Me: “Yes.”

I proceeded to give the tenant a rundown of the admittedly very complex chain of command that the property used at the time, at no point mentioning his name.

Me: “Feel free to contact—”

Tenant: “Bring your supervisor down!”

Me: “I am the supervisor, and no one above me is in yet; it’s only 7:00 am.”

Tenant: “Well, I want that d*** gate open right now! I’ll take the risk!”

Me: “No.”

This went back and forth several times with the tenant getting angrier and angrier. Other tenants pulled up, watched in amusement, and left.

Eventually, the tenant told me that he was just going to wait until I left and cut our lock, and he was not very pleased when I reminded him that he was a tenant, not an owner, and that willful destruction of company property would get him evicted and trespassed.

Tenant: “I don’t f****** care! Maybe I want to leave this place! You can’t stay here all day.”

Me: “You’re right. I can’t!”

I reversed my own car and blocked the gate off, summoning my staff member to bring me the truck. I left my personal car blocking the gate system. Now, if, for some reason, the lock was removed, there was still a hatchback blocking access.

The tenant eventually left and filed a complaint against me only to be told off by my direct manager.

About four months after leaving, in April of 2020, I saw on the news that, during another storm, someone disregarded the orders of security and attempted to cross under similar circumstances. They were washed away as soon as they made contact with the water in a heaver and taller vehicle than what the tenant had that day.

The driver was lucky to survive and had to be rescued by helicopter while his truck was, of course, a total loss.

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