These Boots Were Made For Beeping

, , , , , , | Learning | February 11, 2019

In middle school, my class takes a field trip to a major government library to research a history project. It’s worth mentioning that at the time, I am a bit of a punk-y tomboy. They have some very sensitive and valuable documents inside, so everyone is required to go through a metal detector before they can enter.

Most of the class goes through with only minor hiccups, like forgotten change or house keys. Then I go through. The detector beeps, and I’m confused because I only have a cheap necklace on that I was sure wouldn’t set it off, but I remove it anyway and try again. Again, the machine beeps.

This prompts me to have to go through every pocket I have — quite a few as I like wearing cargo pants — and after a few more failures I even leave my emptied coat with the guard. Still no luck. Finally, they break out a wand to try to pinpoint the issue. The wand is silent until they get to my shoes, where it starts beeping madly, and I realize with horror that I completely forgot that the boots I’m wearing are steel-toed. The guards immediately break out laughing, as no one even considered the idea that petite, blond, thirteen-year-old me would be wearing men’s work boots.

I wasted about fifteen minutes of everyone’s time in the end, and my classmates teased me for weeks about being a shoe-bomber. At least they didn’t take my boots from me!

Literally Wrote The Book

, , , , | Working | February 8, 2019

(I work as a security officer. This means the location where I work is called my post, and what I am expected to do every day are my post orders. This week I get a visit from one of my many bosses dropping off some new equipment.)

Boss: “Just to give you a heads up, some of the higher-ups are coming by next week on Thursday and Friday to look over some things here and at [Other Site]. I’ll warn you: [Higher Level Person] likes to give pop quizzes.”

Me: “On what?”

Boss: “The post orders.”

(I then laughed and had to explain to her the reason this was so funny to me: I have been at my site for nearly five years. Not only did I update the seriously outdated orders after settling in, but I also keep them regularly updated, as the location has had construction and logistics changes over time. I literally wrote what this person plans to quiz me on.)

He Threw Away His Shot… And His Job

, , , , | Legal | January 2, 2019

My brother has been a member of the civil nuclear constabulary — a section of the British police force that exclusively guards the countries nuclear sites — for some time. The job itself is very mundane and quiet most of the time. The force has never fired a shot in anger in the more than 60 years it has been in existence and usually averages under 25 arrests nationwide per year. It does, however, have some stories from the past that are quite alarming. This one, in particular, was told to my brother’s training group by their firearms instructor.

This story happens in 2004, in a post-9/11 world that’s also seen a sharp increase in suicide bombing incidents. There are two types of guards at Britain’s nuclear sites: the true civil nuclear police who are a well-armed and well-trained force who wear full ballistic protection and carry a range of firearms, and the onsite security staff who are employed by private security firms, are not classed as police, and are armed with at most a baton and pepper spray. The security staff serves as gate guards and interior checkpoint monitors, whilst the police do roaming patrols on and around the site.

The security firm decided its employees needed training in how to handle a credible suicide threat, and thus had one of their offsite employees approach the front gate of a nuclear site wearing a fake bomb vest. Unfortunately, it slipped this company’s mind to inform the multitude of highly-armed police onsite that this was going to be happening.

This man approached the gate wearing a large coat, and when confronted by the security staff, he shrugged off his coat to reveal a very convincing bomb vest and started shouting at the guards. As this occurred, one of the police officers arrived behind him in a patrol vehicle and after stopping, quickly exited the vehicle, shouted a warning, and got as far as cocking his rifle to open fire when the guy spun around screaming, “Training exercise!” repeatedly whilst throwing himself on the floor with his arms outstretched.

The police officer held his fire, and after a rather tense period, the actor’s identity was confirmed and he was allowed to get up and remove his outfit. The police officer, incredibly, was reprimanded and dismissed for holding his fire. At the hearing, when he said he could have killed the man, his superior simply responded that he should have.

The instructor finished this story with the warning that the constabulary expected deadly force to be used against persons who were deemed a credible threat to life or the facility, and if anyone present felt they would be unable to pull the trigger they should get up and leave now. Three people of the 25 present got up and left.

So far my brother and every other member of the force has shot nothing but training targets. I hope their presence at Britain’s nuclear sites as a force in being is sufficient to ensure that it stays that way.

A Gluten For Punishment, Part 3

, , , , , | Right | December 29, 2018

(I work security and my main job is to check bags or folded blankets for prohibited items such as outside food/drink, knives, etc. We can make exceptions for medical reasons. One can also buy food, candy, and drinks inside.)

Me: *after explaining to a group consisting of a young girl and elderly couple that they can’t bring in outside food/drink*

Elderly Man: “This is gluten-free popcorn! It’s the only thing we can eat here!”

Me: “Okay, I can allow that. And the M&Ms?”

Young Girl: *scoffs, rolls eyes, and tosses candy in the trash*

Elderly Man: “Those were gluten-free M&Ms!”

(I give an apologetic smile but otherwise ignore him and move on because we’re swamped with people coming through the line.)

Me: *to the next lady* “Hello! Could I check your blankets, please?

Elderly Man: *appearing next to me* “THOSE ARE GLUTEN-FREE BLANKETS!”

Related:
A Gluten For Punishment, Part 2
A Gluten For Punishment

Mother Russia

, , , , , | Related | December 17, 2018

(I have been on holiday with my parents in Russia. We are now catching our flight home so obviously, we have to pass through border control. Although I am in my late twenties, I am baby-faced and quite short, and I dress very casually. A number of people we’ve met have assumed I am around 14 to 16, something we’ve found quite amusing. Until…)

Border control: “Passport.”

(I go first and hand over my passport. The officer looks at me, at my passport, and back at me. He frowns. He looks at my other documents and back at me, and then frowns again. He then reaches for a magnifying glass and begins to inspect my documents page by page, occasionally pausing to stare at me. My father goes through in about thirty seconds. My mother goes through after a minute or so, as she has to answer a few questions. I wait. And wait. And wait. After about five minutes, I see my parents poking their heads around to see if they’ve lost me. Another minute or two later, and I’m finally allowed through.)

Mum: “We thought we’d never see you again!”

Dad: “Come on, delinquent.”

Me: “Was it just me or did he keep me there for a really long time? I got really nervous; I thought he was never going to let me through.”

Dad: “Did he ask you any questions?”

Me: “No. I thought maybe he might ask me to take my glasses off, but…”

Mum: “You realise he thought your documents were fake, right? I could tell when I was stood next to you. He couldn’t put the teenage girl in front of him together with the 27-year-old woman your documents suggested you were.”

Me: “I have no idea. But at one point, someone else came into the booth and I thought, oh, God, I’m about to be arrested at Russian border control. But the other guy just wanted to unlock something.”

Mum: “You thought you were going to be arrested? He saw you with us. I was waiting for them to arrest us for child trafficking and was debating making a run for it.”

Me: “Thanks.”

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