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Training Good Boys Doesn’t Exempt You From The Bad Ones

, , , , | Right | June 4, 2021

I train dogs for a chain pet store. The training arena is in the back corner of the building. It has a solid three-foot wall and another three feet of plexiglass above that with a solid door to enter or exit. People often stand outside and watch. Unless they seem to be recording or taking photos of the class, this is totally fine. I am teaching one of my beginner classes when a student interrupts me.

Student: “Hey, [My Name], there’s a guy out there.”

She points behind me. A phone is visible through the plexiglass beside the door. As soon as I open the door, the guy puts his phone down, still pointing the camera toward the arena. He’s wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses, a hoodie, and jeans, and he won’t look directly at me. Everything about him makes me suspect he is up to something, but I still maintain a professional attitude.

Me: “Hello. How can I help you?”

Man: *Defensive* “I’m just getting some tips.”

I smile, gesturing at the phone in his hand.

Me: “I’m sorry, it’s against policy to allow—”

He not-so-subtly tilts his phone so the camera is pointed up at me.

Man: “I’m not hurting anyone by standing out here.”

I move my hand so it’s covering his camera’s view.

Me: “Sir, I’m going to have to insist you leave.”

Man: *Stepping into the arena* “This is a public building! I am an American citizen and I have the right—”

Student: “Dude, get out of here!”

The student stood and approached the man quickly and he left. Later that same shift, a manager approached and asked my side of the story.

According to the man, I cussed him out, insulted and made fun of him, and then tried to bully him into paying me directly instead of enrolling in the class. I told her what actually happened and which class it was if she wanted to contact the other students or watch the security cameras.

She called every one of my students and they all told the same story I did. The man came back a few days later, smugly expecting compensation for how disrespectful I had been. The manager silently stared at him until he left.

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