The Fault In His Stairs

We had a young police officer who just wasn’t making it in training. After three weeks (you have to have real problems if you can’t make it through Phase I), he was released from Field Training, but he was a nice kid, so they moved him into a civilian security officer position at our library. I happened to be assigned to supervise the Library Security program at that time.

On his first day with my program, I arranged for him to get his uniforms and gear, introduced him to his co-workers, and showed him around the office. I would have one of the other security officers show him the rest of the library. When we had completed this orientation, about an hour and a half into his shift, we received a call of a medical emergency at the entrance on the first floor.

As we were in the basement, several of us immediately ran to the stairs to get to the first floor and provide appropriate aid to the victim. I assigned someone to flag in fire and paramedics, while a security officer who had already been on scene provided first aid. Nothing serious, thank goodness.

I looked around for my new trainee. Nowhere to be seen. I turned to the security officer that had followed me up from the office.

“Where’s Kevin?”

“He’s still on the stairs.”

“What? Why?” Now I was concerned that as we ran up the stairs, he had tripped and injured himself.

“Apparently,” the security officer said, “he has issues with stairs.”

I walked back and looked down the stairwell and, sure enough, Kevin was still walking slowly up the stairs, white-knuckle gripping the railing, hand over hand.

Issues with stairs. And that was the end of his shift. I later learned that the officers who had been training him had never had the opportunity to take the stairs with him. They had always taken the elevator.

As a post-script, I received a phone call about two days later, from Kevin’s mother. She demanded to know why her son was fired.

“Well, I think that the fact that we are having this conversation might have something to do with it.”