Living Smarter

The manager at the restaurant I worked at through college offered me some extra hours one weekend.

Quick thinking -- a key to living smarter

“Come in around 5 a.m., and we’ll clean out the walk-in refrigerators and coolers. I’ll give you $50 if you give me four hours of work.”

I needed the money and 50 bucks was a nice bonus in 1983. On that morning, we met out front as she fumbled with the keys and opened the door. The air rushed past as she entered the restaurant, and just as I started to follow her in, she froze and then put her finger to her lips to indicate the need for silence.

She backed out of the building, saying loudly, “Oh, my gosh! I left the coffee pot on at home. I’ll have to come back later.”

As we rounded the corner, she whispered, “Shhh, don’t move.”

I watched as she coolly got into her car and pulled around to the back alley. She parked the car close to the curb with the passenger side against the restaurant’s back door. Closing the car door quietly, she led me across the street to a bakery. She asked to use the phone and called the police, reporting that someone had broken into the restaurant and was still inside.

The police arrived quickly and used her key to enter the front door. Sure enough, the intruders tried to go out the back, where the car completely blocked their escape. After a few minutes the police arrested the suspects.

The men, with guns and criminal records, were foiled by all 4 feet 11 inches of my 20-somethingg manager. Having obtained her restaurant training and savvy in New York and Chicago, she didn’t panic, and in a flash, thought her way through the crisis from beginning to end.

I was so impressed. As the squad car drove away, she said, “OK, let’s get to work. We lost an hour.”

That statement alone was a testament to her self-reliance and efficiency. It was all just business to her — business she could handle just fine, thank you very much.

As we worked later that day, I asked how she knew there were men inside.

“The air smelled different and the temperature was not typical. I knew I locked up last night and didn’t leave any windows open, so the only way the air would have been cooler is if a window or door had been opened. Once I felt the temperature, I smelled the difference in the air, which was a mix of cologne, sweat and musty clothes — that’s how I knew there were still people inside.”

I had to hand it to her — that was a nifty bit of police work, and it got me thinking about how to live more defensively, or better yet, more aware.

Keep yourself -- and your identity -- safe.

A Sixth Sense

As a child in the 1970s, I recall my friends and I were enthralled by the silent power of David Carradine in the TV series Kung Fu. What was so admirable was his quiet manner and cool delivery of lines, along with slippery karate moves that were essentially simple dodges and feints. His character had a complete awareness of everything around him. Often he would utilize that “enlightenment” in combat.

For instance, in a fight with several villains, he would cut a rope holding a chandelier that then would drop on the bad guys 20 feet away.

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Living Smarter
  2. Grand Opening!
  3. Collaborative Programming
  4. Collaborative Programming
  5. April Showers …
  • Columns & Features
  • Departments
  • Writers