Racket Man Our New Honorary Security Guard
The saying you never judge a book by its cover is an understatement. While working as a Security Guard for Overton Security, I was always encountering numerous unwanted persons, mostly homeless, mentally ill and aggressive panhandlers. When dealing with these individuals I have learned that you cannot judge them by looks alone. These individuals are custom to being mistreated and are defensive. I’ve found the best policy is to be understanding and respectful while interacting with them. There is one story that sticks out and I use it when training inexperienced security officers. Although he never bothered anyone, there was a regular visitor to the Center that attracted attention due to his unkempt appearance and the fact he always seemed to be talking to himself. But what made him stand out is that he always carried a tennis racket around with him. We had to caution him about swinging his racket on the property for safety. We began to call him Racket Man.
Not long after, while patrolling the Center, I noticed Racket Man sitting on the ground visually upset, yelling and crying. He was bleeding and had bruises on his face and body. Racket Man explained that he was attacked by seven young gang members and they had taken his prized tennis racket. I called for medical assistance and the Police Department, and Racket Man was taken to the nearest hospital. The security guard staff felt terrible and wanted to do something for Racket Man. We set up a donation bowl, and in no time we were able to buy him a new Racket. Not long after, we located Racket Man waiting by a bus stop. I gave him the new racket and expressed our concern for him. The look on his face was of pure joy. He could not believe it and began telling us his passion as a young man for the sport of tennis. We all felt great, and more importantly, Racket Man had a brand new racket to practice with.
One day Racket Man seemed eager to tell me something. He said he saw two males breaking into vehicles in the North parking lot. He said they used a type of device that shattered windows quietly. One of our security guards caught the suspects inside of a customer’s vehicle. A total of six vehicles had been damaged by these two suspects. Police arrived and placed them under arrest. I looked over and saw Racket Man talking to himself, and thinking, that no one would have believed that he had been the person responsible for solving this crime. I no longer call him Racket Man. He calls me Ile and I call him Tim, as I would any other good citizen. What I learned from Racket Man, is that by treating him with respect, he respected us in turn. He had a great perspective of the Center and he became a valued asset by alerting us to unwanted activity. Again, “You can never judge by its cover. – Ile Tran, Overton Security Sacramento Regional Manager