Another tale from the files of the Amazing but True!
This happened this morning. It is a true story but the names have been changed to protect the innocent and the dumb.
First some background:
We have a messenger, his name is…let’s just call him messenger X. Messenger X has worked here for several years as a walking courier. He walks because he is deaf. We communicate with him via text messages and since he works so hard he does pretty well for himself.
We have a client; well we have thousands of clients… let’s just call this client, client Y. Client Y is in the entertainment industry. Client Y often has us deliver various props back and forth around town for commercial photo shoots. They are very nice people but like many in the “entertainment field” they can sometimes be a bit…hmm…how can I put this in the most gentle way possible… clueless.
The incident in question
This morning client Y called in a pick up of a large envelope from the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan to Dumbo in Brooklyn. Messenger X was dispatched this pick up. Messenger X is also holding another pick up for a second client. That delivery is going to the Wall St area to a building with many government offices. Messenger X’s dispatcher…let’s just call him, “Wild Bill”, instructs messenger X to make the Wall St area drop before going to Brooklyn for client Y’s drop. Now it gets interesting.
In order to get inside of the building near Wall St to make his drop off, messenger X must go through a security checkpoint. In the paranoid era we now live in this is a common occurrence and our couriers know the drill well enough. Take off your bag, empty your pockets, take off your shoes, get padded down, go through a metal detector…get prodded and poked, you know… in countries that are bursting with freedom such as the good’ol US of A this is standard operating procedure. The bottom line…messenger X’s courier bag containing his personal belongings and also the large envelope going to Dumbo is put through an x-ray machine. When the security officer looks at the screen shot of messenger X’s bag he sees the outline of two automatic weapons. Now it gets really interesting.
They grab the bag, they grab messenger X, they start shouting questions at him…BUT…messenger X is deaf and although he reads lips very well he cannot understand what they are shouting at him. The building now goes to DEF-CON 5. The police are called and two cars arrive in minutes. Messenger X sends a text to Wild Bill….”being detained by Homeland Security…..two guns were in my bag…HELP”.
Wild Bill calls client Y and ask them…”what was in the envelope going to Dumbo?”….Client Y responds, “two prop guns that we used in a photo shoot”.
Now the whole ball of wax reaches my desk. First I call the client whose delivery was going to the building where messenger X is being detained. I explain the situation and that they have nothing to do with this but could they please call the building and see if someone at that end can go downstairs and help since the officers holding messenger X are refusing to call us. Secondly, I call client Y and carefully explain to her that fake prop guns are a very dangerous thing for couriers to cart around town in their bag. Client Y is incredulous and is astounded that anyone would confuse a fake….but very real looking….gun for an actual weapon. I calmly ask her what country she has living in the past 10 years?
Suddenly a call comes in from the officers holding messenger X. I put client Y on hold and take the call. The officer explains that they now realize that messenger X was just a messenger who was deaf holding two fake automatic weapons and not a trans-national terrorist….Whew…and that they were releasing him shortly but were keeping the fake guns and by the way, your client should never send these things around by courier… no kidding officer. Now I put the officer on hold and tell client Y that they have confiscated the guns and you might not get them back. Client Y has a meltdown. She tells me that her boss might fire her and that those guns were worth a lot of money and what are we going to do about it? I resist the urge to let her know just how dumb that sounds but I do tell the officer on the other line what client Y told me. He chuckles and says that they will call our client and tell them when they might be able to come down and sign for their property whereupon they will…”have a little talk with her”. Just another Friday at Breakaway Courier.