#TBT If You See Something, Say Something

Small Black SuitcaseIt is 1999. I am in Sydney, Australia, teaching. Our classroom is in a cylindrical building that stands out on the Sydney skyline. You know this building if you’ve seen ‘The Matrix’. It’s across the street from the ledge Mr. Anderson uses trying to escape.

The Olympics are being held here in less than a year. In preparation, they are stepping up security everywhere. After we return from lunch, an announcement is made on the public address system:

Attention Floor Wardens: Today’s drill is scheduled to begin at 14:00 hours. Proceed to the staging area with your helmets and vests.

In my class: two systems guys from the Royal Australian Air Force. We make jokes, then begin the afternoon session and work for a couple of hours. Then, another announcement: “All floor wardens please report to the staging area.”

We make jokes about security in general, and for the Olympics specifically. This is pre – 9/11. My RAAF students have VERY strong opinions about security. It is their favorite part of my curriculum.

After the afternoon break I resume my lecture. We are in a darkened conference room, lit only by my projected course materials. Suddenly the door opens about ten inches. I can’t see who is outside. A black metal suitcase slides through the narrow opening and the door is pulled shut. I look up at my class and laugh.

“Great. On the day they’re doing the drill.”

We all laugh. I resume my lecture.

The boys from the RAAF aren’t having it. They actually stop the class and tell me we don’t proceed until we find out what’s up with the black metal suitcase. They aren’t kidding.

I open the door and ask the receptionist about it. She has no idea. I go out to the cubicles and ask if anyone knows about the black metal suitcase that was just inserted into the training room.

“That’d be an overhead projector,” says one of the sales guys. “I just got back from a sales call – didn’t want to disturb your class.”

Best of intentions.

If you see something, say something.