43. Close call
About 15 years ago I was working at the smallish company. They had about 75 employees. The owner of the company ended up selling it and the new owners came in and cleaned house. They fired about 15 people. A guy that I worked with (I’ll call him Dave here) was one of them. Dave was shocked that he was fired. Most people didn’t get along with Dave because he was odd. He had a short temper and sometimes yelled at people and he had some personal grooming problems like bad dandruff and body odor so many people were glad to see him go and it was no shock to many of us that he was fired.
About a week after the mass firing I am at work and get a phone call from Dave. He tells me that he wants to take me out to lunch as a way of saying thanks for my recently teaching him how to run a few different machines. That knowledge will help him get a new job. I agree to go and a few days later he shows up at lunch time. I had assumed he was taking several people from there out, but it turned out to be just me.
At lunch things started off fine then got strange. He was upset about being fired and was angry. I let him vent and sympathized with him. He had been then several years and felt betrayed. As lunch starts to wind down he tells me that I was one of the few people he liked there and that there were people there that he would love to hurt. It was a little strange, but I just thought he was still venting. We get in his car to drive back and he starts telling me how easy it would be to lock the doors from the outside with boards and burn the place down or to “do damage” to it. As we pull into the parking lot he tells me not to worry that even if he could hurt some of these people I was his friend. The way he said it really gave me the chills.
I said goodbye, got out of the car and went inside. There was a window near my boss’s desk that looks out to the parking lot. I could see Dave’s car from there. He wasn’t leaving. He was just sitting in his car. Lunch ends and everyone goes back to work and Dave was just sitting there. I tell my boss we need to call 911. Dave said some strange things I think he might try to hurt someone. My boss called 911 and the police get there within a few minutes. The talked to Dave, got him out of his car and then put him in the backseat of the police car. They then used his keys to open trunk. In the trunk they find a few boards, some rope and a few guns.
They talked more to Dave and he agreed to be taken into custody and to get some help. I don’t know if he would have done anything, but the way the building is designed, had he decided to he could have shot a lot of people in a very short period of time. I was so freaked out I couldn’t work the rest of the day.