Unless you're a celebrity or high-profile figure who's paying the big bucks, it's pretty uncommon to expect that someone else will collect your groceries for you. This instance is particularly more uncommon if you were to ask a random stranger dressed in a security uniform and no visible signs of working at a supermarket. During what he assumed would be an in-and-out trip to grab some coffee, Ryan was chosen as the lucky candidate to fetch a stranger's groceries and suddenly his 'quick' excursion turned into an absolutely insane, drawn-out affair. When an anything-but-pleasant stranger wouldn't believe he didn't work there, things got so out of hand that the cops had to arrive on the scene to straighten things out. Ryan's story is truly one for the books.
Ryan had reported to work on Monday morning as the Site Supervisor for an armed security account. Running a little behind, he opted to ditch his regular one cup of coffee at home and have two at work instead. When he arrived, he immediately walked into the kitchen and started for the coffee pot. When he got there, he discovered that the people that work the night shift had not only left him with an empty coffee pot, but had entirely cleaned him out of coffee grounds. He considered this a "true mortal sin" as he looked forward to his two cups of coffee a day, not too much, not too little, that motivated him to be on the top of his game even in the earliest hours. Yet considering he was so impolitely left with nothing but an empty container, Ryan sighed heavily, grabbed his jacket and made his next move to get his coffee...
Grumbling from lack of energy, Ryan climbed into his car. "It's going to be a long day," he thought to himself (if only he knew just how long indeed). Turning on the engine with a loaded yawn, he started to make his way to the local market to buy some much needed morning java to keep him alert through the busy day ahead.
As it was a work day, Ryan was dressed in his regular uniform; black pants, a dress shirt with his badge and various security emblems, along with his duty belt with his firearm, baton and handcuffs. Additionally, his jacket made it quite clear what his position was (or more importantly, wasn't).
"For the sake of those squeamish folk out there that go all white in the face when they see a firearm, I had donned a windbreaker with 'Security' written across the back in 6' high Day-Glo yellow letters. In other words, I looked NOTHING like any of the folk who worked at this market, whose uniform consisted entirely of a green apron."
Ryan turned into the supermarket parking lot and climbed out of his car. Although he probably could have handled what happened next much better, Ryan justified that it was a Monday morning (without coffee) and he was extremely grumpy.
Ryan entered the supermarket and made a beeline for the café line. He was standing just inside the door of the market, reading the chalkboard where they have written their menu when a middle-aged woman, medium height with long, dark brunette hair walks up to him and casually hands Ryan a slip of paper. Ryan initially took a step back, thinking she was trying to pass him. She was in a rushed and firm manner to whoever was on the other line of her phone call, and she refused to make any eye contact with Ryan.
"She never says a word to me, doesn't even really look at me, barely acknowledges my existence and just walks off."
Perplexed, Ryan takes the slip of paper and gives it a look. Suddenly, the woman makes a little shooing motion as if to say "get on it," promptly walks away and sits down on a bench by the door. "Uh, what just happened?" Ryan thought, staring at the woman. "This woman I don't even know just handed me this random paper, didn't even acknowledge my existence and walks off just like that?" Annoyed but curious, he peered down at the mysterious piece of paper.
The woman had handed him a list of groceries. "Seriously?" Ryan thought angrily. "Is this woman expecting me to get her groceries for her...?" He stomped over to her but decided he should keep his composure. He remembered that he knows absolutely nothing about this woman and maybe she happened to mistake him for someone else. When Ryan reaches her, he politely enquires as to why exactly she had seen fit to hand her grocery list to him, a complete stranger.
The woman finally appeared to be paying him attention, but with extreme annoyance. Her face scrunched up into a little ball and she swiftly rolled her eyes. "Excuse me, one moment please," she huffed to the other person on the line. The woman moved the phone a few inches away from her face and sharply pointed to it. "Fetch my groceries for me. I'm in a hurry and can't be bothered. I'm on a very important phone call right now, thanks," she snarls. She then returned back to her phone and shot Ryan the shooing motion once more.
Ryan continued to blankly stare at the woman. He thought about how he'd been going to this market for at least five years and they don't 'fetch' your groceries for you here. "After some consideration, I very carefully rolled her list into a tight little ball, dropped it on her lap, and loudly growled at her to get up and do her own shopping, turn around and walk off."
The woman was yelling something inaudible behind him but he ignored her and keep walking. "Crazy lady," he thought. "Now, where's my coffee?" Ryan assumed that the woman would be able to finally get a clue from seeing the bright Day-Glo letters spelling out 'SECURITY" on the back of his jacket. Instead, "the woman chases me down and starts yelling about how she's going to get me fired and I need to fetch her groceries right now!" Ryan feels someone grab his arm with force and he spins around. Trying to remain calm, Ryan politely but forcefully told the woman again, very clearly, that he didn't work there and that she needs to do her own shopping and leave him alone. The woman looks utterly shocked and freezes in her place, staring at Ryan with a gaping mouth.
Thinking that's the end of it, Ryan walks out of the aisle towards the café to get his much-delayed cup of coffee. "One coffee, please," he says to the man behind the counter, scanning behind his shoulder to ensure that the entitled wrench wasn't following him. He reached down into his pant pocket to grab his wallet. A minute later, Ryan picks up his steaming cup of joe and moves further into the store to peruse the selection of coffee beans for the office. Just then, the horrible woman appears in front of him with an employee. "She was loudly berating the employee about his lazy workers and demanding I be fired on the spot."
The poor guy looked confusedly at Ryan, then at her and says, "He doesn't work here. We don't employ security, ma'am." Ryan gives her a sarcastic "Have a good day" wave, throws her a smile, and says, "See? He's right. I don't work here, lady." The lady absolutely loses it. She starts screaming that Ryan needs to fetch her groceries right now or she is going to get them both fired. She went on and on about how she was such an "important person" and they both would "regret treating her this way."
Finally, the worker is able to a word in between her lunatic screams, informing her that Ryan doesn't work at the market and he doesn't have to do anything for her. Meanwhile, Ryan is wondering why this crazy woman won't leave himself and now this kind gentleman alone and let them both move on with their days. He peered down at his watch. Suddenly, a lightbulb seemed to go off on her head and Ryan sees a tiny glimmer of understanding begin to dawn in her eyes as they widen, but then it turned to something else.
The dim light in her eyes is quickly squashed by her over-inflated sense of entitlement as she promptly replies in the snottiest voice possible with, "Well, he's obviously a menial of some sort, make him." That was when Ryan lost it.
He shoved a one-finger salute into her face and told her emphatically to go screw herself. "To say this got me a tad riled up is perhaps an understatement." The worker quickly got between the two of them, holding them both back with his hands as she lady began charging at Ryan. He turns to the woman and loudly but calmly reiterated that Ryan didn't work there and that she needed to get out of his store immediately. She didn't take kindly to this.
"She literally screamed at the top of her lungs, no words, just rage." She started demanding to see someone in charge so she could get them both fired and find someone to get her groceries, all the while making threats of suing the baffled pair as they clearly didn't understand just how freaking important she was.
The worker had had enough. "The gentleman, who I had naturally assumed was the manager, promptly got right back in her face and yelled over her that he was the owner, his family had owned the place for 20 years, and they had never in all that time done someone's shopping for them, ever. He then grabbed her by the arm and literally dragged her off towards the front of the store."
Ryan could do nothing more than shake his head in disbelief, then finally make his selection of coffee and head to the front of the story to pay. As he waited patiently by the register, the owner walked up and apologized for the lady's behavior. They both began laughing, bonding at the stupidity of the situation. The owner even tried to offer to let Ryan have his coffee for free, but he thanked him and told him it wasn't his fault that that lady was a nut and that he was more than happy to pay for it.
As they continued to chat and started to head for the doors, Ryan thought that must have been the end of it and that he could peacefully return to his car to drive back to work and start a regular day. Unfortunately, he was wrong.
The automatic doors slide open and the pair are shocked to see the crazy lady screaming at a police officer. Yup, she actually called the cops on them, going on her same insane spiel of they needed to be arrested for not collecting her groceries, how they needed to be fired for this terrible, terrible offense, and how she was going to sue for her obvious mental anguish in this whole mess.
"My jaw dropped. I don't mind saying it. I was beyond shocked. I honestly started laughing at that point. This lady was certifiably nuts."
Yet through his profession, Ryan happened to work closely with the local PD and he recognized the officer that had responded to the call. Officer Betsey gave him a wave when she recognized it was Ryan. She grinned and walked up to the two of them to get the real story.
"We gave both their sides of the story and the owner asked that she be removed from the property as she was at this point causing a scene." After hearing both sides, Betsy promptly rolled her eyes then walked over to lady, who was now red-faced and clenching her fists so hard that her knuckles were turning white. Betsey told her that she needed to leave right now or she would be charged with trespassing. What Ryan saw the woman do next was even more shocking than anything the woman had done up to this point.
As she reared back and started to go off again, the lady actually jammed her finger into Officer Betsy's sternum. Not once, but twice. She was about to do it for the third time, but when she started to move her hand back again, Officer Betsy picked her up, flipped her over, and dropped her on her head.
Betsy jumped on top of her, peeled the woman's hands behind her back and handcuffed her in record time. Then she leaped back to her feet, opened the back of the patrol car and slid the woman in the seat while slamming the door behind her. We all just stood there shaking our heads in total disbelief as the lady started to scream and thrash about, kicking at the windows of the squad car.
Officer Betsy threw us an exasperated grin, jumped in the car and sped off. I could still see the woman rolling around in the backseat as she drove away.
"Saw Officer Betsy later on that day, and she told me that the woman was still throwing a fit when they got to the station, and fought the officer's there until they ended up stuffing her into a control chair. She was later transported to the hospital for a psych evaluation." When Officer Betsy drove off, everything, as far as Ryan was concerned, was over and done with. Even though it was extremely frustrating in the moment, given some time, Ryan knew it would become an amusing story to tell friends and family about, but nothing more. A year and a half later, a long time after the dust had settled, Ryan discovered some startling and upsetting news.
Early one morning, Ryan and Betsey went to grab a quick coffee and catch up before both their shifts. Out of curiosity, Ryan asked what ended up happening to the crazy lady at the supermarket. He didn't expect to hear this:
While the woman, whose name was Rose, was in the psych unit for 72-hours, she almost killed herself. According to Officer Betsey, they resuscitated her and she got shipped off to a more secure mental health facility after her suicide attempt. She spent two weeks there and ended up having to do mandatory weekly visits to a psychologist for a year after that by court order.
When Ryan heard this, his heart sank. He suddenly felt too nauseous to drink the rest of his coffee, resting it down on the table outside that faced the park. He felt bad for her because no one should have to go through that. He couldn't imagine feeling down enough to think suicide was an answer to their problems. It turns out that Rose's husband, Steve, knew about her problems and deliberately kept her from getting the help she needed because it might hurt his career. In other words, he was more concerned about his job than his wife's mental health.
Steve was an attorney working for the City Council in civil law. He was high up at the City Attorney's office. As soon as he was contacted that she was in custody, Steve showed up at the jail demanding Rose be released immediately into his custody and that all charges be dropped. He threatened to get his important friends on the City Council involved if they didn't make the entire incident go away. They told him that the charges wouldn't be dropped. When Steve's demands weren't met, he went to the Chief of Police. He wanted Ryan, Officer Betsy and the store owner arrested. He claimed that Officer Betsy should be arrested for excessive use of force as Rose had a bruise on her forehead after she and Betsey's quarrel in the supermarket parking lot. He believed Ryan and the store owner deserved the same for 'assaulting' his wife while she was in the store. The chief told him to "pound sand" about releasing her as that was up to the DA. There was an investigation carried out when the security tapes were reviewed, Steve was once again told that the charges would not be dropped. Yet this wasn't enough for Steve and he had to take more drastic measures to get what he wanted.
Over the course of the next 8 months after Steve's freakout, the supermarket got inspected 6 times by the City Health Department and 4 times by the City Fire Marshal. Their taxes were audited by the State. Steve was pulling any strings he could in attempts to get the store shut down, and he would continue his ploy against Ryan's employers.
Andy, Ryan's boss and company owner, received a call from Steve demanding that Ryan is fired immediately, or "bad things would happen to the company." The office manager, Misty, had spoken to Steve first and he made much the same threats to her. Misty decided to record the conversation at that point, and so the entire incriminating, hate-filled speech Steve shouted over the line was conveniently stored as evidence. Misty also contacted their lawyers as soon as, "I'm going to sue" left Steve's lips (sound familiar?).
Trying to take whatever government action he could, Steve then tried to get their business license revoked but to no avail. Andy was NOT standing for this and immediately filed a lawsuit. After a year of legal proceedings, Andy was able to settle out of court with a nice sum of money to help plumpen his retirement account. As for Steve, his crazed attempts at crushing anyone who 'opposed' his wife left him in ruins.
"There is a happy ending to this as dear hubby was retired from the City Attorney's office while the ink was still drying on the settlement agreement my company got with the city. As for Rose? She got better, thank God, and the misdemeanor assault charges that were filed against her for poking Betsy and the three other officers at the jail she went after as they tried to book her where all dropped, and she just got the court mandated psych help she really needed. Apparently, she divorced hubby for the long-term psychological abuse she had suffered at his hands and took him for every dime he had, all the way down to his shorts. She did end up apologizing to the owner of the store but not to me. But by the time all of that took place, I wasn't working at that company anymore, I was happily retired, and she couldn't find me."
FINALLY, Ryan could put this crazy ordeal to rest, almost two years after that fateful, groggy Monday morning when all he wanted was a cup of coffee.