What Would You Do?

ImageWe have all had them – those bizarre experiences where we react and then seriously question our own actions.  This morning I had two rather controversial events happen.  I just wonder how other people might have reacted.

Just to paint a little background… People outside the UK might not know what a Local Authority is (or local Council).  They are government departments who manage the individual districts of each city in Britain.  I rent a home from a Local Authority in London.

This morning, the Local Authority was sending a plumber to replace the toilet cistern.  I was about to wish they hadn’t bothered.

At 10.30am, the plumber came knocking.  I can detect alcohol from a mile off.  This manImage looked like he was plain and simply pissed drunk.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I cautiously decided to let him in.  Just as he was stepping past the threshold, he trips on the doorstep and literally falls through the doorway. 

He’s embarrassed.  Pulling himself together, he tries hard to avoid eye contact and heads straight to the toilet. I feel sick with nerves, but allow events to unfold because I’m trying to get close enough to smell for alcohol.

We are both about to regret this moment.  At last, his mouth opens, Oh, I’ve brought the wrong type of cistern, I’ll be back in half an hour”

Of course, the fumes that are howling from his breath were unmistakable; a pungent smell of alcohol and stale tobacco, mixed with an odour of dirty clothes and God only knows what else.

Alcohol….drunk men… stale tobacco… all have triggering memories for me and perhaps I’m about to take my reaction too far.

ImageI watch from the window as the plumber staggers outside, jumps into the driver’s seat of his Local Authority van, and drives off.  I quickly note down the registration number plate.

Immediately, I telephone his Supervisor and explain what had just happened.

 

“Really”? He said in a matter of fact manner

“He’s not allowed back on my property

He has no questions or even a shaddow of a doubt and responds quietly, “I understand”.

In that moment, I decide toImage call the police.  Only 5 minutes had passed, still enough time for a Police car to intercept the plumber somewhere between my property and the workshop.

As if things were not dramatic enough, bizarre event number two was about to unfold. 

I’m just hanging up the phone to the police when there’s a loud crunching noise coming from outside.  Right in front of my window, a car has hit another car that is parked at the roadside. 

The driver stopped to inspect the damage and then promptly drove away.  In the short space of 5-10 minutes, I was taking note of my second car number plate of the day.

ImageI reach for the phone, but hesitate.  I lift the handset and then hesitate.  I put it down. Pick it up.  Put it down…  How can I call the police within seconds of reporting another crime?  Will they think I’m sort sort of crazy Scotsman out on some sort of vigilante mission?  Huh, Cat the bounty hunter, indeed!

The car outside has some minor damage – a huge score along the backside.  If it were my car, I would die.  However, I was too paranoid to report it.  Silly, really.  Under the darkness of night, I might put a note on the windscreen, providing the offending car number plate.  On the other hand, perhaps I might rather not be involved.

Tonight I feel guilty for the plumber.  Perhaps he will lose his job.  I wonder if Police arrested him.  Will it put his family in hardship?  Should I have handled it differently?

So, my dear friends, if these two bizarre situations happened to you, what action would you take?

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43 thoughts on “What Would You Do?

  1. Ashana M

    I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to report the plumber, but I would wish I had reported later. He just got in a car drunk and drove off and could have killed someone. If it were my child you saved from death that day, I would have been very grateful to you. (I did actually lose a childhood playmate to a drunk driver.) And, yes, he probably lost his job–it sounds like this was the most recent in a long line of incidents–but maybe that will turn out to be the final push he needs to get his life together. You never know. I totally see your point about the second crime. But let’s hope someone else happened to look at the window and make the call instead. You did your duty as a citizen. Good work.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I have a childhood friend who was knocked down by a drunk driver. Fortunately, he kept his life but, unfortunately, he is severely physically and mentally impaired. Drinking and driving is a no-no for me and I would report anyone for the offence. However, it is still difficult to think of the heartache this causes the worker and his family. I hope this will be a turning point for him. Many thanks for commenting, Ashana

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        1. Cat Post author

          I worked in drug and alcohol rehab for 7 years. That is why I immediately detected a drink problem. I am also concerned that the plumber’s employer did not pick up on his problem and offer the appropriate support

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          1. Ashana M

            It sounds a little like the employer might have noticed the drink problem, but not done anything effective or supportive. It’s a sad situation, that’s for sure. I can understand why you would feel sad about it.

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  2. Eric Tonningsen

    Without hesitation, I would have promptly contacted the appropriate parties/authorities. Period. Crime, irresponsibility, damage and/or disservice all need to be brought to the fore. The plumber needs help. Your action may have been the catalyst toward that.

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  3. merryquitecontrary1

    I would have felt the same as you. Alcohol breath is a very serious trigger for me. But I think you were right and brave to report him. Don’t worry about him. It could be the wakeup call he needs. And you may have saved a life getting him (hopefully) off the road.

    I think it was wise to put the note on the windscreen. You did two fine and courageous things.

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    1. Cat Post author

      The entire experience has been very triggering. My head is all mashed up today, made worse because no one from the local authority (his employers) have even made contact to apologise or check on my well being. It kinda makes me feel the guilty party!

      Thanks for visiting, Merry

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  4. Susan Irene Fox

    Good for you for reporting the plumber on both counts. His job isn’t your responsibility, it’s his. Taking him off the road absolutely saved lives, if not today, then tomorrow. As for the second, I might have called the police back and started my conversation with, “You’re not going to believe this, and please don’t think I’m a lunatic, but….” 😉 As the saying goes, s*** happens, yes? Bravo. Good Samaritan: 1 Drunk driver: 0

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    1. Cat Post author

      One of my concerns is that he so obviously looks like he has a drink problem. His employers – the Local Authority – should have been supporting him and keeping him within strict supervision. Surely I am not the only person who recognises his issue with alcohol…

      Thanks for your support, Susan. I hope you’re doing okay

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  5. kat

    my first inclination would be to call the proper authorities each time; however, by the time the car accident happpened, i too would be judging how i might be perceived by others, but not quite in the same manner as you felt. i would instead be afraid of retaliation from either the plumber or the accident-causing driver, or both, IF i reported (‘told on’) both of them. oddly, if i only reported one of them i don’t get this fear of retaliation….hmmmm-probably something to analyze there!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Kat…. actually, you hit the nail on the head. I’ve already been a victim of violent crime, so I was afraid of the retaliation, not so much from the plumber (although it is still at the back of my mind) but definately from the passing car/driver. I’ve been stressed out about it and took extra care last night to lock up. My only saving grace is that the plumber was too drunk to later remember my face on the street…gulp…but he knows the address ;0)

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Kat

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  6. Grace

    I would have felt more timid about reporting the plumber than the guy who crashed the car. I don’t know why that is as it definitely is so important to report the plumber; so I really think you did the right thing! I can understand why you didn’t report the other guy though… but I like the idea of somehow reporting the license plate anonymously.
    You did a good job.

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    1. Cat Post author

      My nerves have been shattered over the plumber, Grace. The response – or lack of it – I have from the local authority – his employer/my landlord – is shocking. I might write about it later. Not only have I been wound up about that situation, at the back of my mind, I fear retaliation. I’ve already been a vctim of violent crime, so will probably be over-sensitive.

      I have to confess to doing nothing about the car incident. It is still sitting outside my window. It all feels a little too much to bare!

      Many thanks for your feedback. Your on going support is very much appreciated

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      1. Grace

        Even if they don’t do anything about the plumber, you still tried your best to save other people from him. It’s not your fault if the guy doesn’t suffer any consequences now.
        I think it was very brave of you to report him. And as far as the car incident is concerned, I guess you can still take your time and think about it for a while.

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  7. mindretrofit8

    Goodness, I am not sure how I would have responded. Most likely, I would have done what you did with the first scenario then, I would have felt panic rage through my body having to call for a second time. Although, I tend to get a little freaky about being a “crime fighter” some days I think that I am a super hero or something so I may have pushed through my fears and called again. However, I have no idea what I would have done. The first guy would have sent triggers soaring all through me too and I would not be my “normal” crime fighting self.

    It was good that you called on the plumber, he sounded dangerous to himself and to others.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I think the plumber was a danger to everyone. It’s a concern that his employers didn’t recognise the alcohol issue. It was very obvious. There is more to come on this saga, so will try update it later or tomoz

      Thank you so much for your on going support

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  8. RisingSong

    Well, I think I would have followed your steps exactly on the plumber. You had to call the Local Authority, just to make sure that they did not send that fool back to your property…I call that self protection. And to be sure that that fool did not kill somebody’s kid or somebody’s mom or dad on the road, you had to call the police…I call that public protection. Thank you…a man like you could be the one to save one of my kids.

    As far as the second incident, I can understand your reluctance. I would have thought that the police may not take me seriously on the second call. This situation was different, though. The damage was already done, and no one was hurt (the first situation held the potential for somebody getting hurt). In this case, I would have left the information anonymously on the windshield, so that the owner of the damaged vehicle could at least get compensation. It would be their place to call the police.

    Tough situations, but in my eyes, you handled them well…love the stairs graphic at the end!!

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    1. Cat Post author

      It was a tough situation that is still affecting me today. I couldn’t bare to take on the car incident.

      Many thanks for commenting RS. Hope you’re doing okay

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  9. Gel

    I would have done the same things you did in both situations.
    In the first I would have felt fear of the plumber taking revenge on me later (I always think “worst case scenarios”), but It’s very likely he was too drunk to remember enough about the situation. Unlike you I would have not worried about him losing his job. I am a recovering alcoholic who has been involved in AA for years and because of this I have heard many many alcoholics talk about their stories. A lot of people were enabled by others’ who didn’t want to report them because of concerns like yours. A lot of alcoholics need the wake up call like exactly what you provided in this scenerio (tough love?). And some employers would fire but some are willing to give people second chances and even offer leave of absence for treatment. Maybe this plumber got the latter.
    It’s sounds like the situation with the plumber triggered stuff for you. When that happens to me and I’m not sure how to respond, I usually try to get input from trusted others’ before taking action. But in this case you had to do something in the present. It seems a wise choice, what you did. Like others’ have commented, this drunk person could have killed other people and himself…so you were using “protective use of force” which has a place. I commend you for doing this, even at the risk for your own safety (possible retaliation). If I had any concerns about retaliation from the plumber, I might consult with others’ I trust on this to get support and perspective on whether my fears are warrented. Even if the risk is low, it can reduce stress for me if I worry about it but nothing comes of it.
    On the second one….It wasn’t clear to me – did you put the note on the windscreen? I’m not as sure about that one. I probably would have put the note on but I’d have worried that, as a witness, I might be called in to testify if there was a legal action…(again, my mind goes to worst case scenario). So I’d be taking that possibility into consideration too. Or maybe you could leave the note anonymously? I feel fuzzier about what to do on that one. Setting aside my fears it seems like the best idea is to provide the info to the victim.
    Finally ~ doing what you’ve done here seems really healthy…reaching out to others’ for input and empathy.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you Gel. The support from you and everyone commenting has been immense. I have been a victim of violent crime, so do have a niggling fear of retaliation, more so because his employer has shown no support for me. (I will write an update later) The saga continues…

      I have worked in drug and alcohol rehab and a recovering addict myself. I can tell from a distance when someone has a problem. It concerns me that the plumbers employer is evidently missing providing the man with the support and strict supervision he so obviously needs

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  10. stacey1979

    You did the right thing with the plumber and I think leaving a note for the driver of the damaged car is also best (anonymous, but stating that you were a witness not the driver). If the driver doesn’t report the incident within 24 hours it’s a criminal offence (leaving the scene of an accident; as I learnt when I didn’t report reversing into a neighbour’s car immediately. They saw it, didn’t approach me but phoned my registration to the police…not a fun evening seeing as I’d only just learnt I was pregnant with Porglet Maximus and had friends over for dinner!). Hope the rest of the week isn’t so eventful for you!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Cheers Stacey… Unfortunately, the saga continues and I’ve been on a full blown BPD drama. It’s difficult to shake. I haven’t done anything yet about the car. It’s still sitting in the same spot. I might do as you suggest about the anonymous note. That sounds a nightmare time reversing into the neighbours car…lol…sorry, it was a wee bit funny!

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  11. brokenbutbeingrepaired

    You did absolutely the right thing regarding the plumber. I probably would not have done it, would have thought that I wouldn’t be believed or that something awful (and probably irrational) would have happened if I had.
    If he has a drink problem, his family if he has one probably suffer from his addiction, already.

    Think putting a note on the damaged car is really the best option.

    Poor you, cat….what a day!
    x

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thanks Bbb.. it was a stressful day, which has spilled into today. It’s been difficult to shake and today I’ve been in a full-blown BPD drama! Thanks for dropping by….much appreciated. Hope you’re doing okay

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  12. hubertwrites

    You did the right thing Cat, somewhere down the line you may have saved his life and the people he would have run over. Event 2 was a car? well I would have done and thought the same as you, I would have lifted the receiver up and down like a yo yo until I was too tired to do it again, prayed for the event to turn out RIGHT and left it alone.

    I have had a bad day today FIBRO brain and very bad depression I laughed when I read this maybe I shouldn’t have but i found it funny, I’m glad you are safe.
    Thank for this post eh? I mean eh! eh is Canadian eh?

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    1. Cat Post author

      I laughed about it today…. sometimes life can be bizarre, eh?

      Is that fibromyalgia pain? I know all about chronic pain, so can sympathise. Hope you’re feeling better soon

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      1. hubertwrites

        Hi Cat yeah I have had some TBI’s and I have Chronic Fibro lol I am never sure what is causing what????????

        But your right life can be Bizarre eh!! or a, no not a eh!

        Proper Canadian grammar

        Today is worse yet my head feels like its been speared by an Eskimos harpoon yuk

        It’ll pass

        God Bless you Cat

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  13. Chatte Nocturne

    There was absolutely nothing wrong with your reaction! If it were possible, I’d done the same thing (though in Mexico there’d be no one to report to, or they’d just laugh at me). As for the second bizarre event, I would’ve been in doubt too and probably I’d just make a note with the plate and leave it in the parked car. I think it’s normal that since we’re used to thinking about ourselves as people with MH issues, we’re not always confident enough about our reactions, even though we should be.

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  14. Red

    You handled it far better than I would have. I would of tripped the plumber on his way out the door and then held him hostage until the police arrived. I don’t do well with drunks. (lol) I think you handled it well and yes justly as your actions possibly saved someones life. As for the car, if it were me I would leave the note, of course written in a disguised hand. 😉

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    1. Cat Post author

      As it turns out, things became so difficult over the plumber that I gave the car a miss. However, the same car has been sitting there for a few weeks and maybe even stolen and dumped….lol…so I may need to call the police again after all

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  15. A Gay Mentalist

    Hi there, those do seem like really difficult situations, and i’m not sure what I would do in any of them, except that i’d probably get more and more anxious, and hearing the crash would probably set me off into thinking all sorts of things linked to the plumber. Personally I think you handled things pretty well. I had a situation fairly recently which was pretty minor, and people online were saying I should call the police, I was umming and ahing for ages, as I thought I was just being paranoid, and that it was probably nothing, I found out later, there was nothing suspicious happening, but it did seem odd to them, though they gave me an explanation. I felt so guilty afterwards for even calling, which would make me less likely to call in the future for anything similar.
    Best wishes

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  16. Athena Brady

    Hi Cat, sorry you had such a stressful day, there is no piont in beating yourself up about it. I think you have enough on your plate without worrying about others. You do what you thought was best and your concern was for other people.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thanks Athena. I’m not sure if I have already replied to your comment This is just another thank you, if I have. I’m still beating myself a little bit but it will pass along with all the other carp! Cheers for dropping by

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