Security Guard

by Steve Smith from North Vancouver, BC
Sep 28, 13

I work on the east side of Vancouver’s Gas Town. It isn’t quite the downtown east side but it’s close. It’s near the new Woodward’s building, the statue of Gassy Jack and an ever-increasing number of coffee shops, restaurants and furniture stores that have opened in the last while.  

A couple of floors in the building where I work are being renovated for a high tech movie company. Fibre optic cable is being pulled and the old warehouse space is being updated. During the work a security guard has been hired to watch the front door of the building. He is about five foot six and may weigh 140 pounds on a good day. He wears a black and white uniform that hangs on him and military style black leather shoes that are always polished and proper.  

It is a little unclear to me what form of security he provides: The door to the building is locked and people either get in with a security swipe card or they are buzzed-in by a tenant in the building. I guess he was hired to watch out for people who may sneak in after others swipe or get buzzed. 

But our security guard has a welcomed addition. He always brightens up those moments as you rush to get out of the rain and into the warm. He offers a smile, comments on the weather and wishes you a good day.  

A few weeks after he took it upon himself to open the door for people. I think he liked this progression from security guard to doorman. He took to it as though this was really what he was cut out to do. He started by opening the door for people who were getting their swipe card out of their pocket. And then he started opening the door for people he recognized. And then he started opening the door for the construction workers or the people who looked like they may be construction workers.  

Before long there were complaints that people were being let into the building who were just trying to get warm.  

And this led to someone having to speak to our security guard. I don’t know who spoke to him, but it became obvious when I came to work this morning that something had changed. Instead of standing by the door, he was back on his stool. And he didn't get up to open the door for me. He still gave me a smile but it was clear that things were not the same. 

He seemed slightly hardened and carried himself in a way that said that he now knew what was and wasn’t expected of him. And that he had lost something he was looking for.