None of us join this job to have the pleasure of being threatened or attacked. But it does happen. And too much on a regular basis. Most of the time you shrug it off and rarely bat an eye lid as a drunken foul mouthed lout tries to land a slow motion swinging ape arm at you – a) because you know he’s most likely going to miss and pass out in a puddle of his own vomit/urine/faeces and b) the police will promptly step in and protect you with as much force as is necessary.
However, sometimes they are not there and we have to deal with the situation as best we can.
The other week a good friend of mine, who works way down in South London, had someone pull a gun on him. Now, by all accounts this is a very rare thing to have to suffer and not something any of us would wish to happen to them. But the tiniest portion of sympathy had to go out to this happless individual pointing a gun at my colleague as they couldn’t have picked the worse opponent to do this to . . . for the gun was pulled on an ex-kick boxing champion . . . two times champion . . . of Europe.
So, it should be of no surprise that my friend was able to “disarm” his oponent before the police were able to arrive and section the man.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an easy position to be in and my friend admits to being terrified in that moment – and who wouldn’t be if presented with the same situation. I’m pretty sure if someone pointed a gun at me my chronic bowel obstruction would be instantly cured, my prostate would cease its grip on my bladder and my voice would probably rise by four octaves – and that’s all before fainting.
The closest I’ve come to such stouthearted gallantry was when a Mental Health woman pulled a butter knife on me after we woke her from a drunken sleep at a bus stop. She held it close to her so as not to attract too much attention (in the same way old gangsters used to hold a revolver in black and white films) and her eyes flashed from me to the knife and to me again – so as to ‘remind’ me that it was there!
I remember smiling patronisingly and scratching the back of my head before speaking.
Binder: What you intend to do with that Sally*? Spread some butter over me?
My crew mate and the FRU sniggered . . . as did some members of public who were waiting for their bus.
Binder: For goodness sake Sally, give me that here and come along with us.
Deflated she handed it over and followed us onto the Ambulance.
So here’s to the likes of my friend in South London who succeeded in facing up to his adversary. But also, here’s to those who havn’t been quite so successful – and sadly there’s plenty out there. None of us deserve it but it happens every day.
*Not her real name of course