So, you guys wanna hear about the time I got punk’d by Homeland Security?!?!
This story comes with a little background information: I’ve been in many stressful and bizarre situations in my short lifetime. There have been times where I’ve had to talk friends out of suicide, there have been times where I’ve had to both physically and legally remove myself and my siblings from an abusive home, hell there was a time where I’m in the middle of Walmart trying to help my cousin buy stuff for her two small children’s funeral WHILE being harassed on the phone by my dad in jail who’s demanding I put money on his commissary.
Hence, I can handle high-pressured situations (I’m not particularly happy about this ability but whatever).
So anyway I’m at work. I’m a receptionist at a refugee center. I’m, jokingly, referred to as the “security” for the place which is funny when you realize that I’m a freckled face white girl with the BMI of a can of silly string. I’m about as intimidating as a can of silly string.
Regardless, its lunch time and the refugees are exiting their ESL classes and that’s when three white people come in. And they start asking questions:
What’s our security like? Do we have cameras? Do our doors lock at night? Do the refugees live at the center?
Sketchy ass question after sketchy ass question.
And every time I ask them, “Why are you asking me these questions?” They would answer, “Oh we’re just curious…”
One of the women even tried going upstairs to where the ESL classes are held (in the words of Negan though, I shut that shit down. No exceptions.)
The worse part about this is my boss is gone, her boss is gone, nearly anybody with any authority is at a conference for the day and I’m distrustful of these white people. So I ask them, “Do you want to talk to the guy in charge of resettlement?” Thinking he can at least shove them out if it gets to that point.
I turn around to retrieve the closest authority figure I can find and they are GONE.
I’m freaking out.
I’m running around the building looking for these guys, I’m alerting other people of what just happened, I’m texting the woman who has access to the security footage so I can give a picture to the police, I’m a minute away from actually calling the police when two cops walk into the building.
I’m relieved! I tell them everything I just told you, I’m giving descriptions of what I believe are three neo-Nazis out there plotting to hurt the agency when one of the cops tells me flat out,
“Oh those were undercover cops. This was all a part of a counterterrorism exercise and you passed!”
They even hand me a NY State Homeland Security “See Something Say Something” pamphlet and continue to praise me,
“You did a great job! One of the officers said you were like a Pitbull. You didn’t give them any information blah blah blah…”
Like I give a half-baked shit!! I–WAS–PISSED!
I called them flat out assholes for putting me through this and they laughed (“oh we’ve been called worse.”) But I’ve never been more insulted in my entire life.
I assumed the absolutely worse was going to happen. I thought these were extremist Trump supporters scoping out the place. Homegrown terrorists trying to plant a bomb. Murderers out to harm the agency and dispel the city of unwanted Syrian refugees.
It was a security test. Just a drill. A practice run to a real life occurrence that, apparently, I would have done “fine” if there was a real threat…
After that the two cops go to the same guy’s office I tried retrieving earlier and they’re all buddy-buddy. Normalizing this incredibly traumatic and offensive situation that left me shaking and shell-shocked. I ended up sobbing in my car for nearly 40 minutes afterwards.
They didn’t see that though (I wouldn’t let them). I just left my coworker’s office too pissed off to stand there and listen to them anymore.
Afterwards, when the cops are about to leave, one of them holds his arms out and has the fucking nerve to ask me, “Aww…Do you want a hug? I don’t want to leave here on bad terms.”
I wanted to tell him to rightly fuck off but instead I just tell him, “No. I don’t want to talk to you.”
All of the men (including my coworker) laugh and then they leave and my coworker leaves for lunch and I’m so distraught that I end up sobbing hysterically in my car for 40 minutes, going home and spending another hour just crying into my sister’s bed.
The ONLY positive thing I got out of this absurd as fuck situation was that I, once again, rose to the occasion and proved to myself, and others, that I can handle, probably, anything.