Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Central Library location Main Circ Desk (Evening shift), as I walked past my co-worker and noticed that her Patron was directly, and I don’t know, he was kind of acting different?
Not that I was a big judge of people, for we are the Staff at the Public Library after all and the word PUBLIC is just that, open to anyone of the Public.
Yet, this young man though smaller than I, had clothes two sizes too big for him?

His demeanor was with his fists closed tight like he was cobra coiled and about going to strike the co-worker in front of him in a moments notice!
So, I swung around from my path down the line of the main desk and lying said to my co-worker; “Time for your lunch isn’t it?”.
She looked at me with a “Thank you, yes got to go!” and with that I turned to now to greet my new Patron, “Sorry about that Sir, I was late to relieve my co-worker for lunch, how may I help you?”

He stood, still clenching and un unclenching his fists, which reminded me of a hand grenade, with the pin pulled like during my Air Force training days.
All that was next needed was to have his spoon fly and he would explode right into me, a virtual guarantee of 100%! As I did not know what was wrong with this young really in need of in my opinion, HELP person. Just an intuition of course, as I am not a head Doctor.

We found out later that he had escaped from the old General Hospital Forensic Psychology Ward. He pinched from some locker, a Hospital Employee’s clothes and some how broke out.
When he left it was right after he was given his meds, that counter acted with his illness to him calm down but until this happened, and he calmed down.
He was supposed to be under observation and not in front of me with what ever was going to happen next?

The combined illness and meds gave him for a short time, the strength of the Hulk is the only way I would best describe it now. Yet I did not know this, but I sensed his violence and if I said just the wrong word, he would in true to comic book fiction form = BOOM! “You won’t like me if you made me angry, please do not make me angry!”

So, I asked what sort of material was he interested in? Business, History, Fiction, the Arts, or Magazine News Paper of some sort? I busied my self with writing down a note, like I was making a list for him. Though he had not said a word during his entire visit. What the note said was; “Please give this to the switchboard and ask them to call the POLICE and to please visit us, as we have a problem Patron here.”

I passed this note onto another co-worker and said; “Can you please let me know when the Pizza is ready yet so I can take my break when it arrives?”

Then I once again, I asked my Patron: “So Sir, do you have an idea of how we can help you?”
He moved a little closer, kept tightening up his fists and unflexing them but still said nothing to me.

I made sure that I did not make direct eye contact with him, but I kept calculating an escape plan, should his grenade spoon be released and then my five second or less explosion count down would begin.
More of me asking the Staff questions; “Has the Pizza been ordered? Is it ready yet?” “If so, how soon??”
I was assured by a very fast passing co-worker that indeed the Pizza Was Ready and was on its way, but it may be awhile as it is coming from another location and not from next door??

Where the main Police building was, they had to come from District One on 11th Avenue.

“Swell.” as my Patron was not talking and entertaining him was getting harder. So, I asked if he had a library card? Then I began to explain; “Sir to get a library card or renew your card, you will need to bring valid and current name and address identification and show me. The following are types of identification the Library will accept, (Yada Yada Yada), I could sign you up right now so you may take out up to 99 items tonight if you would like? Are you from Calgary, do you have a fixed address or a postal box? Some I.D. Drivers’ Licence, a S.I.N. card or a piece of mail to you with your name and address on it would also be a way to acquire your card Sir.”

“Pizza is here Richard!” in walked two Calgary Police Officers (I do not envy their careers one bit), so I stepped back from the desk a bit and the Police Officers inquired what the problem was here? Looking at me, after I explained that in my opinion this Patron needed some help. They proceeded to give me that look of; “Hey, he is smaller than you and you have to call us?”
Mistake number one I thought as they started to direct my Patron heading for the Main Desk turn style, which I quickly blurted out: “I would not go that way!”

At which moment the one Police Officer, said; “Library workers, yaaaa!”
The Patron quickly spun around like spider man and wrapped his hands plus self around the turn style. Knocking one Officers hat off, then he pushed away onto the floor the other Officer and proceeded back into the Library again.
Two more Police Officers appeared out of the blue (sorry for the pun) and tackled the Patron. At which point like the Hulk, he threw one then a second Police Officer away from him like a rag doll.
Then the whole group like a rugby match, all tackled each other, and two more Police Officers arrived! One emptied his bear spray into the Patron’s face and then let go the empty can go which went tink, tink, tink. A loud moan from the Patron came out of the melee and right then; “He’s got my gun!”

I moved from the main desk (ran actually) and asked all the other Patrons who where watching to move back into the Arts and Recreation Department, I even moved more that were coming off the elevators. “What’s happening?” they asked. “Someone is resisting arrest and Police are trying to restrain him”, I said. “What did he do?” I informed them; “that I did not know but if you would all kindly stay back here, it should all be over shortly!”
Finally, an ambulance arrived, and the Patron was in handcuffs, everyone was fine, the Police Officers gun was returned into its proper holster. I watched as they strapped our Patron down on an ambulance gurney and then I let the crowd of our other Patron’s head toward the Library check out desks.

Now, as I think of Pizza’s, I always remember this slice.
I was given a Calgary Public Library Cause for Applause Award.
Also hope that that this young Patron, got the help that he in my opinion, so desperately needed.
My wife after this always said; “Richard when your flying to one of your volunteer locations, please do not be a HERO and be the one to stop the person with the weapon. “Let someone else see if the Pizza is ready yet, Got It?”
Written and Photo by,
Richard Abbenbroek.

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