Monday, August 24, 2009

Grace under pressure!

This is a public thank you to the Security Department Staff at Linn Benton Community College. Their grace and willingness to help salvaged what could have been a tough weekend for us. I know that they don't read this blog. However, Balisada does and these are her colleagues. I'd like to ask you to pass this along for me, if you would be so kind. Feel free to point them to this post if you'd like. I've thanked them several times in person. It seems like more people ought to know what a fine and professional group this is.

Here is the class photo from our newest batch of apprentice instructors. This was taken late Sunday afternoon. The people are bone tired after a long weekend of intense concentration both on the range and in the classroom. Yet, you can see the enthusiasm for teaching in their faces. Also shining through is the satisfaction of conquest. They've passed the first big step. The next step will be teaching a real class with a Mentor instructor watching their backs.

On the lower right in the maroon shirt is my fellow trainer, Mary Kaye. We've worked together for years. MK, as we call her, has that unique gift of humor blended just right with professionalism. Backing it all up is a tremendous well of knowledge and ability. Between the two of us we've hopefully gotten this group off to a good start. May their individual journies be as fulfilling and fun as my own has been. Either way, they will always have a special spot in our hearts. One of these days we'll be saying "We knew you when you were just a baby!"

The man standing on the right is already an instructor. He and another instructor spent the weekend doing error runs on training bikes. The new instructors got a lot of practice coaching our two "challenged" students. The relationship between the new instructors and the experienced instructors doing error runs grew into a sort of love / hate thing!

This instructor prep went smoothly despite a big surprise on Saturday morning.

LBCC ( short for Linn Benton Community College ) is closed until just after Labor Day for heavy maintenance. We had been scheduled to use the college this last weekend since early in the year. So we showed up, ready to start classroom at 7:30 AM. Somewhere along 7:15 we saw a college IT guy wandering the hallways. He asked us if we knew that all the power to the campus was going to be shut down for half a day. Even worse, in our particular building, the electrical outlets would be hot, but the lights would be shut down until mid-week. I guess it has something to do with the fact that the lights are run by 277 volts and that is the part of the system to be worked on.

LBCC has put us in the Science and Technology Building. We used to be in the Health Occupations Building. Somebody decided to group classes more by type. I figure that motorcycle safety training belongs squarely in the Health category, don't you? Anyway, we got moved. We have a key to our classrooms and all works well. Except for the fact that the classroom we were using has outside windows way up high that are covered up. We would be in the dark for hours.

To top it off, we had a class of actual students due in for another session. This would be followed by yet another group of students that were currently out riding. There would be very little light and for sure no air conditioning. Tough situation. Electing to take point, I called Security and talked to a man named Jason.

I explained the situation to Jason and asked if we could be moved. For whatever reason, our office and LBCC had not communicated on the matter of the power. I don't blame the college. We're one program out of hundreds that use the campus. The important thing is that I needed a couple of different classrooms pretty quickly.

In the background I could hear Jason conferring with another individual. In hardly any time, Jason told us to hang tight and he would be over. Well, that's my summary, not his exact words. As good as his word, Jason came and led me to another building. Here's another great part.

Instead of just dumping us somewhere to get me off his back, Jason took me to what is almost the newest building on campus. I think there's only one other newer. Jason opened two adjacent rooms. Both rooms had large windows which let in abundant natural light. We'd still have no power but it would work. We'd miss out on showing some overhead transparencies. What a great excuse to practice our drawing skills on the whiteboard!

So we moved everything over for all three sets of students. I coordinated with the other instructors so everyone knew where to go. Thanks to the Security folks, and Jason in particular, we managed beautifully.

What complicated things more for Security was the fact that the rooms we now resided in contained computer equipment. The door locks could not be left in the unlocked position. If you shut the door you were locked out. Jason asked us not to prop the door open when we left. We also didn't have our own key for this building. We had to go back and forth a couple of times between classroom and range. I had to call Security again to gain access at noon. Jason came back and unlocked the door for us at lunchtime. We received prompt service with good cheer.

The class act wasn't confined to Jason. We started out in the parking lot on Sunday morning. Lunch for our instructor group was to be delivered to campus. The phone call came. Lunch had arrived. I called Security once again and asked to be let in. This time a man named Chris ( sorry if the spelling is wrong ) answered the phone. The service was so quick that Chris and I met up part way to the building.

It might not seem like much in the telling. All I can say is that the service provided by Security was huge in making our weekend a success. The schedule is packed. Time is critical. The quick service, the grace and professionalism, and the wonderfully helpful attitude pulled us out of the quicksand. These folks have my deepest appreciation and gratitude!

This was a special circumstance. It's important to note that we deal with the Security Department on a fairly regular basis. Even though we have a key to the classroom, we still need to have the main doors and restrooms opened. Once in a while we need a car towed off our range. By the way, we don't have the car impounded. We just have it moved to a nearby lot at our expense. Our relationship with the Security folks has been nothing but positive. Sometimes not so much with the people who get their cars moved. On the other hand, I'm also careful to treat the Security staff with respect and appreciation, as well. Hmmm, maybe there's a clue here about how folks should relate to each other!

Miles and smiles,



Sojourner rides said...

It's what the world needs more of, people helping others out...civility and goodness is alive and well--sometimes I forget that.

Anonymous said...

Interesting coincidence. A very similar encounter with security personnel which I narrate here.

I work in a 16 story building attached to a VERY busy mall. The parking lot is used by both mall visitors and office workers.

After parking my attractive (to a bike lover) Italian bike, I got off and walked up to my office. About 15 minutes later I see the security people walking around the cubicles. I asked them if I could help.

They asked if I know my plate number and asked for description of my key chain. By then I was panicking. They calmed me down and handed me the keys.

The security lady said that the security patrol found that bike lights were on and were worried that I might run out of battery. So they went looking for me. Using the badge scans, they figured out my office and work area and came up to the office to deliver the keys.

They could have just left them there. They could have just held on to the keys and wait for me to come by in the evening.

No. They went beyond what is asked of them. No more mall cop jokes.

Dean W said...

Looks like a good group, although they got cheated on weather. Everyone knows a proper instructor training class requires precipitation- snow is preferred, but sleet will do, or even rain- or blazing sun. This being Oregon, it's not impossible to get both in one weekend.

The properly indoctrinated new instructor should be waterlogged, frozen, sunburned, and brain fried. That way they're prepared for all of that and can focus on what the students are going to do to them. ;-)

Baron's Life said...

It's heart warming to see that there is plenty of good people around.God Bless them all

Balisada said...

The Security Dept at LBCC is always happy to help!


Krysta in MKE said...

What a great group they have on that campus!

Poor Katie... life with you is probably never dull.
; )

Joe said...

A nice reminder that everybody deserves to be treated with respect and not the hostility that's often offered in return when inconvenience is inevitable. Kudos to those fine security folk!

- Joe at Scootin' da Valley

irondad said...


It's so easy to focus on the negative, isn't it? I've found we often find what we're looking for. My goal has been to change the target.


What outstanding customer service! Stereotypes can be so damaging, can't they? Thank you for sharing that story. I'm curious why you were feeling panic. Afraid someone stole the bike or feeling guilty? :)

Dean W,

Yeah, they did have it pretty easy, didn't they. All I can say is that MK and I have already paid our dues and don't need the weather extremes!

Take care,


irondad said...

Baron's Life,

There's certainly still a lot of good people around. I'm also pretty sure that what we get back has a lot to with how we approach folks, too.


I had living proof of that!


You say that like it's a bad thing for Katie! I think she secretly likes it.


You're on target. I knew it wasn't their fault in the first place. A wise man showed me a great approach about thirty years ago.

"I've got this problem I wonder if you could help me with".

Works well for me.

Take care,