One of our Project Managers called me to share a tale about a Board meeting he recently attended. His opening line “Just want you to know that I’m okay” certainly got my attention! Here’s his story:
What Made It Memorable?
The meeting between myself, the Board of Directors, and members of the Budget Committee took place in the Association’s Recreation Room. The Reserve Study was on the agenda because the Board wanted to make sure it accurately reflected the condition and needs of the association. Everything was proceeding normally, until a man entered the room, carrying a thin case. The visitor, who appeared to be a homeowner, interrupted the discussion and walked right up to the Association President. I observed the man open the case, present the contents to the President, grin, and loudly snap the case shut. The President, clearly unnerved and irritated, waved him aside and re-started the discussion.
But then it hit me what had just happened. The visitor was carrying a gun case and he had just flashed its contents in a threatening manner to the Association President!
The visitor sat down, fidgeting and a bit uneasy, on the sofa against the wall behind the President. Now I became very distracted! Seated to the side of the president, I pushed my chair back a bit and angled my body in a casual but prepared manner so I could keep an eye on the man in my peripheral vision. I pulled out one leg from under the table so I could move quickly if necessary. I locked eyes with the Board President, letting him know that I knew what had just happened, and was keeping a close eye on the situation behind his back. I think the other Boardmembers knew what had happened, but it was clear that the Budget Committee was oblivious.
What would I do if the situation escalated? I have a background in high school and college football, and am active in martial arts, but this was different. I sized up the homeowner- he was about my weight – but I was younger and more agile. I reminded myself to stay calm and breathe regularly. I am a Reserve Specialist and not trained for this!
[cue Dream Sequence]
The President picked up the pace of the meeting, moving quickly through the rest of the Reserve Study in the next very anxious 15 minutes. When I heard a distinctive click, I sprang from my chair!
In one fluid move, I stiff-armed the visitor in the chin, and with my other hand slapped the now opening gun case from his arms. The case, an assault rifle, and a handgun clattered to the floor. We tumbled over the sofa and with my momentum I quickly maneuvered on top of the man and rolled him over face down. I then grabbed his wrist and put him in a submission hold. Everyone jumped up from their chairs, the room got noisy, and the Board President quickly called 911. There I was, breathing heavily, my heart racing, and leaning my shoulder into the back of a struggling stranger wondering what had just happened….
[Back to Reality]
The President picked up the pace of the meeting, moving quickly through the rest of the Reserve Study in the next very anxious 15 minutes. During the close of meeting handshakes and pleasantries, the homeowner slipped quietly out of the room. I lingered, and after all others had left the President & I debriefed about this strange episode.
It turns out that the man was a homeowner who had modified his condo in such a way that it compromised the structural integrity of the building. The association had filed a lawsuit against him. His threatening action at the budget meeting was clearly meant to show the Board President what he thought of the Association’s actions!
Associations Are Not For Everyone
Since then, we’ve learned that the Association was able to successfully diffuse the animosity of this contentious situation. We certainly hope the homeowner restores his condo to its original state, and then sells his unit! He does not appear to be suited for community association living!
Although we usually only deal with Associations once a year to support their annual budget process, the thought of that board meeting, that incident, and the prospect of anyone like that coming in contact with one of our Project Managers is very unsettling!
Thankfully, the homeowner in this case was more intent on making an impression than doing anyone any harm. But I’m so proud of the Association President and my Project Manager. As a result of their common sense and cool heads, it’s a story (whether dream or reality based!) that ended well.