I went to my local Social Security office today to get a replacement card.
As I approached the door there was a couple outside. The woman was in a wheelchair and the man was holding a full plastic trash bag that may have contained all of their possessions. The woman was yelling at the man and even letting out screams of utter frustration.
I entered the office and one of the two security guards instructed me to punch info into a terminal that gave me a slip with a number. Then he asked me to put any metal objects in my possession into a tray. The other guard waved a metal detector over me and then said I could have a seat. Both officers were courteous and professional. Once inside, I was immediately motioned by a nice lady at a window to approach.
As I was being assisted, I overheard one of the guards telling the couple I had seen outside that they would not be allowed back in today. The lady in the wheel chair began yelling loudly at the officer who remained calm and resolute. The man with the lady told the officer that they could not come back the next day and that the lady badly needed to be served. The officer remained engaged with the couple and managed to calm the woman who obviously was not fully in control of her mental faculties. He made her understand that her behavior was unacceptable and would not be tolerated. He remained in control and de-escallated the situation. Over time, she managed to gain control of herself.
When my business was concluded and I turned to leave, I noticed the woman in the wheelchair being helped at one of the windows. As I passed the guard at the front door, I told him that he had done a really, really nice thing. He could have easily turned the couple away. Instead, he had displayed compassion by helping someone who obviously needed help. He told me how loud and abusive she had been when she entered the first time. She had even called him the "n" word.
Few people would have handled a similar situation so well. What I witnessed was true professionalism on the part of that officer; both officers. It is what public service should look like.