Are you OK?

It was about 7 AM when I heard the phone ring in the hotel room next to mine.

I had been working for about an hour at the wooden desk facing my large window, occasionally glancing at the Phoenix Mountains bathing in morning sunlight. I listened to the rings, expecting my neighbor to pick up or for the call to go to voicemail, waiting for that moment when I could go back to concentrating on my writing.

The rings didn’t stop. One minute went by and I assumed that this was a hotel wake-up call that would soon default to the standard 10-minute snooze. But it didn’t. Two minutes went by. Then four.

I called the front desk. Either there was someone in the room who might need help, or there was no one in the room and I wanted the noise to stop. I was told that security was on its way.

Peeking through the viewport of my door, I saw security walk passed my room and I stepped out. The gentlemen looked like a retired police officer. He was facing my neighbor’s door and quickly glanced at me. He didn’t smile but he had a peaceful look. He seemed a bit out of shape but I bet he could have taken me down in two seconds. He contacted the front desk with his walkie-talkie and asked them to call the room. We heard a second ring tone from the hallway, this one even louder, and after two rings, the room went quiet. I heard some noise in the security officer’s earpiece and his reaction indicated that all was well with my neighbor. He or she had simply been sleeping through their mobile phone alarm.

What happened next surprised me. The officer turned to me and asked if I was OK and if I needed any assistance. He seemed genuine in wanting to make sure there wasn’t anything he could do to help. I am a 50 year-old male, 6 feet tall, in good shape, wearing a suit, and as calm as can be. Did I look like I needed assistance? I smiled, thanked him, and went back to my room.

Later on, I thought about the employees in my company who report concerns. Many of them report small violations that present no threats to anyone. As seasoned E&C officers, who have seen serious and threatening allegations from time-to-time, we might overlook the need to ask someone who reported a small concern if they are OK, if they need anything, or if they have any questions. We assume they are fine because we are.

The hotel security officer was a true professional. And a fine example to follow.

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