As a security guard for the Trump Taj Mahal I once spent almost seven hours locked in a walk-in closet only to find myself fired and a wanted criminal when I was freed.
The night in question, I was assigned to be the hotel rover. This meant I would spend the night walking every floor and stairwell in the 23-floor structure. I was to look for guests in distress, messes that needed to be cleaned up and homeless vagrants. The first two responsibilities were obvious; looking for homeless people was another matter. In winter, as the temperatures outside dropped, the number of homeless people looking for a warm place to sleep increased. Usually they would inhabit the bus waiting area or hotel lobby, getting roused by security every few hours but then finding their way back. If you were the lobby rover, it was how you spent most of your shift in winter.
But some of the homeless were clever. They knew that each floor in the hotel had a huge walk-in linen closet. These industrious souls would sneak up in the hotel and create elaborate nests hidden in the back of closets. This meant that the hotel rover needed to enter and examine the linen closet on each floor. I had found two such nests prior and was looking for another when my situation became precarious.
I was on the 17th floor, doing my initial walk-through. I walked into the linen closet and checked the back; no homeless persons. As I turned to leave I noticed the wall phone was missing, so I made a note of it in order to fill out a report later. I then noticed that the inside door handle was also missing. I pushed on the door but it was securely closed. The hole where the knob would have been was small. First with my fingers and then with a pen I attempted to disengage the latch but to no avail. I was trapped.
I steeled myself for the embarrassment of having to contact Security Command using my radio to tell them I was trapped in a linen closet. Every other guard would hear me and the razzing would go on for days. Finally I depressed the send button.
"Alten to Command."
Nothing, no response, not even static. I tried again.
"Alten to Command, come in Command."
Again, nothing. There were several radio dead zones in the building, and now I was trapped in one. I positioned myself in every nook and cranny of that closet but didn't pick up so much as a crackle. I then wondered how long it would be before anybody noticed I was missing. My job required me to contact Security Command at least once every 30 minutes. I tried to do the math in my head. Thirty minutes without a call they might chalk up to negligence. So, an hour to figure it out, another 30 minutes of searching. I looked at my watch, 12:35AM. I should be found in time for my 2 o'clock break. And I stayed by the door in case any grave-shift housekeeping staff should happen by.
Two o'clock came and went. As did 3, 4, 5, and 6. At 6:20 a guard from my shift finally arrived. He told me that I had been fired for job abandonment and charged with larceny for stealing my assigned radio. I handed him a vase full of urine and went to get a sandwich and a cup of coffee.
I was hired back immediately and all charges were dropped. By my next shift, the door knob and phone were replaced. Also, one of my co-workers had written "Alten's Laire" in the back of the closet.
It was flattering.