Would you trust the Admiral?

07Apr08

I got to the airport really early before my flight to RSA.  I just don’t like being late for anything so I generally work more than sufficient flex time into my schedules.  Well, everything went fine:  Car arrived at the house early, no traffic, no lines at check-in.

The downfall to this of course means I am stuck at the airport.  Generally I would just grab a bite to eat and work out my thumbs on my blackberry while sitting in some uncomfortable chair listening to airport announcements until time to board.  This time however I decided to use the Admirals Club.  For those who don’t know, the Admirals Club is an “exclusive” area closed off from within the terminal allowing you to hide from the general terminal chaos.  I usually don’t bother but this time decided why not.

I go in, grab some tea and a muffin before parking myself in a comfy chair by the window.  My blackberry battery was running a bit low so I utilized the plentiful outlets and plugged it in to charge.  I did a little work before just kicking back and relaxing.  Suddenly I realized that I was surrounded by suits. I clearly did not get the memo, which may explain some of the looks I got as I sit there in my jeans, and Red Sox apparel.  Look all you want, I am going to be comfy on my 6 hour flight.

I was looking around analyzing things when something surprised me: People thought nothing of just leaving their bags and walking around the “club”.  There were multiple cases but here is the one instance that floored me.  This one guy was working on his laptop, shuffling through his briefcase, and occasionally checking his iPhone very close to me.  All of a sudden he got up and walked toward the mens room.  I glance over and sure enough his laptop is still logged in, his briefcase was left open, and iPhone was sitting on the table next to the laptop.  He did minimize all his windows and on his desktop background was what I assume was his company logo (a Fortune 50 company).

6+ minutes…that is how long this guy was gone from his stuff.  Not only did he leave his stuff for anyone to look, touch, take…but we are in an airport.  Every 5 minutes you get reminded not to leave bags unattended.  Guess that doesn’t apply to this guy.

When he got back I couldn’t resist talking to this guy, so I started in with the, “Oh how do you like your iPhone?”  Sure to kick off the conversation.  We then got into the “Where are you flying?” and “What do you do?” conversation.  He is a director level employee on his way to meet with a few big clients in California.  Perfect candidate for someone who should leave their stuff laying around right?  He then started packing up to catch his flight.  I could have just said “Bye” and let him leave, but instead opted for “Nice to meet you, have a good flight. Oh and by the way, you may not want to leave your stuff unattended like that next time.”  His response was, “Yeah, this place is safe though so I don’t worry about it.”  I started laughing and asked why he thought this place was safe.  His response was, “Look around, who in here is going to steal my stuff?  Nice meeting you, have fun in SanFran.”

Unfortunately he left before I got to discuss further.  So what shocked me the most wasn’t that he walked away without thinking about the risk, it was that he thought about it and decided there was no risk.  The whole basis of his decision was on the idea that his environment was secure.  I’m not sure why he thought this though.  Was it because he was in a semi-private club?  Was it because he was surrounded my mostly busy business travelers?  Whatever his reasoning, he was wrong.  Unless you control the environment you shouldn’t assume it is safe.  If you are working in your home office and need to get lunch from the kitchen, then yeah it is probably safe to leave your stuff lying around.  At the airport surrounded by total strangers that you likely will never see again……..not on your life!

When I log into his machine later I will redirect all web traffic to this post in an attempt to get my point across.  😉

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One Response to “Would you trust the Admiral?”

  1. 1 Mexifinn

    You should have used his iPhone to snap a pic of yourself, transfer it to his laptop, then send an email to his company’s management stating that a) he wants to resign, and b) recommend you for the position of CTO (photo included).


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