Small piece of advice: always, and I mean always, take a potty break before they slap the handcuffs on. Honestly, I’ve only had the pleasure of wearing handcuffs twice in my life, which I know is less than some and more than others, so I don’t know if I qualify as an expert on the subject or not. But the two times I found myself handcuffed all I could think of was how badly I needed to use the restroom. It distracted me from concentrating on the serious subject matter at hand.
Small matter of housekeeping: I had only broken the law the one time and the second time I was completely innocent. The short story of my first run in with handcuffs includes my stupidity as a teenager and long wait in the back of a police car handcuffed. That night I performed the longest stationary potty dance ever waltzed and took a somber trip home and a forced confession to my parents once I arrived. I actually think I am still grounded from that one.
My second run in with the law occurred in the early days of our business. At the time we had a very small store front attached to our first official manufacturing facility. A customer walked in off the street and purchased some products. Everything appeared normal, but something about the customer made me unsure of whether her check would bounce or not. She was too interested, overly enthusiastic and friendly in an odd way. My gut told me that something was off about the whole deal.
Our business was in the infant stage and we couldn’t afford a bounced check fee. I decided I would take my nine month pregnant self and my nearly two year old child to the bank that the check had been written from so that I would know immediately if it bounced or not and save us the fee. I left Dennis and Keegan at the office and made my way to the bank because every penny counted and we were in serious need of cash flow.
I presented the check and my drivers license to the teller and waited when she wandered away. I stood at the counter giggling with Selah waiting for the teller to return. Suddenly, I put two and two together and realized something was seriously wrong. Just then I looked over my shoulder to see two police officers approaching me from behind. I knew immediately that the check was stolen and that the bank and the police thought that I was the culprit.
So there I am standing at the teller station nine months pregnant, with my baby girl on my hip when the officers told me to face the counter and put my hands out so that they could frisk me. All I could do was laugh, the kind of hysterical laugh that hits you when the absurdity of your situation warrants nothing else. Between my giggles I ask them exactly what I should do with my baby in order to comply. I had never really made a plan for what to do when being frisked while holding my baby, but I thought maybe they knew the standard protocol.
The teller held Selah while my they frisked me, pregnant belly and all, right there in the middle of the bank. I couldn’t legitimately get mad at the officers because they were just doing their job. They didn’t know that I was the owner of a struggling start-up business. They handcuffed me in order to move me to a private office for interrogation. Now I thought that maybe the handcuffs were excessive, but I was ready to leap from the center of the bank to the private office in one bound, except for the annoying fact that I really needed a potty break. I had been too rushed to cash the check to go before I left the office and now here I was in handcuffs again distracted by my overwhelming need to go.
So what is the moral of my story? I think there are several.
1. Laugh in the face in crisis
2. Take the time to take care of the little things in life (like potty breaks)
3. Go with your gut instinct when you know there is something wrong with a business deal
4. Grounding for life does help a wayward teenager straighten up
5. Most crisis’ will be funny later – if not funny at the time
6. Don’t panic if you are misjudged – simply tell your story
But seriously, my advice, do everything in life with integrity and honesty. There is a world of difference between doing the potty dance, while handcuffed when you are guilty and from doing it when you are innocent. In most cases handcuffs aren’t involved but when you live life with integrity and someone questions your motives there is a great deal of peace when you know, that you know, that you are right. I knew that I was an honest business woman in the early stages of building Essential Wholesale with my husband and not the culprit of a crime, and proving it was simple once I was given the chance.