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  • Writer's pictureClif Edwards

Gift of Fate?

Updated: Oct 2

The abandoned restroom pistol

Since I've been carrying a firearm since I became a police officer in 1976, I feel a bit naked without it. I recently flew out of state, leaving my pistol behind. With the road trip underway, I met a friend for lunch, but first, I urgently needed to use the restroom; I was glad I could get right in. Hurriedly I locked the door and turned to see a holstered pistol by the sink. First things first, I needed to relieve myself.

A flashback moment

Finished, I turned from the toilet to deal with the holstered pistol. I discarded the notion of adopting it until my trip was over, then turning it in to the police. Then I had a FLASHBACK to the academy when our firearms instructor, Sgt. Lester Doubleday lectured, "When you take a crap, place your weapon in the crotch of your underwear. Otherwise, you'll forget and leave it in a public restroom one day. That would be a bad thing." About that time, there was a knock at the door. I yelled, "Just a minute."

What to do?

Did the gun sitting by the sink belong to someone who had just knocked at the bathroom door? If so, was he a forgetful legal-carrying citizen who had not had the benefit of Sgt. Doubleday's pistol/crotch lecture. (As demonstrated in the picture) Or, what if...

Was he drunk, crazy, or bent on violence?

WHAT IF he was drunk, crazy, bent on violence, or a felon. Maybe the gun was stolen, purposely left for an illegal transfer, or used in a crime. I had a CCW permit but didn't know if it was valid in this state. It would NOT be responsible to ignore it and go on my merry way. I could call 911 and wait for the police, but how long would that take? The guy waiting would probably pee his pants while my food got cold. If I carried the gun out in plain view, some well-intentioned armed citizen might think me a threat and plug me. I remembered ASS-U-ME nothing.

What I did

I photographed the pistol, concealed it on my person, and opened the bathroom door. When I saw the waiting man there was no hint he knew the uniformed law enforcement officer friend anything about the gun. I walked to my table where my friend, a uniformed law enforcement officer, waited. I turned the pistol over to him and he secured it in his patrol vehicle, advising the restaurant manager of the situation.

End of story

We had not finished eating when a sheepish looking 30 something white male walked to our table and said to my friend, "I think you have something of mine." My friend countered with quiz questions, then invited him to his patrol car where he was able to check-out the man and pistol. Both were found to be legal.

My friend then returned to finish a now cold meal. Having once been LEO partners and not seen each other in a dozen years, we had immediately teamed up to promote public safety. An extraordinary NPS Ranger, Steve is featured in the book PROTECTING NATIONAL PARKS.

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