One great thing about working in the field is that you get to really interact with people out in the real world. That can be gratifying, and it can be grounding. And it can also be really funny.

So we called around a bit to ask some local field service technicians to share their craziest, or at least most memorable, encounters out in the field with us. Some people gave us scary stories, some told us hilarious ones, and some are just downright … weird.

Either way, it’s just a sampling of the stuff your average field tech runs into every day on the job. By all means, leave us a comment at the bottom of this page and share your wildest moments in the field!

Going Up!

Ever since that insane New Yorker story, I’ve always been a little wary of elevators. So it’s good to know that when you hit the emergency intercom button, someone’s actually on the other side.

Nick Piano, an owner of All-American Elevator in Vallejo, Calif., was just that man one day. An “older gentleman,” he recalls, buzzed in to him in a panic. “We said, ‘Is this an emergency?'” Piano says. “He says, ‘Not exactly. I’m in the elevator, and I’ve got the leash inside the elevator, but the dog’s outside the elevator!’

There wasn’t a lot of time to straighten out the story: Once the elevator started going up, so, too, would Fido.

“The dog was still out in the hall, and this guy’s hanging on to the end of the leash,” Piano says. “We said, ‘Sir, let go of the leash!’ And just like that the elevator took off. … It was lucky he got a hold of us and let go before the elevator moved. It could have been real ugly.”

The Cat Laughs Last

Security companies get tons of false-alarm calls, most of which sort themselves out pretty quickly. Then, there’s the memorable ones.

Ron, who runs an alarm company in the San Francisco Bay Area, remembers a call from years ago, from a local mortuary. The motion sensors had been going all night, so he knew something — or someone — was in there. So they headed out to scope the scene.

When they got to the mortuary — a little spooky, no doubt, everyone was on edge. Just then a cat jumped out and scared the bejezzus out of everyone. All at once, everyone chased after it, driving it from the building and outside, where it ducked under a Hearse.

The parish rector ran around the building to fire up the hose, hoping to get the cat out from under the Hearse. Of course the valve was loose, though, leaving the rector soaked, the field techs spooked, and the cat … well, he got away.

Don’t Mind the Delivery Man

This one comes courtesy of our very own Corey Lewis, who recalls his own crazy story from the field:

“In college, I worked for a restaurant delivery service and we frequently got calls from a live-in motel. The clientele there were definitely different, but nothing really strange ever happened to any drivers until I went there one day for an early dinner delivery. I knocked on the door and woman opened the door and stood in the doorway. The room behind her was dark, but as we did our business, my eyes adjusted and I started picking pieces of the interior room out: Another woman, two younger girls – all four of them were dressed in floor-length church dresses – pictures and posters of Jesus on the wall, windows blacked out, save for a few stray beams breaking through and reflecting off the dust in the air inside the room. A weird feeling shot up my back and through my neck just as the woman bent over to fetch some money out of her purse.

“As she bent over, I saw what was behind her. A boy of about 10, sitting in a chair, totally motionless with his hands up in the air, palms facing me and a frightening look plastered on his face: Intense eyes looking up at the ceiling, mouth open wide in what looked like a silent scream. And he didn’t move one bit – not his mouth or his eyes, despite my intrusion in to whatever was happening before my arrival. Oh, and his legs were tied to the chair. It was one of the creepiest things I ever saw. I quickly exchanged food and money, turned tell and got the hell out of there. Once I got to my car, I immediately radioed back to the office and told them that somebody should call the cops, which they did. A couple days later, there was a story in the newspaper about the two women who had been arrested on suspicion of child abuse. They were (obviously) religious nuts who had taken the kids on a cross-country journey following a cult and had somehow found their way to my sleepy little corner of the country.”

Got your own crazy, or at least memorable, field service story? Let us know by dropping a comment in the field below.

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ABOUT Ian Stewart

Avatar photoIan is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.