Most of us remember our first job, the funny story of how we were almost late, or the bag of groceries we dropped on the foot of an irate customer. But in the world of private investigation, first jobs can carry some unusual memories. Such is the case of a paper server who’s just starting out.
Thirty years ago, a young man with a dream of wanting to be a private investigator hung around the office of Martin Investigative Services. When he was finally eighteen, they gave him a job.
He was excited to be on a mission for a private investigation firm, perhaps envisioning glamour and intrigue… but that first job was paper service on an 82 year-old woman. He was advised to treat her with respect and care, and he set off with papers to serve in hand and youthful determination on his face.
He returned to the office white and shaken. Thomas Martin, head of the private investigation firm asked, “What on earth happened?” The young man told the more seasoned private investigators gathered around him that he had knocked on the door, and a tiny little old lady had answered it, holding a great big gun pointed directly at him.
In no uncertain terms, she told him to get off her property. After some gentle ribbing, the young man’s color was coming back when Martin clarified, “But you did serve her the papers, right?” The young man went back to looking white and shaken. He still had the papers with him.
Several weeks later, he was given another chance. The firm was attempting to serve papers on an elusive female who refused to come to the door. The young man took some advice from Thomas Martin, and went to a flower shop to purchase a huge bouquet of roses that he carried with him to her door. He knocked. Seeing the giant bouquet proved to be too much of a temptation; the woman eagerly opened the door expecting a floral delivery, and was promptly served.
The young man returned to the office with his chest puffed out in success. Martin looked around and asked, “Good job but where are the flowers?” As the young man’s chest slowly deflated, Martin laughed and said, “Listen, you leave the papers, not the flowers – take those home to your sweetheart!”
Today, that now somewhat less-younger man is still with Martin Investigative Services – as a property manager for their offices. And while it is doubtful he will ever live down his guns and roses paper serving history, you can bet he knows this: if they answer the door, leave the papers no matter what. But take the flowers home!
A transcript of the video follows:
Most of the investigators that work in my office are former supervisory federal agents with either Justice or Treasury. We do have a couple of people that came from other law enforcement backgrounds and we have one person that has been with us for over thirty years who was a property manager in one our buildings where we had an office. He came in when he was seventeen years of age and said, “I want to be a PI. We all laughed and said, “So do we.” I said, “You can’t do anything until you are eighteen so get out of our office and quit drinking our coffee and good-bye.”
He came back when he was eighteen. Ok, we are going to give you the simplest assignment possible in the private investigative world. That is for you to serve papers on a person that is eighty-two years old. So do it gently. Do it with as much professionalism and courtesy as you possibly can.
This person was so excited that he was actually going to be able to do it under our license. He went out, and when came back as white as a ghost. What happened? What’s wrong? What happened was he proudly knocked on the door and this diminutive, tiny woman came to the door with a gun, pointed it at his head and said “Get off my property.” So we said, “What did you do?” He goes, “I left.” I go, “Did you serve her the papers?” He goes, “No.” I went, “Oh my god, at least serve her the papers if you are going to have a gun pulled on you.”
That same investigator… about two weeks later, we were having a tough service. The person would not come to the door; It was a female. There is an old ruse, and if any of you see someone at your door with flowers, beware. Our guy went to the flower store and he bought a hundred dollars worth of roses. He knocked on the door as if he was going to give the roses to this woman. When she came to the door she was all excited and very, very happy. He served the woman the papers. So he came back to the office, this same investigator, all proud that he had accomplished this. Some of the seasoned investigators and myself looked around and said, “Where are the flowers? You didn’t leave the flowers with her did you?” He goes, “I gave her the flowers.” I said, “My gosh, what you do with the flowers is to take them home to your wife or your girlfriend, you don’t give them to the person you serve.” So that was a good lesson for him to learn and to this day he has not left the flowers.