Authors Note: As click bait goes. thats a cracker right? I mean it would be great click bait if it were not true. My last day of a business trip to Pleasanton in 2019 was an eventful one. I managed to lose, cancel and find my passport. Then feature in a bank robbery, yes thats right a bank robbery. Enjoy.
I was finally headed to Veeva HQ after working for Veeva for 8 years. I had booked the flight several times and there always was a reason to cancel at the last minute so being on the plane headed to San Francisco, California was a big deal for me. The home of some of my favourite tech companies, I was full of expectation.
The week could have started better. I failed to get an Uber twice from the San Francisco airport to the hotel. The first guy just didn’t turn up, so I cancelled it and the second guy let me get in the car before realising he had a flat tyre and kicking me out again. This is the home of Uber isn’t it? I eventually made it the hotel late at night and so just went straight to bed.
Waking up for my first day in the office and I opened the curtains! Wait is that Snow? Yes it is snow, for the first time I was told in years it was snowing in Pleasanton. Good thing no one would comment that I have brought the weather with me. Who am I kidding this was the joke made by the concierge, the uber driver, the receptionist at HQ and well everyone that week.
The week itself was fun catching up with some colleagues and I achieved all the meeting objectives I had hoped for. We celebrated by going out to a restaurant and a bar. I. did not stay out too late as I needed to pack. Back to the hotel get one more last comment from an Uber driver about bringing the weather me and I am back at my room to pack.
I woke up early to go to the office for a little work before I fly home in the afternoon. A quick check of everything and I had a feeling I was missing something. I look through my bag and things and realised I am missing my passport. I had taken my passport out with me the night before I must have dropped it somewhere.
I got an Uber to the office and used rang around the restaurants that I had been in. No passport was found. I rang Melanie to tell her I will need to get a new passport from the embassy and would take a few days to arrange that all. I rang up the embassy and had to cancel my current passport to get an emergency new one. I booked my embassy appointment and was incredibly upset to not be going home and annoyed that I had lost the passport. I sunk in my chair and was really down.
A friend popped his head round the door and partly out of embarrassment, partly trying to be upbeat I engage in light fun conversation. I do hate being miserable even when I am justified so I take my mind off things by chatting about last nights meal. My friend said they would go to that restaurant again, as the greek food was wonderful. When he said the restaurant name out loud I said, “wait what did you say the name of the restaurant was”? my friend answered with a name of a difference restaurant. I ran out the office, telling to him I would explain later. I hailed an Uber, rang the restaurant and sure enough they found my passport.
Twenty minutes later and I had one beautiful red passport in my hand. One beautiful… cancelled passport, now what? I rang the embassy and tried to explain my situation they insisted that now it was cancelled I could not stop the cancellation. I did not take no for an answer and asked to be put through to the cancellation desk and sure enough the very helpful lady allowed me to cancel the cancellation.
Right three hours before the flight and I booked my Uber to the airport. This day feels like three weeks but I can have a quick nap in the Uber and soon I will be on a long flight home. I hailed an Uber, LOL, Jesus is arriving in a Honda Accord! that would be more funny if I was not so emotionally tired.
I hop in my Uber as I close my eyes I am suddenly woken by driver ducking down and screeching to a halt. I look around and to my left I see a cop car with an armed police officer aiming at my Uber driver. I looked to the right and there is a Wells Fargo being robbed by armed gunmen! half asleep, tired and now the adrenalin kicked in. My Uber driver had driven under the police tape and now we are sitting in between armed police officers and an ongoing robbery.
The police officer is pointing her gun straight at us and waving us away with the other hand. My Uber driver is frozen, he cannot make a decision and so we are just stuck in serious peril from being shot by the police or the bank robbers. I say to the driver, “Jesus do you want me to drive?” well even I thought this was preposterous as if I was going to leave this car in between a shoot out, I then shook him to bring him back to the now I shouted “reverse, reverse, Jesus reverse” He reversed and went back under the police tape we had driven under.
Jesus is now paying attention was telling me we must wait to speak with the police. I told him they have their hands full with a robbery and I have a plane to catch. He eventually agrees and we are back on our way to the airport. I hugged Jesus as I left the car, not many people can ever say that. I really feel like he and I bonded in our near death situation. Do I give Jesus 5 stars, sure I did. I hot footed it to my flight which I might now miss.
I made the flight with minutes to spare, I had been awake for just 7 hours that day and I think I had experienced every emotion life has to offer. The wonderful thing about being a writer is that whatever happens you get to write about it and look back on life with a distance which makes even the worse moments with levity. Life has a way of testing you, either by nothing happening at all or everything happening at once.
See my photo of the stakeout and a video from the news chopper.