No, the county’s not going to pot
We’re just a bit concerned about people using restrooms
Editor and publisher
Flush with success from having wiped away what could have been a lockdown for similar reasons a week earlier at Hillsboro Community Hospital, Marion County emergency workers held their breath as they plunged ahead to investigate what could have been crisis No. 2 at a public restroom this past week.
It all began at 10:36 p.m. Friday when a possibly fidgety clerk at Johnson’s General Store in Florence telephoned dispatchers to report what she thought might be a whiff of suspicious behavior.
A female customer had asked to use the store’s restroom. Forty minutes later, the restroom door still was closed and locked, and repeated attempts to elicit a response by knocking yielded not a peep.
From halfway across the county, deputy David Harper-Head was dispatched. Could this be a lurker waiting to hold up the store, an innocent collapsed and unconscious, or illicit activity going on behind closed doors?
Fearing the worst, as his training taught him, Harper-Head instructed dispatchers to summon Florence ambulance as a precaution and to station it nearby, out of harm’s way, at the city park as he rushed from near Marion Reservoir to investigate.
A second deputy also was urged to stand by to answer the call — just in case the nature of the call proved particularly messy.
As a phalanx of cautious workers arose from the bowels of the county’s public safety operations and sped to the scene, a dispatcher’s matter-of-fact announcement signaled quick relief was at hand.
Throwing caution to the wind — or down the tubes, as it were — the clerk decided to try unlocking the door herself, before deputies arrived.
No one was inside.
The customer had finished her job without the clerk noticing and had left the store — locking the door behind her.
The swirl of activity thus ended as quickly as it had begun, and another seemingly urgent bathroom crisis was averted, just as it had at HCH — if anyone gives a you-know-what about such things.