A Horse In The House
A Day in the Life...
I’ve always said if you’ve worked in property management for even just one day, you’ll have a story to tell! Here’s a fun one submitted by a leasing agent in Houston who discovered something very unusual in one of the apartments on her property.
A Horse In The House
It was late on a Saturday afternoon and it had been storming off and on all day. Because of the weather, the office had been pretty quiet and I jumped when the phone rang. It was one of our residents on the line.
“Hey, this is going to sound really strange—and you didn’t hear it from me but my downstairs neighbors have a horse in their apartment,” he informed me.
“What are you talking about? Is this some sort of joke?” I asked him.
“No, ma’am, it’s not a joke. I saw it with my own eyes. You should come and check it out—but really, please don’t let them know I called you. I don’t want anyone mad at me,” he repeated.
With that the line went dead.
I sat there for a few moments, staring out at the pouring rain. What was I going to do about a horse in someone’s apartment? I wondered, knowing something like this had never been covered in any of my management company’s training.
I called my manager. There was no answer and I decided not to leave a message. I didn’t want her to think I couldn’t handle things on her day off.
I ended up contacting our lead maintenance woman Carol, who was on call that weekend. I told her about the problem and, without missing a beat, she chuckled and said, “Now this I’ve gotta see! I’ll come and pick you up at the office and we’ll go over there together.”
When Carol arrived, I ran out in the rain and jumped into her truck. As she drove, we discussed what I knew about the people who were supposedly harboring a horse in their apartment.
“They’re a nice, quiet family of three,” I told her. “They seem like normal folks, so that’s why I can’t imagine that what the caller said is true!”
Before we got out of the truck, Carol shook her head and grinned at me. “Believe me. I’ve been in this business a long, long time. There’s no such thing as “normal” folks. You never know what’s going on behind those closed apartment doors...”
We reached the front door and Carol gave it a hearty rap with her knuckles.
The husband answered almost immediately. He said hello to Carol and me, but despite the horrible weather, didn’t invite us inside his home. “How may I help you ladies tonight?” he asked.
Carol got straight to the point. “We have it on good authority that you have a horse inside this apartment and we need to know if that’s true or if someone’s punking us.”
The man actually attempted to appear shocked at this accusation and started to deny it when his little girl came up behind him.
“Miss Barbara, Miss Barbara! I got a horse! Do you want to see him?” the child breathlessly exclaimed. “His name is Henry!”
“Miranda! Go to your room!” snapped her father. “Now!”
Miranda hung her head sadly and shuffled down the hall toward her bedroom. About this time, the girl’s mother emerged, leading a small pony to the front door. Not looking at Carol or me, she simply handed the reins to her husband and muttered, “I told you this was a bad idea!”
Without another word, she turned and headed toward Miranda’s bedroom.
The husband looked at me, reins in hand. “I know this looks bad, but I can explain.”
“You’d better have a great explanation for this,” interrupted Carol. “But the first thing we need to do is get this poor animal out of your apartment. Hand me those reins.”
He reluctantly gave Carol the reins and she led the pony away. Fortunately, the rain had let up and we watched as the two made their way to the maintenance garage.
I was so relieved that Carol knew what to do because frankly I was just standing there at a total loss for words.
Once the pony was out of sight, the man invited me inside and called to his wife to join us. Together we sat at their kitchen table while he told me how they’d come to acquire the animal.
“My younger brother is a bit of a gambler,” the man explained. “He won the pony in a bet and had nowhere to stable it.”
“So you told him he could bring the horse here?” I asked, still in disbelief over what I’d just seen.
“Tell her everything,” interjected the wife.
“Well unfortunately, my brother was about to be arrested on some infraction and he recalled that his young niece had always wanted a pony,” he replied, glancing quickly over at his wife for support.
“It was storming so badly when they got here earlier,” the husband continued, “The thunder and lightning were frightening the horse, so I let my brother bring him inside. Once Miranda set eyes on that thing I just couldn’t say no...”
I could see there were tears in the man’s eyes and couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for him. My heart nearly broke in two when a crying Miranda appeared, crawling up into her mommy’s lap.
As she attempted to soothe her small daughter, the wife began to tear up as well.
At this point, I felt like crying too!
The next day, the sun was shining. The pony had spent the night in the maintenance garage. As it turned out, Carol had been raised on a horse farm and she knew someone who would adopt the pony.
That morning, the people came with a trailer to pick up the animal. The young family came to say their goodbyes and apologized to the staff for the mistake they’d made. We did not penalize them, which I thought was kind.
So, it turned out that there was a happy ending for everyone involved—except for Miranda’s uncle who got hauled off to jail.
But I suppose that’s a story for another time!
From the book "I Have a Complex, But I'm Managing It!", stories from property managers compiled by Monica E. Simmons.
Monica E. Simmons, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JDC Enterprises, LLC, has worked in the multi-family industry in several different capacities since 1987. She is a published author whose books include; I Have A Complex, But I’m Managing It!, It Happened in The Hill Country, 30-Love and it's sequel, Match Point.
Contact her at: Monica@TheVendorGuide.com