A day in the life . . .
Years ago, I worked as an assistant manager at an upscale apartment
community near downtown Dallas. Most of our residents were young
professionals and I loved the high-energy vibe and excitement of
working in the beautifully appointed leasing office.
One afternoon as I worked alone, a clean-cut man in a sharp business suit came in. He
started off friendly enough, informing me that he needed a one-bedroom apartment.
“I’m a very private person,” he explained. “I’ll require something near
the back of the property, and I also need to move in immediately.”
“Well, this must be your lucky day,” I told him. “Our community is
normally one hundred percent occupied but right now we have a one bedroom
that’s ready for immediate occupancy. We can go take a look.”
As I rambled on about the numerous amenities we offered, I pulled out
a guest card for him to fill out. To my surprise, he shook his head no and
refused to complete it.
The Very Insistent Man
“No, I don’t have time for paperwork,” he said agitatedly looking at his
watch with a frown. I’m in a hurry and I don’t have time to see the
apartment either. I’m sure whatever you have will be fine.”
I watched as he pulled out his wallet and asked, “How much do you
need for me to move-in today?”
I smiled politely, knowing I needed to take control over the situation.
“I’m sorry, but we can’t just move you in,” I explained. “You’ll have to
complete an application which will need to be processed. If everything
checks out, we can move you into the apartment this weekend.”
Disregarding what I’d said, he smoothly showed me a sizeable wad of
hundred-dollar bills. “What if I take care of everything right now in
cash? This should cover the security deposit and one year of rent,
Shooting me what I’m sure he thought was a winsome smile, he placed
the money on my desk and pushed it in my direction. I could tell he was
someone who didn’t like to play by the rules—and definitely a man
used to getting his own way.
You Have to Follow the Rules
I remained patient but refused to touch the money. “I’m sorry but I
could lose my job if I don’t follow our management company’s policies.
You’ll have to complete an application like everyone else,” I told him.
“I’ll do my best to expedite the application, but no one moves in here
until we go through the appropriate process.”
I could see this did little to lessen his frustration, but continued, “Also,
we do not accept cash here. You’ll have to pay by check or money
order.” I pointed to the sign situated on the corner of my desk which
clearly stated this policy.
He sat glowering at me for a couple of beats and I was relieved when
our community manager, Alice returned from her lunch break. By this
time, the guy was begrudgingly completing the rental application and
there was major friction in the air.
Alice caught my eye as she passed by my office and I waved her inside,
sharing a private look of concern before introducing her to the prospect
as the onsite manager.
As the man stood to leave, he completely ignored me, walked over to
Alice, and handed her his application along with a one-hundred-dollar
bill. “I can see you’re the one in charge here,” he said. “Here’s a ltitle
incentive to expedite my application.” With a nod of his head toward
me, he added, “I’ve already told this one I need to move in
A Cool Reception
A seasoned property manager, Alice looked him in the eye and said,
“We’ll see what we can do,” she told him coolly. “But the application fee
is only fifteen dollars.” She handed back the large bill. “And, by the way,
it’s payable with a check or money order. We are not allowed to accept
Alice and I knew the prospect was extremely unhappy when he left and
neither of us would have been disappointed if he never returned with
the application fee. Unfortunately, thirty minutes later, he was back
with the money order which he promptly tossed on my desk.
“That’s for the application,” he growled. “Now please process it so we
can get this thing done!”
I appreciated that Alice had seen him return and was standing beside
me when he left the office for the second time that day. “That guy
seems like trouble,” she commented.
I agreed. I had a bad feeling about him as well.
We received confirmation that the prospect was approved, and the guy
moved in that weekend. He’d paid his security deposit along with a full
year’s rent in the form of a money order. Secretly, I was grateful
because hopefully it meant he wouldn’t be coming into the office to pay
his rent every month!
The Red Sports Car Arrives
About two weeks later, I was dismayed to see our new resident pulling
his expensive red sports car into one of the spaces marked Future
Resident in front of the leasing office. I forced a smile as he strolled into
my office carrying a small package wrapped in brown paper and tied
He gave me a big grin as he placed the package on my desk. “I need
your help with something,” he explained. “You see, I’ve been waiting for
a buddy of mine to come by and pick up this package. He’s running late
and I can’t wait for him any longer. So, I told him he could come to the
office, and you would give it to him.”
I started to interrupt, but he held up his hand to stop me, checked his
watch, then continued, “His name is Ray, and he should be here in
about 30 minutes. You’ve got all that?”
I was taken a bit off-guard. It wasn’t that we didn’t help our residents
with things like this but given this guy’s unfriendly history with us thus
far, I was surprised he was asking for any favors.
“Okay,” I agreed finally. “I should be here. What does this Ray-guy look
The resident just stared at me as if I were the most ignorant person he’d
ever met! “I can’t really describe him, and it doesn’t matter,” he
answered impatiently. He’ll come in, ask for you, tell you he’s Ray, he’ll
take the package and leave. That’s it.”
He must have sensed that I wasn’t responding well to his demanding
manner. He took a deep breath—apparently to calm himself so he could
handle having a conversation with someone so dense. When he spoke
again, his tone was much softer and kinder, and the smile was back.
“Can you please just help me out here?”
“Would you like for me to have him sign for it?” I asked agreeably.
“No, that won’t be necessary,” he replied, making his way to the door.
He paused for moment like something had just occurred to him. “Oh,
one more thing. Ray might be leaving something for me. If he does, just
hang onto it and I’ll be back soon to get it from you.”
The smile never left his face as he waited for me to acknowledge what
he’d said. “I’ve got it,” I said.
“Great, because I’m counting on you,” he replied over his shoulder as heand walked away.
I sat and watched through the window as he got into his zippy red car
and sped away. After a moment, my gaze settled on the brown package
sitting on the edge of my desk. It bugged me to have it there, so I
moved it over to the credenza. I couldn’t help but wonder what was
inside. I guess I was pretty naive back then because it never occurred to
me that the innocent looking package might contain something not so
What’s In the Box?
Right on cue, about thirty minutes later, the front door opened and in
walked a very tall, dark character. I guess he was a man of few words
because he asked me my name. When I told him, he said, “I’m Ray. You
have a package for me.” It was not a question but a statement. Ray was
looking past me at the package which matched the description he’d
probably been given by our resident.
I began to have a very bad feeling about the entire thing and wanted no
part of whatever was going on between these two men. I reached
behind me, grabbed the box, and gave it to Ray. In a flash, he produced
a large, thick envelope.
“And what is this?” I asked.
Ray was already heading out the door but said something like, “Just give
it to your guy.”
I was still standing there with the stupid envelope in my hand when
three police cars came flying into our parking lot, their sirens blaring.
The cops parked behind and around the two cars in the front, blocking
them in. I stood there in shock watching the officers pull Ray out of his
car. They had him spread-eagled over it in mere seconds.
That Sinking Feeling
My stomach sank as everything started making sense. I had likely just
helped one of our residents complete a drug deal! OMG!! I couldn’t
believe it—I’d unknowingly been an accessory to a crime!
Of course, the officers came into the office and Alice soon joined them.
They had a lot of questions for me, and I sure had a lot for them,
starting with, “Am I in trouble?”
Seeing my despair, Alice gave me a comformng hug and said no. I guess
everyone in the room knew I’d been a victim of circumstance. Alice told
me that the day I’d introduced her to our new resident, she thought his
behavior was strange. She’d shared her concerns with a police officer
she knew. She’d learned that our resident matched the description of a
person the DEA was already keeping a close eye on for drug trafficking.
They’d come close to busting him several comes, but he’d always eluded them.
The man had multiple alias’s and was not only shrewd, he was also very
The Camera Doesn’t Lie
Alice looked up at the ceiling and pointed. “You see that thing up
there?” she asked me. I looked up and sure enough, there was a small
camera mounted in the corner of my office ceiling that I’d never noticed
“Everything that happened today was recorded. We also have cameras
outside our office and around the entire community. It was just a
matter of time before this guy was busted,” Alice explained.
“She’s right,” agreed one of the police officers. “We’ve had this guy
under surveillance for a while now. With what we got today, we’ll be
able to shut him down—hopefully for good.”
Another officer stepped over and reached out to shake my hand. “We
really appreciate your help,” he told me.
I was still numb from everything that had occurred and really shaken by
the ordeal. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if our
resident or Ray got out of jail and came back to harm me. It was just too
Shortly after this incident, I resigned my onsite position and accepted a
job working at our corporate office. Although I really miss interacting
with our residents, it’s good to know that in my current role it’s highly
unlikely that I’ll be used as a “Patsy” in another drug deal!”
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