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It is rare for any security professional to write about a joyful event.  Our work usually involves stories about break-ins, thefts, panhandlers, trespassers, investigations, interviews, report writings and/or emergency personnel on site.  There are so many tales with fear, threat and negativity involved that people might get the impression that security professionals live in a dark, gloomy world most of the time.  For this reason, I decided to present a joyful moment in a security professional’s life, this time, by focusing on a positive event in my life.  This event does not involve any darkness or heroism.  Rather, it involves being part of something joyful and wonderful.

On March 12, 2016, Cherryhill Mall in London, Ontario had a Winter Festival.  The festival’s theme was Star Wars.  There were several activities planned for both adults and children.  Light sabres were created at the crafts tables.  A scavenger hunt was undertaken by many participants to locate letters posted at the shop windows to spell out a mysterious word with a reward of a cupcake at the end of the hunt.  Picture booth awaited the crowd for free picture-taking with their favourite  characters.  Comic bookshops owners set up tables to acquaint the youngsters with the latest heroes.  All of this great event finally ended with a costume competition for all ages.


Costume Competition Winners in Adult Category

Of course, a security professional does not get to play.  Properties had to be guarded, especially because the mall is also the centre for the elderly population in the city who like to come together for a coffee.  The kids also had to be kept safe and away from dangerous electronic equipment.  The lost souls had to be directed to the right places.  And, the occasional panhandlers had to be discouraged from showing up in front of the entrance doors, by constant patrol of the mall property.

However, the atmosphere was very different from the usual dark, gloomy world of a security professional.  I had the opportunity to see the smiling faces of children and playful adults.  For example, I met the Mulheaon family whose youngest family members, Paityn, Ethan and Ewan were fully dressed up in their favourite star war characters.  The kids were adorable and they were ready to throw themselves into these events with full force.


Paityn, Ethan and Ewan Mulhearon dressed in their costumes

I also met a fully dressed Darth Vader who had the proper equipment to sound like the original character underneath the mask.  Some people thought that he was actually part of the hired entertainment and posed to take pictures with him.


Darth Vader

Yet, the event organizers did have an actual hired Boba Fett character with whom the mall manager, Bill MacGillivray, and I briefly posed for a photo.


Minto’s Cherryhill Mall Manager, Bill MacGillivray, and I, posing for a photo

Hence, this was an event where, even though I had to be vigilant at all times and work hard, I still get to smile while doing it!

This is a rare story that is usually not heard in the security world.  There is no fear, threat, tense moments, negativity or heroism in this story.  This is a story where a security professional’s work involved smiling and enjoying the presence of playful people of all ages.  This is a story that shows that our work does include joyful days and wonderful people in the world.  This is simply a rare story that was needed to be told.

M. J. Mandoki