Situational Awareness For Everyone & Personal Safety Education - SAFESavesLives

Terror on Miami Beach


A Relaxing Stay Can Become A Tense Situation


Sometimes being armed with the skills and knowledge to protect yourself is not enough. Being able to utilize those skills and bring information to an authority who can address a potential situation is just as vital.


The Sundance Hotel is one of the finest establishments in the Miami area. Though it is not situated on the shoreline itself, it has a stunning view of the beach and overlooks the crystal blue waters of the ocean. It’s been known as a hotspot for some of the hottest names in Hollywood and the music industry, and often sponsors music festivals right on the beach.


Jeffrey Drew worked at the Sundance as a porter. In his almost four years at the hotel, he’d interacted with almost every kind of guest, from the famous person looking for privacy during their stay to the occasional traveling businessman who checks in with a scantily-clad companion for a few hours. But one particular guest stood out in Jeffrey’s mind.


Some Weird Behaviors Stand Out Like A Sore Thumb


It was a hot June day, and guests were piling in to be a part of the upcoming “Summer Sands” Music festival. A few of the headliners were booked in the suites occupying the top floors of the hotel while most of the standard rooms were packed with festival attendees.  


An older gentleman approached the desk and proceeded to check into his room. As he finished signing the paperwork, Jeffrey approached with a cart and reached for the black suitcases at his feet.


“Don’t touch those!” the man shouted at Jeffrey .


“It’s fine, sir. They’ll be safe in my care.” Jeffrey wrapped his fingers around the handle of one of the bags. The old man, quick as lightning, slapped Jeffrey’s hand. Jeffrey pulled back, his skin stinging.


“It’s fine, young man. I’ll take my bags myself.”


As Jeffrey walked away from the desk, he heard the concierge say to the old man, “Room 1822 has a clear view of the ocean, just like you requested.”


The old man walked away from the desk and headed for the elevators. Jeffrey watched as his head swiveled from side to side, his eyes scanning the lobby. What the old man was looking for, however, Jeffrey couldn’t say.


If You See Something, Say Something


Throughout the weekend, Jeffrey helped dozens of guests take their luggage through the hotel. Each time he wound up on the 18th floor, however, he took time to sneak a peek at room 1822, the old man’s room. And each time he did so, the “Do Not Disturb” sign hung from the doorknob. He thought it was strange that someone would check into the hotel but not go out to see the city, but he kept that opinion to himself.


On Sunday evening, as soon as he got off work, Jeffrey headed to the music festival to meet his friends. They spent the night on the beach listening to the musicians and eating fresh food from the vendors. As he sat in the sand, listening to the music, a massive red and yellow flash spread across the beach, followed by a ground-shaking boom. Jeffrey shot to his feet and spun around to find tendrils of flames licking out of the top floors of the Sundance. Debris fell from the hole in the building, and the fire quickly spread through the exposed rooms.


Jeffrey counted the windows from the ground floor up to the worst part of the damage and realized that the explosion came from the 18th floor. Exactly where the weird old man was staying.


Though Jeffrey recognized the old man’s peculiar behavior, he said nothing which resulted in disaster. Though behavioral analysis is a skill that can keep you and your loved ones safe, it doesn’t mean anything without the courage to speak up. Our S.A.F.E. course will help you to recognize the warning signs, but it’s up to you to say something when you feel there’s danger abound.


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