American Embassy Madrid, Spain 1997.
The forces of evil tend to live in mortal terror of your average Marine standing post. This generally to leads to hours of very boring and uneventful duty. While this is precisely why the State Department likes having us around at consulates and embassies worldwide, it also makes what could be exciting work turn into an endless battle against boredom.
The Consular Sections daily processed hundreds of people for entry visas and other issues. Before entering they would be screened by local security guards. All the entry and exit points in the embassy have magnetic locks controlled by the Marine Guards at Post 1.
On one particular balmy Madrid afternoon a father and son entered the building and stopped to speak to the local guard before being screened. The young boy, no older than three or four, quickly grew bored and began pushing on the crash bar of the bulletproof glass door leading back outside.
Being the vigilant kind of watch stander I was my senses were always highly tuned to detect the possibility of mayhem or find the opportunity to cause same.
As the young lad threw his weight behind the door it opened and he slipped outside to see if anything interesting was going on out there. The door shut behind him and I immediately toggled the mag lock on firmly sealing the door. The boy kicked around the top step for a moment and turned back to the door as he realized it had shut behind him. Grabbing the handle he began to tug in futility. Valiantly he put his back into the pull straining with all his might. Veins and sweat began to appear on his little brow as he heaved to no avail. I was having a ball.
The father glanced down and finally noticed his son missing. First looking left then right as parents do he spun around searching the immediate area of the lobby. Finally he located the boy who, unable to see through the one way glass, had plastered his face against the door trying to look in. As soon as dad’s hand hit the crash bar I toggled the switch to off and the door opened smoothly as I rubbed my hands together and cackled evilly.
The poor kid was yanked unceremoniously back into the lobby for some harsh discipline. Sorry kid, some lessons have to be learned the hard way.