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Should I Rat On My Doorman?

Q. I came home at 3:30 A.M.  to my co-op on West 23rd Street, having spent most of the night churning out a motion for a preliminary injunction, only to find our doorman fast asleep, stretched out on the couch in the lobby right off the vestibule. He was so far gone that he didn’t hear the deafening clack of my stilettos as I ran across the granite floor. This is not the first time this has happened.  I like the guy and I know he works two jobs so he can send money back to his wife in Honduras.  Last time I caught him, he begged me not to say anything.  I don’t want to get him in trouble, but what if a burglar or a murderer or God knows who else took the unattended open door as an invitation to do something really bad. I’d never forgive myself.  What should I do? Confused in Chelsea

A.  Your conundrum is understandable, but ultimately the answer is clear. 

Short of plying him with Adderall or some other brain enhancing pill – which obviously I wouldn’t advise – there’s no way of preventing a recurrence.  Anyway, it’s the doorman’s responsibility to stay awake.  It may be sleep time for the rest of the building, but it’s work time for him and he can’t work if he’s asleep.  It’s admirable that he’s doing double duty to help his family back home, but that doesn’t mean he can use the night shift as a rest period. 

Your obligation arguably would be different if he were guilty of reading a newspaper or drinking a cup of coffee. I admit I have actively conspired in this kind of wrongdoing, bringing our doorman  steaming lattes on frosty winter mornings.  But no one ever got injured from a cup of coffee. OK, there are those hypersensitive types who sue Starbucks for overheated java, but that’s a whole different story.

Some years back a resident in a Greenwich Village building was brutally attacked in her apartment by a man who entered through the front door, repeatedly left propped open by the super.  She was awarded over a million dollars against the owner and the managing agent.  And now we not only have ordinary thugs to worry about, but also homegrown terrorists.   

That’s why for the  sake of your fellow residents, you have to report Rip Van Winkle to the managing agent so that the incident can be documented. Unless an owner goes on the record, and a report put in the files, it’s like the whole thing never happened. 

If it makes you feel better, you’re probably also doing the doorman a favor by providing him with a wake up call.  Doormen don’t get tanked for one offense, so by putting him on notice you’re giving him a chance to reform.

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