If this were a scandal, would it be called Gategate?

Here’s a story I’d like to submit, but I thought I’d run it past you good people to see what needs adding and/or trimming.

I work for a small engineering business. The car park isn’t particularly big, but because of the layout, it requires two car entrances. There are no pedestrian-only entrances; we all just walk through either of the gates (of the large metal railing sort, with pointy bits on the top to dissuade people from climbing over). When you’re standing on the pavement you can see both gates, but when you get up close to either of the closed gates, you can’t see the other one, but you can see traffic passing through it.

This happened early one morning in December 2022. As it was getting to the end of the year, people were using up their holidays, and on this particular day, the usual person who opens both gates was off. The Technical Manager ™ had a key to just one of the gates (we’ll call this Gate 1). As he was unlocking it, the Labourer (L) was walking past; he was going to the nearby food truck before going to work. TM and L exchanged a greeting, and TM added something else:

TM: “I’ve only got the key for this gate, so you won’t be able to use the other one”

He later said that if he knew that throwaway comment was going to cause so much hassle, he wouldn’t have said anything.

Fast forward a few minutes, and other members of staff have arrived, parked up, and are sat in the break room passing time before the bell rings to indicate that the work has begun. There was a lot of noise coming from outside, so they looked through the window, and saw L violently shaking the locked gate (Gate 2). He was also screaming “Let me in! Let me in!”

They also saw other staff driving in through Gate 1 and parking up. They would look at him and then just walk inside. At this point I should add that L is not much liked, as he seldom does the big cleaning tasks that he should be doing, but instead cleans simple stuff that doesn’t need cleaning. He also spends a lot of the time he should be working by interrupting people whilst they are working with inane topics (like the weather), and insane topics (like aliens building the pyramids), and ignoring them telling him to leave them alone.

So after a few minutes of this going on, one of the Assembly Guys (AG) went outside to tell him to come in. AG walked through the open gate out on to the pavement, and called out to L. L, by this point, was now hanging completely on to the gate with his feet resting on the lower horizontal rail, and was really letting rip with the screaming and shaking.

AG: “Come inside, you daft [expletive]; this gate is open!”

L just looked at him and then turned his head back to the building and resumed his shouting and shaking.

AG went back inside and found TM.

AG: “Can you hear all that?”

TM: “I can hear some metal rattling around, but I thought that was the sheet metal company over the road being noisy. Why, what’s up?”

AG explained what was going on, and TM went outside.

TM: “What the [expletive heavy language] do you think you’re doing, making all that noise and disturbing everyone??? Get off the [expletive] gate and some inside this instant! Think yourself lucky I haven’t got the authority to send people home from work, otherwise I would be sending you home right now!”

The message finally got through, and L went inside.


The above is the only thing I find confusing; I can’t figure out what TM thinks that comment had to do with L’s actions.


I think that L would have just come into work and been the usual pain in the backside he usually is but this time he found a way to do that off-site(ish) because of the TM’s comment.


Oh - so the idea is that he used TM’s comment to deliberately go to the wrong gate and make a massive ruckus? If so, I think that needs to be spelled out somewhere.


To be perfectly honest, no one knows why L did what he did. TM was guessing afterwards that it was this throwaway comment that caused it, but we don’t know for certain.


What we have here is a genuine case of batf*ck insanity.

Submit the story, my friend!


I’ve submitted it now. I did make a small change. I replaced

He later said that if he knew that throwaway comment was going to cause so much hassle, he wouldn’t have said anything.


(Much later on, we all wondered if what TM said was the trigger for what followed. But none of us have any idea, as L’s actions defied all logic…)

What I didn’t include in the story is the suspicion some people had that he was drunk. I have no way to prove it, and I don’t think it adds anything to the story.

Nor have I included any of what happened when the bosses came in. I dare say TM did tell the bosses, but as that is between the bosses and L, TM would never say (he does have good professional integrity).

L is still working here (for a loose definition of the word “working”) and he is as highly respected by other staff as he has ever been…


Silly me… i forgot to do my usual suggestion of a title when i submitted it! Ah, well…

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