Today started out much like any other day -- I woke up (thank You 🙏🏼), got ready for the day, kissed my wife and kids, and left for the office. I pulled into the parking lot, again, as usual; except this time, there were no cars in the lot. I had to double-check my watch -- 9:27 am; since call time at Z Palette is 9 am, everybody should be here. And the parking lot should be full.
I opened the front door to the building, looked in the warehouse -- no lights, no people. I bound up the stairs and headed for the main office, a wide-open, spacious bullpen area that was even more wide open and spacious this morning because there were no people there.
I got confused. I wondered what was going on. Was there some holiday that I forgot about? Was there a mutiny afoot? Were my leadership skills in question?
I called the CEO -- "Zena, there's nobody here."
"What do you mean there's nobody there?"
"I mean there's nobody here. No lights on, no people; the parking lot's empty."
"Did you call anybody?"
"I called Brianne, no answer. I called Jasmine, her phone went straight to voicemail. Did we forget about something? Do you know anything?"
"No,". Then, "I'll try calling Yvonne."
"Okay, let me know," I said, then hung up.
I looked in the back offices, checked each office -- same thing, no one there. I headed back to the bullpen, hoping that what was going on was just a momentary glitch, that our employees would be there. But it was just like before -- empty.
I walked back downstairs and out the front door. There's a small bench by the entrance, a great place to relax. I sat there, thinking. Something was wrong; something was up with our employees. I thought everything had been okay up to that point. I thought everyone felt appreciated, challenged, respected. Maybe I was wrong. Could it all be my fault? If they were upset by something, this was definitely not the right way to handle it.
The phone rang; it was Zena -- "You find out anything?"
"No. You get a hold of Bri?"
"No, I left her a voicemail."
I stood up, started slowly walking back into the building. I was determined to maintain calm, be patient. As I walked by the warehouse, I noticed a slight movement between the aisles. "Wait a minute," -- I was still on the phone with Zena; "What? What's going on?", she said.
"I see somebody."
I slowly approached. Then I heard giggling, and shuffling.
Someone's phone had started buzzing in the corner, and then everyone came running out of their hiding places screaming and laughing. I started laughing too, partly because I'd just had one of the best pranks ever played on me -- even Zena was in on it -- and mostly out of relief that all was well; that not only did we have great employees, we had a family that could play together and laugh together.
The mastermind behind that sick, twisted, sadistic prank texted me some video footage of that moment yesterday to remind me, one year later, of what she's capable of, and that it's April Fool's Day.