Serving civil process is often too exciting and is perpetually, non-stop OJT (on the job training).
I received papers to serve on the heavyweight boxer, Pedro Lovell, often referred to as "KO King," "The LA Bomber," "The Jawbreaker," and "One Punch." He also appeared as Spider Rico, in the movies, Rocky and Rocky Balboa.
Lovell was to fight the unbeaten Leroy Jones at the San Diego Sports Arena the following week. Fortunately, my wife worked at the Sports Arena, and her friend was head of security, who agreed to give me access through the loading dock.
On the day of the fight, I found the Arena packed with thousands of cheering boxing fans. I stood at the back of the crowd intending to serve Pedro as he approached or climbed into the ring, but after hearing the announcer give Lovell and Brown's stellar boxing history, I decided to watch the bout and serve him when the fight ended.
It was a fantastic fight, both gave it their all, but Pedro landed more punches, and, when it ended, I was sure that he won the 10-round battle. Pedro danced around the ring in the joyous fashion of Muhammad Ali, while Brown slowly walked to his corner with his head down, looking dejected like he knew he lost the fight.
It took a long time for the decision to be made; then, the announcer climbed into the ring, called the two to the center, and took hold of each of their wrists. The audience was chanting, "Pedro, Pedro, Pedro."
Then, to everyone's surprise, the announcer lifted both of their hands in the air and announced the fight a "Draw." Everyone in the audience responded with a loud gasp, stood up, and furiously booed, swearing at the judges. Lovell exploded in a fury, ran over to the judges, and started yelling at them along with the crowd. He stomped furiously around the ropes, declaring that he won, then angrily exited the ring and went to his dressing room, yelling and swearing.
You can imagine what I was saying to myself, "Dummy, you should have served him before the fight!" (An OJT moment.)
Reluctantly, I headed to his locker room. Animated to the extreme, he was waving his arms and screaming at his trainer and manager as I walked in.
There was a waist-high, long stainless-steel table between Pedro and me. He shouted at me, "What do you want?" (Oh, Crap! Here goes!)
I said, "Mr. Lovell, I have a summons for you."
He screamed threats and profanity, and if he could leap over the table, he would have. I was thankful the table was long because it gave me that distance to get a head start on him as he charged around it and chased me out of the locker room and into the basement auditorium.
I've always been a fast runner, and I said to myself, "legs, don't fail me now." I ran like the wind around the audience, through the maze of pillars, chairs, and people, heading for the loading dock exit.
Pedro, thankfully, wasn't faster than me, but he was on my butt, just a few steps behind the entire way. I was wearing wingtip shoes with leather soles (I always wore a coat and tie), and was slipping at every turn on the concrete floor, which gave Pedro the advantage, running in his rubber sole boxing shoes. Still, I was motivated by the fear of getting my ass kicked by a heavyweight professional boxer. To him, I was the bad-guy, process server; to me, it was a life and death situation.
Three security guards were standing at the loading dock. As I tried to run past them, the lead guard jumped in front of me and stopped me. I turned just as Pedro was about to jump me, but the other two guards grabbed him just a few feet away. They held him as he wrestled to get loose and tried desperately to kick me numerous times. (He would have been a great UFC fighter.)
I explained to the guards that I had just served Pedro with legal documents. They released me and ordered me to leave quickly while restraining Pedro as he continued trying to break free, swearing non-stop.
As I said at the start, process serving is perpetually on-the-job training. Lesson learned - never, ever wait until the fight is over.
Story by Tony Snesko, CEO