The Bowels of Humanity

I think I encountered the bowels of humanity the other day.

On Friday before leaving work I went downstairs to our social hall to get some food out of the fridge before heading home at 6:00, and I heard water on in the kitchen. I thought someone had left a sink on…that is, until I saw water seeping under the two doors. I dashed over to open the kitchen, and I found that the floor was completely flooded.

The source of the flooding was a copper pipe on the south wall. Water was gushing out, really gushing. I couldn’t remember what the pipe normally looked like, but I thought at the time that a cap had come off the end of the pipe. It’s the vertical pipe in the attached photo without a shutoff valve.

Regardless, I knew I had to shut it off before it got worse, so I dashed around and called for help. Thanks to some awesome residents and coworkers, we located a shutoff valve above the men’s bathroom. We also shut off a bent pipe in the janitor’s closet that was spraying some water.

Then we went to work getting the water off the floor. We were helped by a wet-vac and a working drain. We kept looking for the cap that had presumably popped off the pipe, but we couldn’t find it.

Then, as I was heading out around 7:30, our maintenance guy showed up. When I showed him the bent pipe, he thought it was very odd. Then when I showed him the pipe in the kitchen, he knew what we didn’t: The pipe had literally been ripped off the wall. By a person. On purpose.

That means that someone came into my building and in the name of making an easy dollar off of some copper pipe, they left a pipe that was gushing water into our kitchen and walked away.

This is where I get to the bowels of humanity.

I understand that there are poor, desperate people out there. They do stupid things like break into cars and spend their welfare on lottery tickets instead of a future for their kids.

But who steals copper pipe from the interior of a church?

This guy probably got scared when he saw the water and ran off. But there are so many things he could have done to tell us about the water without incriminating himself. He could have called. He could have left a note. He could have pretended like someone else did it and told me face to face like a man. (Sorry about the gender assumption here–we’re pretty sure we know who did it, as there was a suspicious stranger on the facility that day.)

But he didn’t. He just walked away, leaving the kitchen to flood. All for a $5 stretch of pipe.

I usually don’t even go down to the social hall before leaving. In fact, I probably do that only 3-4 times a year. The next person who might have discovered the flooding would have been the hospitality volunteers on Sunday morning–by then the entire basement could have flooded.

And this guy just walked away.

I hope that guy turns his life around. Because I literally don’t think he could stoop any lower than he did on Friday.