CBS Radio Houston is used to having celebrities, artists and athletes visit the six radio stations on the 19th floor of 24 Greenway Plaza and that means having to deal with handlers, agents and in the case of Texans Connor Barwin building security and the Houston Police Department. I know what you’re thinking…it’s another highly paid, self-absorbed athlete gone bad. Barwin isn’t known for that type of behavior. So Wednesday at 7:15pm when SportsRadio 610’s Barry Warner came barreling down the hall and shouted “we have a crisis—Connor Barwin is locked in the bank downstairs!” I was at a loss as to what could have happened.
More amused than anything else, I gamely took the elevator down to the building lobby to find out the situation. Before I continue the story, you have to know that our building—24 Greenway Plaza—is built not only to withstand a Category 3 hurricane but it is also the offices the Israeli Consulate and there’s on-duty security 24/7 with cameras everywhere. ..so to say Hines Property Management takes building security seriously is an understatement.
When I got to the lobby, I saw Barwin lounging in a chair behind the securely locked glass doors of Compass Bank. To Barwin’s credit, he didn’t seem bothered at all by the situation. So I told him I’d be right back and went to the security desk to find out what is going on. Security was a blur of phone calls and staff rushing around trying to figure out who Barwin is and how he had managed to get in the bank. I greeted the Head of Security and told him, “That is Connor Barwin. He plays for the Texans and he’s a guest of CBS Radio. Can you let him out?” Believe me, everybody just stopped… so I repeated myself, “That’s Connor Barwin, I know him. Can you let him out?”
The Head of Security told me that they hadn’t verified who he is and that no one has ever gotten into the bank like this before. He then added, “The Police are on their way. He is to stay in there until they get here. Stand back.” Having nothing further to say, I called my boss, Program Director Gavin Spittle to report what was going on. I began the conversation with, “I’m not kidding about what I’m going to tell you…” and then proceeded to lay it out for him. After that, I went to talk to Barwin thru the glass. I asked him if he was alright, feeling ok, did he need anything? He explained how he had tried to ride the garage elevators to the lobby but when they wouldn’t work, he decided to take the stairs. The first door that opened from the staircase lead thru the back of the bank and to his current position in the bank lobby. All of the building elevators are locked after hours and can only be accessed by an employee using an Access Card or if Security buzzes you in.
I pleaded our case to the Head of Security…I mean, what could Barwin possibly steal in a locked vault—pens? Probably not the best time to have made that joke to security but they decided that the Head of Security and a second guard would go into the bank and have Barwin show them how he managed to get into the bank. I was told not to accompany them. Sure enough they disappeared into the back of the bank, down the stairwell, to a door that had not been properly secured. After that I was told I could escort Barwin upstairs to the radio station. We arrived only four minutes late for his interview with The Odd Couple, Shaun Bijani and Barry Warner. Four minutes late…that’s not bad for an athlete.