I work in IT and a couple days a month I have to work late after everyone else has left the office because I am running jobs that cannot take place while users are in the system. The important thing to take away from this is that most nights the entire office is completely empty but, twice a month, one person is in there working late.
Most of the time on these late nights I just stay in the server room because there is security door with a door code and I hate going in and out as it requires me to punch in the code every time. It's just easier to stay in there and run everything from in there.
So . . . somewhere during this time period the cleaning crew that had been performing janitorial services in my building lost the contract and a new company stepped in. The old cleaning crew knew me, had bumped into me numerous times, and had a rough idea of when to expect me. Not generally a problem. I didn't realize there was a new cleaning crew and, apparently, no one thought to warn them about my weird shift.
So, anyway, this woman is cleaning what she thinks is an empty office. Little does she know that I'm actually in the server room at the same time. Late in the night, around midnight, I have to wait for one job to finish before I can star the next. So, I decided to do some cleaning up.
A former coworker recently retired. Nice guy. Really friendly. But he was also a pack rat. He worked there for over 20 years and never threw anything away. Empty boxes, obsolete calenders, and AOL CDs littered the place. Now that he was gone, we were trying to get rid of a couple decades of useless debris.
I grab an armful of empty boxes, step out of the server room, go around the corner where we keep a card for recycling and dump the boxes in. The cart was empty so I knew the cleaning crew had already been through. Not a problem, just an observation. I go back into the server room.
Apparently the cleaning woman came back about that time and saw that the cart she had just unloaded was now overflowing with boxes again. She apparently called out to see if anyone was around but - well - server rooms are loud. I never heard her.
She turns off the lights in the office and starts doing a runner for the door. She goes down the hall and into the break room to head out the exit that way. The lights come back on behind her. She goes back into the hallway and the office is empty again. Even more boxes are in the cart (yes, I had gone back into the server room by the time she got back). She turns off the lights again and bolts for the exit. She's now outside the office and heading for the elevators. The reception area has glass doors and she sees lights turn back on again.
Now the entire time this is happening she is never there when I come out of the server room. I know that the cleaning person must have turned out the lights but I don't see anyone and I'm turning them back on because it is almost pitch black in the office and I don't want to trip over anything. I'm not playing mind games. Just each time I think I just missed them and they've already left.
The cleaning woman by now is creeping back in the office trying to figure out what is going on. She's tip toeing down the hallway when, finally, we are both in the hallway at the same time.
She . . . apparently didn't realize what the server room was or something. She certainly didn't realize there was room in there for someone to be working. She's looking down this dark hallway and I round the corner. Apparently, from where she was, it was like seeing a silhouette of a man just appear. One moment the hallway is empty and the next there is someone standing there facing her.
I don't realize she's there as, once more, I'm carrying out trash.
I hear a panicked shout and look up to see this stranger in the office retreating in terror.
Fortunately she calmed down enough to ask me who I was. I think seeing a guy wearing a polo shirt and carrying loose garbage must have been more reassuring than, say, a prison jumpsuit while carrying a machete.
"You scared me!" she said.
Her scared? I was the one who just got screamed at.