We Are All a Sergeant-at-Arms

Accountability Purpose


Key Point: Leadership opportunities present themselves on a daily basis. And sometimes when there’s an incredible combination of events, everyday people are confronted with moments of unimaginable leadership-truth that transform the mundane into heroism (or not). Who will ever forget Captain Sully saving hundreds of lives against all odds, expertly landing his plane on the Hudson River? This past week in typically sleepy Ottawa, a mostly ceremonial security role turns into heroism.

Kevin Vickers, 58, and Canadian Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms confronted cowardice terrorist Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and shot him at point-blank range while risking his life. 

According to the CBC, Vickers was in his office when he heard gunshots. He grabbed his semi-automatic pistol and ran out into the passage, where his security team pointed out that Zehaf-Bibeau was hiding around a pillar just meters/feet away.

The sergeant-at-arms immediately ran to the other side of the pillar, and could see the gunman’s firearm poking out. According to witnesses, in one motion, Vickers dove to the floor around the pillar, shooting Zehaf-Bibeau in mid-air, Jason Bourne style.

Vickers is a national hero in Canada. How do you think Vickers was thinking his day would go when he was eating breakfast that morning? I’m sure he wasn’t contemplating he’d be the country’s latest hero, but history has been written. Although unaware, Vickers was prepared.

Character Moves: 

  1. In order to take advantage of leadership-truth moments (small, big and the very unlikely ones), we have to be present in the instant presented to us.  Are you able to calm your mind and intentionally move through your day? It is a developed skill?
  2. Be ready for the unexpected. Vickers was very deliberate. After killing the coward, he calmly went back to his office and reloaded. (The speculation was more than one terrorist). He was clear-minded and totally in the moment. 
  3. Thankfully most of us will not have to make life or death decisions at work. However, having a clear set of personal leadership values and learning how to be totally present will help us be ready and intentional if/when whatever comes our way.

“Armed” and ready in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: News stories like these are some of my favorites. They reestablish faith in humanity, a raw “good versus evil” situation prevailing for the best. We might daydream of someday being a “hero” like Vickers is… But, even Vickers himself would probably prefer the event not to have happened in the first place. Thankfully, he reminded us that we’re not in control of those things, but if it’s ever our time to stand up and take action… Forget heroism, forget recognition, we act because it’s the right thing to do. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis.