Everyone has heard of ‘Karens’ calling the cops on people for nothing more than going about their everyday lives, and, apparently doing HVAC maintenance is no exception. In a viral TikTok video posted last month, a young Black HVAC technician films a woman in Golden Valley, Minnesota, who booked an appointment for an air duct cleaning, then phoned the cops in hysterics after he showed up.

“Karen freaks out and calls police on young black man trying to do his job [mind blown emoji]” reads his video headline, posted with the caption “Here’s a sample of what life is like being a black man in America.”

In the video, Alonzo Harmon stands outside a home in a snowstorm, wearing his company uniform and a logoed winter hat. The woman can be seen in the background, in the garage.

“She is on the phone with 911 right now,” says Harmon. “Lying to the police saying that I just threatened her.”

A minute later, the woman can be seen sobbing frantically on the phone. Harmon is in the driveway, and she hasn’t even closed the garage door yet.

“It’s crazy,” Harmon says as he continues to film, then walks down the driveway laughing in disbelief. “I already knew what it was when I first got here, though. … I’ve never in my life had to deal with no bulls**t like this.”


A Service Call Gone Sideways

Comments started piling up on TikTok asking if he was OK, so in two follow-up videos, Harmon shared details of how the service call, which took place last November, played out.

Harmon was dispatched to the woman’s house to perform air duct cleaning.

“Her husband was at work, so automatically I knew to be as gentle as possible — I am a stranger coming into your home, at the end of the day, and you’re by yourself, so I already knew how to approach the scene with her,” he recounted.

From the start, he said, things seemed off.

“As I’m talking to her for the first time, I’m already picking up a bad energy from her,” he said. He was cut off several times while explaining the details of the job. Once he started the furnace inspection, the woman hovered behind him, watching his every move.

“She’s literally right over my shoulder — she’s not leaving my side, she’s watching everything that I’m doing,” he recounted. Then she said, “They let you do a job like this?”

He tried to laugh it off.

“I’m there to make the money … I’m not really trying to talk,” he said. But the woman kept haranguing him about his qualifications.

“I can hear her over my shoulder … I kept hearing how long have I been doing the job? Do I know what I’m doing? Stuff like that,” he said. “I’m being professional, being as polite as possible, basically let her know that yes, I am a trained professional, I know what I’m doing here.”

He showed her the photos he had just taken of her furnace, and she claimed they weren’t of her home, even though she had been watching him work. Then she went on a rant, “basically saying she doesn’t trust me, she doesn’t think that I’m gonna do a good job in her home,” Harmon said.

At that point, he decided to end the service call. He let her know he wasn’t going to do the cleaning and that the office would be contacting her, and started to pack up his equipment. She followed him out, yelling “all sorts of things,” and that’s when she called the police.

So Harmon pulled out his phone and started videoing.

“Please, please, please! I’m so scared right now!” the woman is captured on video yelling into the phone, as Harmon stands outside in the driveway recording. “I’m shaking right now! Please, please! … I’m so scared!”

Harmon himself was scared, he said in the follow-up post, because he wasn’t sure how the police would respond. He said the police asked him to leave but not before asking on the woman’s behalf if he’d complete the air duct cleaning, which he declined.

“She was basically labeling herself as a problematic customer. I didn't want to create another problem by doing the cleaning and she call in later about something just to try to get a refund or even get me fired,” he said as his reason for not completing the call.

The woman never gave a reason for her distrust, but Harmon had his suspicions; he signed off the video with “Let’s end racism together.”


The Court of Public Opinion

Harmon’s initial video drew 98.7k comments, and among them were tradespeople expressing their support and praising his professionalism.

“Service manager for an HVAC company here. You did exactly what you should have,” wrote Donald Goellner, whose profile pic is the logo for Hats Off Heating & Cooling. “These are the kinds of customers that get listed as ‘Do not service.’”

Chimed in Tawny Cooper, “Yup I am an HVAC dispatcher and you did everything correctly!!! So sorry this happened to you!!!!”

Shanita Cooper, who works in restoration, said she never allows employees to go on calls by themselves due to the potential for this kind of situation.

Many people commented on how courteous Harmon remained, both in his retelling and the encounter in the driveway.

“I would hire you 10 times out of 10 just based on customer service alone,” wrote Greg Gosselin.