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Diaries of a Theme Park Employee

Part 1

Photo by Will Myers

The second job I ever had was working for a theme park in the photos department. And while there were good times, there were also moments where I just wanted to melt behind the counter from embarrassment or even just frustration. I remember my first angry and aggressive guest. He was approximately 35 years old and had his wife with him. Working for the photos department required us to know the policies of the department and the park. If a person does anything inappropriate, the photo gets censored. So being the newly trained employee I was, I checked the photo like I was supposed to do. From what I saw, the guy had shot the middle finger at the camera (a censorable offense). Then I waited until I saw the gentleman, who was with his wife and asked him politely and courteously not to do it again. He said that he didn't do it but that's what almost everyone says when they get caught. So I explained to him that I have photographic evidence that he did it when I should have just apologized and said: "Yes, sir." 

So I walked up to the counter and I doubled and even tripled checked the photo, all while he is giving me attitude and getting aggressive. His wife wasn't any better. She was defending him which I understand, but she started to insult me and it made me feel like the size of an ant. When I checked the photo, I realized I made a mistake. He was innocent. He didn't do anything. I immediately apologized and explained that it was just a mistake. He blows up at me. He starts yelling about how stupid I was and started to curse at me. My coworker was trying to get him to calm down because he started disturbing other guests who were trying to get their photo, and he said that it was none of her business and that he could curse at me if he wanted to, I started to cry. I know it seems childish to cry, but that is what ended up happening. My coworker decided to call our supervisor and security. I kept apologizing and he was screaming directly in my face me was telling me: "You will be sorry!" I run into the storage room and let it all out. I understand I made a mistake but there was no reason to be so cruel. It was all overwhelming. My supervisor and manager arrived along with security. The security guard came into the storage room and asked me if the guest made any direct threats in any way. I felt threatened but he never said anything directly threatening. That's what I told her. She went back outside. My coworker came in and told me that I needed to go out there and defend myself because he was saying so many lies. Then I walked out to get my water bottle and I heard him say that I embarrassed him in front of everyone, that he felt "profiled." Sure he was a 35-year-old white man with tattoos but I didn't even care about that. I don't care if a person has tattoos, I think of them as art. He started to say that he paid thousands of dollars at the park and proceeded to passively aggressively suggest that I be fired. I kept trying to apologize and explain that it was an honest mistake. He didn't want to hear it. My manager kept trying to make the situation better but the guest and his wife wouldn't accept anything other than my termination of employment. When my manager said that he wouldn't be doing that, he walked away stating that he would never step foot in the park again. Afterward, my manager and supervisor asked me to step into the storage room, I was hysterical. My manager assured me that I was not in any trouble and that my supervisor would walk me to the break room so I could calm down. We got to the break room and I explain that I usually don't cry at things like this, but it was all overwhelming. She asks if I need anything to eat or drink and I decline. She told me she had to run but that I can stay there as long as I needed. I sat there for a good 20 minutes. Then I went to the bathroom and rinsed my face and my neck. I looked in the mirror and my eyes were red. I couldn't believe how cruel a person could get, but it was a reality check. 

All of this was a big lesson I had to learn. Sometimes instead of being right, I need to just say "Yes, sir" and move on instead of proving myself right. I walked back to my location and I finished the rest of my shift and went on with life. But I'll never forget this memory.

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