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    Not All Visitors Stink

    | Panama City Beach, FL, USA | Awesome Customers, Family & Kids, Pets & Animals, Top, Wild & Unruly

    (I work at the snack shack at my local zoo one summer. We have a huge group of middle-school aged kids in the park, and their supervisor has all 75+ of them come to the shack at once for lunch. I have been serving for about forty-five minutes when this happens.)

    Kid #1: “Can I get a water and a hot dog for five dollars?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    (I ring him up, take his money, and give him the water. I’ve turned around to get the hotdog and am just coming back when I hear a shriek.)

    Me: “What happened?”

    Kid #1: “I don’t know.” *grabs hot dog and walks off*

    (I try to calm the kids down, and just when they’re in a line again, I smell an powerful odor; it’s obviously what caused the shriek.)

    Me: “Someone set off a stink bomb. One second…”

    (I radio the front so they know, but there are other groups in the park and it’s not an immediate danger, so it’s still just me.)

    Kid #2: “Yeah. I want to know who it is so we can get them later.”

    Me: “Here’s your order. So, someone decided to set off a stink bomb right where you all are getting and eating food?”

    Kid #3: “Pretty much. I want a cheeseburger and a soda.”

    Me: *still serving* “…In a place full of animals with a great sense of smell, like the bears and mandrills behind me?”

    Kid #4: “Don’t worry. We’ll figure it out and beat them up for you!”

    Me: “Oh, that’s sweet.”

    (I keep serving for about another ten minutes when I again hear a shriek; this time, it turns into hysterical screaming. I look and see that one of the parrots has been spooked off his perch, and, for some reason, several kids are screaming since he’s on the ground near them. I grab the radio and tell the keepers, but put up my “Back in Five Minutes” to calm the screaming kids down..)

    Me: *to the screaming kids* “It’s okay. Just back away from the macaw, kids. He’ll be fine; you’ll be fine. Just back up.”

    (The kids do so, and a keeper prepping for the wolf show runs over to put the bird back.)

    Me: “Thanks.”

    Keeper: “No problem. Hang in there…”

    (The keeper has just left when I hear yet another kid yell.)

    Another Kid: “Leave him alone!”

    (I turn to see some kids spooking our white peacock; this other kid, a girl, is trying to protect it.)

    Me: “Oh for the love of… that is the head keeper’s personal favorite animal! Desist!”

    (The kids break up, apparently snickering at my use of the word ‘desist’. I get back into the shack.)

    Kid #6: “Yay, you’re back. Um, a hot pretzel and soda.”

    (After I serve him, I see Kids #2 and #3; they’ve come back with a large group. To my surprise, the kids proceed to empty all the change I’ve given them into the donation jar.)

    Kid #2: “Sorry it’s been so crazy. I swear we’re not all that bad!”