Unfiltered Story #131653

, , | Unfiltered | December 8, 2018

(It’s 8pm, I’m working alone at the Reference Desk and am in the middle of assisting patron #1 -via phone- who has multiple, complex questions. Patron #2, who had been quietly working at a nearby computer for several hours, now needs help with printing.)

Patron #2: Hey! You!

Me: (Not realizing that Patron #2 is addressing me, I keep talking to Patron #1) I tried using [Search Term XYZ] but it didn’t….

Patron #2: Hey, yooou! Are you going to help me with printing or not? This is ridiculous, not getting help when I need it!

Me: (covers mouthpiece) I’m sorry, I’m helping another patron on the phone, I will come help you as soon as I can.

Patron #2: I need help printing NOW! I’m going to be late catching my bus!! This is the second time today I’ve needed help and haven’t been able to get it! This is ridiculous!

Me: I can’t help you right at this moment, because I am helping another patron, but please go ask the checkout desk for help, and they will be able to send someone down.

Patron #2: FINE!  (He glares at me, and walks the 50 feet to the checkout desk, and comes back alone, and yells at the top of his lungs back towards the checkout desk) HEY! YOU BETTER HURRY UP! I’M GOING TO BE LATE FOR MY BUS!  *He turns to look directly at me, and he glares at me again. Less than 30 seconds later someone was there to help, and it took about another 30 seconds to resolve the problem and get Patron #2 his printouts. I finished helping Patron #1 just as Patron #2 was walking out of the library. I went up to the checkout desk to vent, and see if Patron #2 had been rude to them as well. Suddenly…)

Patron #2: *stomping back into the library* HEY! Are you talking about me??

Me:  Yes, because your behavior was rude, demanding, and uncalled for! I was helping another patron on the phone and I could not help you until I was done.

Patron #2:  Yeah, I had to go get help like you suggested! But it should have been you to help me because it’s your area!

Me: I could not stop helping the other patron, as they asked for help first and I did not know how long fixing your problem would take. Because you were in a hurry, I gave an alternative suggestion that you accepted and got the help you needed.

Patron #2: But it’s YOUR area! It’s ridiculous that you couldn’t help me!!

Me: Ok, what do you think should I have done instead? Hang up on the other patron?

Patron #2: (silent for a minute) I’m just a simple student that needed help, but I guess I will know better next time! (Turns to leave)

Me: If you are in such a hurry, why did you take the time to come back in to yell at me?  (Patron #2 pauses, looks back over his shoulder, glares at me again, and leaves. I walk back to the reference desk, and noticed that a USB drive was plugged into the computer Patron #2 had been using. Lost USB drives are common, and we try to find out who they belong to and get it back to the owner. I pull it, note the name, and Patron #3 sits at the same computer Patron #2 was using.  Next thing I know…. )

Patron #2 (addressing patron #3): Hey, I’m missing a USB drive, have you seen it? (They begin to look, I am sorely tempted to not say anything, but…)

Me (holding up the USB drive and using a neutral tone): Is this what you’re looking for?

Patron #2 (looking barely embarrassed): Uh, yes. Uhm, I’m sorry about my behavior. I’ve been here since 10am and I’m really tired, and um I should know better than to take my frustrations out on other people.

Me: Appreciated.  (Patron #2 starts to leave, again.)

Patron #3: YOU’RE FORGIVEN!!

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