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Please Exit Panic Mode

, , , | Right | March 3, 2021

I work as a janitor in a medium-sized amusement park. During the winter season, we have a nighttime light show that projects on the outside of the nearby trees and buildings and attracts hundreds of guests that sit on benches or stand in the street during the show.

One night, after the show is over, I start cleaning up while answering guest questions. As I’m helping a guest locate the ADA shuttle to the entrance, I’m quickly interrupted by a man in his late sixties.

Old Man: “Excuse me. Is there a supervisor I can speak to?”

Sensing the urgency in his voice, I ask my guest to hold on a moment while pulling out my radio.

Me: “Absolutely. Do you know what department you’d like to contact?”

Old Man: “Security. Calling them isn’t necessary. I just wanted to say that I am appalled that there was no announcement before the show where any emergency exits were.”

It needs to be mentioned that we are outside, there are three very wide streets that all lead away from this location, AND there are dozens of staff members at every exit point all trained in emergency procedures, so even in a panic, there would be little issue escaping in an emergency.

Me: “I understand your concern, but every path here is actually a safe exit route. I can have a security officer come speak—”

Old Man: *Interrupting* “There has to be an announcement before any and every show that warns people what to do if a disaster happens!”

I try to think of ONE amusement park I’ve been to that made an announcement like this before a show. None come to mind.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. If you’d like to contact security or the guest services department to leave a comment, maybe they will include an announcement in the future.”

The man is becoming increasingly agitated.

Old Man: “No, no, no, you don’t understand. This is my line of business—”

He pulls out his wallet to flash his security badge for some other company.

Old Man: “—and I was never told where to go in case of an emergency! You saw all these people standing here. Don’t you remember Las Vegas?!”

He then gestures to all the high places around us and looks at me expectantly. Frustrated, not sure exactly what he expects me to do about this, I drop my cheery tone but maintain a smile.

Me: “Sir. I am a janitor. There is absolutely nothing I can do for you. If you want to give your concerns to guest services, they are located at the main entrance.”

He realized I wouldn’t give in to his alarmism, so he huffed and shuffled away. After finally helping my waiting guest, I radioed the attendants in the office to give them notice in case he wanted to complain. 

While I understand the general concern that is now omnipresent in the United States, scaring people won’t prevent tragedies. And even if you agree that guests should be warned of obvious escape routes before congregating anywhere, expecting a janitor to have any power over the situation is asinine.

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