Searching Around The World For Them

, , , | Right | January 12, 2020

(I work retail at a major US zoo. It’s worth noting that it’s a really large zoo and it takes a while to get from one area to another. On this particular day, I am working the rentals booth where guests can rent strollers, wheelchairs, or electric scooters. Whenever a guest rents one of our electric scooters, we give them a phone number to call if they have any issues with it so that we can bring them a new one. I have just finished my break and walked back into the booth.)

Coworker: “Hey, I had a call a few minutes ago about a scooter. They said it’s not dead, but it’s running slowly. They’re in Polar, but right as they called I got a long line and I haven’t had a chance to call someone to go run them a new one.”

Me: “Well, it’s time for your break. Do you want to run the scooter out and then go on break or have me go do it and wait to take your break?”

Coworker: “You go ahead and run it; I’ll be fine waiting.”

(I hop on one of our remaining scooters and begin driving towards Polar, which is a trek away from the front entrance. I finally get there and drive all around Polar looking for a guest on a scooter. After going all around the region and finding no one, I give up and drive back. It takes me several more minutes to get back to the front of the zoo where Rentals is located.)

Me: “I searched all over Polar and couldn’t find her.”

Coworker: “She called back after you left and said she moved to Africa. I tried finding a way to get a hold of you.”

(I groan because Africa is even farther in the same direction I had just been.)

Me: “Well, you need to take your break. You go, and I’ll call someone to hold down the fort while I go back out there.”

(He leaves and a couple of minutes later I get a second coworker to come in from another shop. I thank him for his help and then grab another scooter to leave again. In order to get to Africa in our zoo, you have to go through the North American region. North America is set up in a loop so there are two paths you can choose to take to go through it. I had already taken the right-side path to get to Polar, so I decide to take the left path this time. After driving a few more minutes I pass by a guest on a rented scooter.)

Guest: “Are you the one bringing the replacement scooter?”

Me: “Yes, are you the one who called from Africa?”

(It turns out she is. Luckily for her, I chose the path through North American that she was coming down. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have run into her and I would’ve spent who knows how long driving around Africa, which is one of our largest regions, trying to find her until someone could get a hold of me to tell me she wasn’t there. When I get back to Rentals the coworker who was helping me is seething.)

Coworker #2: “Did you find her?”

Me: “Yeah, luckily, I chose the right path through North America. Otherwise, I never would have known she’d left Africa.”

Coworker: “Shortly after you left, she called here and chewed me out, complaining about how long it was taking to get her replacement and how she was moving again. I tried to get her to understand that if she didn’t stay in one place we wouldn’t be able to find her.”

(I get that the guest didn’t want to waste her time at the zoo just staying in one place, but if she had just been a little patient and stayed in Polar to begin with, I could have gotten her replacement to her at least thirty minutes sooner.)

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