The Hardest Event Tonight Is The Waiting Game

, , , , , , , | Working | October 19, 2019

(My brother has the opportunity to be on a TV competition about physical strength and agility. The show films at night so we all have to stay up to watch. The coordinator tells us that he will be on at 11:00 pm with the other competitors in his group. Not bad at all! It is supposed to be a warmer night, so we only bring sweaters to keep us warm. While my brother stays with the other competitors, the rest of us walk toward the seating area. A security guard stops us.)

Guard #1: “Can I help you?”

Mother: “My son is competing tonight and—”

Guard #1: “And you’ll be called when he goes on.”

Mother: “Oh. We just thought we would watch the other people.”

Guard #1: “That’s not allowed. Go wait outside until it’s your son’s turn.”

Mother: “We can’t watch? Do we have to buy tickets or something?”

Guard #1: “No, only seat fillers and people with the current competitor can be in there.”

Mother: “But there’s barely anyone watching. How do we become seat fillers?”

Guard #1: “Seat fillers can’t be family. Move along.”

(So, away we go to wait our turn. Small groups file in and out for a few hours. Eleven comes and goes and my brother still hasn’t had his chance. We go to another guard.)

Mother: “Excuse me? My son was supposed to run with the 11:00 group and—”

Guard #2: “You’ll be called when his turn comes.”

Mother: “Is there a coordinator or supervisor or someone I can talk to? It’s almost 1:00 am.”

Guard #2: “No.” *turns and walks away*

(It is getting colder and we are getting tired and impatient. Another hour passes with no word. My brother isn’t allowed to have his phone on him, so we can’t even ask if he knows anything. Some of us decide to nap until it is my brother’s turn. I am too excited to sleep, so I stay up as long as I could. Eventually, though, I nod off. My mother shakes me awake and tells me to get up. I open my eyes to see sunlight peeking over some of the buildings. I check my watch and see that it is nearly 6:00 am. Seven hours have passed since my brother was supposed to compete and FINALLY, his group is going. We go back to the entrance and [Guard #1] escorts us to a section by the end of the competition. Half of our group sits down and he ushers the other half to another section. It is far colder than any of us anticipated, so we are all shivering.)

Mother: “Excuse me. Why can’t we all sit together?”

Guard #1: “Gotta fill the spaces. A few small empty spots look better than one big empty spot.”

Mother: “You wouldn’t have empty spots if you’d let people watch.”

Guard #1: *glares* “Okay. Cheer loud, be proud, and don’t shiver!”

Sister: “We’re cold!”

Guard #1: “You should have thought of that!”

Mother: “We would have if someone had said we’d be here all night!”

Guard #1: “Not my problem, lady.” *walks away*

(My brother has his turn and the next person comes up. We all get up to leave but [Guard #1] steps in our way.)

Guard #1: “Where are you going?”

Mother: “We’re leaving.”

Guard #1: “There are more runners in the group. Go sit down.”

Mother: “And we would have stayed to watch had we not been here all night waiting.”

Guard #1: “What?”

Mother: “[Son] was supposed to run at 11:00 pm. That was seven hours ago. I would have sat here all night and watched everyone compete, but you said we couldn’t be here.”

Guard #1: “Well, I—”

Mother: *holds up her hand* “I understand that you’re just doing your job. But I hope you understand why I’m not willing to sit here anymore.”

(My mother pushes past the man, who stands there in stunned silence as we leave. When we are just beyond the exit, the guard decides he wants the last word.)

Guard #1: “Hey! Thanks for being true fans of [Competition]! Great team spirit!”

(The next season, my brother was contacted and asked to compete again. He declined.)

1 Thumbs
495