Captain’s Log 3,851
I got into it yesterday with an older gentleman, his son, two grandsons, and a foster child. Long story short…..
They pulled the race card on me. Their kids knocked down FIVE stanchions (one on the $175,000 lowrider, one on the $1,000,000 Tucker, and 3 in the motorcycle exhibit). When one of the staff started following them and asking them to please get those kids under control, I was called into the shouting match. This is what I heard.
“I am calling the media! You people need to be reported for racially profiling black people!”
“I am coming to the next board meeting to tell YOUR boss what horrible people you have working here!”
“You are just as guilty of racism as anyone here because you didn’t ask the Chinese kids to leave the chains alone!”
Oh dear. I couldn’t ask the Chinese kids to leave the chains alone because I was talking to those two guys! Anyway……this went on for almost 30 minutes. I heard it from every angle. I stayed cool, apologized for any misunderstandings, explained the value of the vehicles on exhibit, and then asked them what I can do to make the visitor experience more pleasant for people with unruly children (they DID admit the kids were unruly). By turning it around and asking their candid advice, I made them part of the solution. They left with four guest passes, handshakes all around, and smiles. I guess that year spent working for the corporate training company paid off. The volunteers who watched this unfold were amazed. They thought the situation was so bad it was going to require police intervention. They simply don’t understand that by responding to anger with anger, you make the situation worse. By staying calm, respectful, and listening until the person has absolutely nothing more to say, you can work on the problem.
Then, there was a guy who let his kids climb all over the display truck outside the building. It is clearly marked that it is not to be climbed upon. When a staff member told the kids to get down, the guy became enraged. He wanted to fight my staff member. I was called in for that too. I simply walked over to him and said, “Sorry. You can’t fight him. You have to fight me because I am responsible for what happens here. How would you like to proceed? This is your fight. You get to pick what we do.” I then took my cell phone and walkie talkie and made a gesture that I was emptying my pockets for battle. That ended that. He was so embarrassed he could have died.
3,000 people later, Freak Tuesday was over. I was so emotionally drained that I could barely keep my eyes open after dinner. I need this break. We close at 1:00 today and I will happily skip away for a few days of NOT WORKING.