Friday, July 13, 2012

Tales from the Firing Line- The Tram Tales.


Welcome to Friday Folks!
To give you a good send off for an excellent park weekend, we've got yet another "Tales from the Firing Line" for you to enjoy. Sorry it's a bit late but at least it's here!

"The Tram Tales"

This is a series of stories which comes from the various times I'd get pulled from my normal area to help work Traffic Control at SeaWorld Orlando. Now to understand why this happened, let me share a few details. Many moons ago before the major expansions in SeaWorld Adventure Parks, Before the year 2000, the park at summer normally had a total of about 5300 in staff. The winter hours they ran the "Skeleton Crew" of about 3000 until May of each year.
Now I gave SeaWorld 4.5 years of my life, all threw High School I worked for them and even slightly beyond then. Threw this time I was found to have common sense, use the knowledge of the park (and animals and events) to help folks. This got me cross-trained in 95% of the Park Operations department, so when they got short and wanted someone who knew their ass from a hole in the ground, outside of "Work Force" (which is their name for floaters who only did basic work like greeting and sweeping), I got called in a lot.

These are the tales from when I was called to Traffic, to be more exact. Trams.

1. ..But I don't want to WALK to my car!
It was nearly the end of a balmy night mid-April when this winning group stumbled onto the tram. Naturally I made my typical announcement:
"Good Evening, We hope you enjoyed your day here at SeaWorld Orlando! This tram is servicing ONLY the Pete and Penny Penguin Lot, that is Pete Penguin and Penny Penguin. We will not be traveling to any other lots tonight, ONLY Pete and Penny Penguin!
As more folks boarded the tram, I kept making my announcement. Trying to make folks aware we only went to TWO LOTS, the ones are the very far end of the parking lot way off to the left.  Many folks would board until we where nearly full, hear the annoucement and unload themselves. This group however, did not.

Look, I made you an image!
Sorry I'm no artist!
Blue is the original "Parking Lot" we had then.
Pink is the area of Pete and Penny Penguin.
Yellow is where the trams would wait.

Well, this group wasn't leaving and we had about a half load. Pretty good for 45 minutes after the fireworks, so I made my next annoucement:
"Once again, this tram is ONLY servicing the Pete and Penny Penguin Parking Lots! Please keep your arms and legs inside the tram at all times while in motion, please fold all strollers and seat small children to the inside of the row. "
A quick look, all looks good.
"Driver, we're clear to depart"
The following honk of Acknowledgement and we where on our way out. It's not a very long ride, 2-3 minutes at the longest. We quickly arrive at our drop location.
"Okay folks we've reached the Pete and Penny Penguin Lots. Please exit to your right, we hope you've had a wonderful visit to SeaWorld Orlando and hope you'll visit with us again soon!"
The folks are unloading, we wait a good ten minutes for folks to get safely off with their collection of items (strollers, bags, small kids..) but this one group is looking around confused.
Aw Shit. Not one of the these!

So here it comes:
"Folks, this is our ONE and ONLY stop. Pete and Penny Penguin Parking Lots. We will NOT be traveling to any other parking lot, so if your parked here please carefully disembark the tram"

In reply, this one man who we'll call Mr. AngerManagement screeches: BUT I AM PARKED IN BABY SHAMU AND YOU NEED TO TAKE US THERE NOW!
"I'm sorry Sir, this tram isn't servicing that lot. Your welcome to ride back with us but we'll not be stopping there".
Mr.AngerManagement: WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I HAVE TO WALK?! I WALKED ALL DAY AND YOU HAVE TO TAKE US TO OUR CAR NOW!
"Again, I'm very sorry but we've clearly stated many times this tram only services Pete and Penny Penguin parking lots tonight. We'll happily take you back to the tram station though!"

This same rant continues for another ten minutes, I can see my driver just DYING with laughter in the cab. At this point I'm done fighting with Mr. AngerManagement and tell my driver we're all clear after my typical safety spiel. While on the way back, I grab my radio and call for a manager to meet us at the Tram station because I know what's coming.

After arriving back at the tram stop Mr. AngerManagement and his passel of folks unload and he comes stomping to the back of the tram. He proceeds to scream loudly at me because he's far to lazy to walk the whole 25 feet to the Baby Shamu lot, You should know the drill. I ruined his vacation, he wants all his money back, wants free tickets for the rest of his life, will have my job, will own the park cause he's going to sue.. blah-blah-blah-heard-it-all-before-still-have-a-job.  At this point people are loading up for the next tram run, Mr. AngerManagement is screaming loudly and cussing rather violently to the point his entire face has gone deep red.
"Sir, Please calm down. I understand your very upset and I've called for a manager to come speak with you about your troubles and concerns. However your language is making other guests uncomfortable, Your welcome to scream at me all you like but the profanity is unacceptable."  
You would think I'd just murdered his entire family in front of him, because I thought this man was going to have a heart attack at that exact second. His face got even more red and his volume went up about four notches. His poor family is trying to hide, looking mortally embarrassed across the plaza. Naturally, he kept right up with his vulgar tirade against all things ever created. Insert eye-rolling here.

 During this time I keep on with my same exact spiel while he's busy cussing and screaming, PERMA-IGNORE ACTIVATE! (Because believe it or not folks, Verbal Abuse of any theme park employee is cause for ejection and banning from Seaworld Adventure Parks.)
"Good Evening, We hope you enjoyed your day here at SeaWorld Orlando! This tram is servicing ONLY the Pete and Penny Penguin Lot, that is Pete Penguin and Penny Penguin. We will not be traveling to any other lots tonight, ONLY Pete and Penny Penguin!

I finally see a manager approaching from left field!
Happily I had off Mr.AngerManagement, who's family has now left him there (I'd have left his ass as whale chow myself) to my manger. I pop to Tylenol and the night goes on!

Later that night after we're finally all clear, I clock out and run into my manager. Naturally I have to ask about Mr. AngerMangement! Well, he got exactly what he want.. to NEVER return to SeaWorld Orlando! Mr. AngerManagement was so loud and rude he got several complaints from other guests and managed to get himself banned from property.


This just goes to show you, cussing and screaming will get you nothing but trouble!