Monday, May 6, 2013

Tales from the Firing Line: The Hitch Escapades

 Ahh yes, here we are yet again. Time for yet another lovely tale from yours truly and my collective time working at theme parks. These are the tales of employee woe, the things that make your eye twitch while maintaining a smile for all to see.

So please, sit back and relax. Keep your hands and legs inside the blog at all times because if you loose a limb, I'm just going to laugh at you!

  Are you asking yourself "Okay Carrie, What the hell is hitch and why are they escapades?"
 Well I've got an answer!


  'Hitch' is the short term for the Clydesdale Hitch you once saw in Seaworld/Busch Gardens parks. Once upon a time they used to go out three times daily during the summer season at Seaworld Orlando and ride through the parks for pictures/horse adoration. However, it wasn't that simple. Employees got pulled from various areas who had the training to work the hitch for these 3 daily runs on top of their normal duties.  These are the tales surrounding my time when I got yanked from my normal area at Sealion and Otter Stadium to work the hitch and all the stupid which it spawned.


  Early afternoon hitch run, myself and another employee (let's call them Timmy) are walking around in front of the lead horses making sure people clear the pathway and keep to the side so the horses and hitch can pass through safely. We arrive at our "parking and photo' spot just outside of Sealion and Otter stadium. All seems normal at this point so I take up my general stance between the first and second horses to make sure that small children and curious parents don't get to close for pictures without the animal handlers permission. 

   Everything is quiet and pretty normal at this point, we've got a 45 minute park in this spot and it's rather shady so it isn't as annoying as it sometimes can be later in the afternoons. Repeat the same thing "please don't touch the horses" and help position people in the "safe" spot for picture next to the horses. No problem, I've got this even if it is a little bit busy today. 

  Now these are live animals. They eat and drink, a lot like us. Also a lot like us, they sometimes have to use the bathroom but unlike us, horses don't care. They'll just go anyplace they damn well please which always results in chuckles from kids and parental eye rolling at such. Not today, Oh no. We've got a special kind of stupid in the crowd this time!

  I hear the tell-tale movement behind me, peering over my should I see this fellow behind me assuming the position. Without missing a beat I take one LARGE step forward and ask everyone near me to step back a bit, people seem slightly confused but comply. This horse just let's loose with a gigantic pee that he must have been holding to 3.5 weeks, it was a never-ending stream. I'm at the safe distance and I promise my work tennis shoes have touched a LOT WORSE things than some horse urine. I really don't care where it is running/puddling on the ground but I warn everyone to be careful until we rinse the area.  The typical chuckles happen and some eye rolling as always but this crowd seems to be okay. From the back comes Timmy with the bucket of water, we ask everyone to please step back. Water gets tossed on the area and I got back to my previous spot. Things seem normal... or so I thought.

  The music picks up which is the 5 minute warning, people have begun to disperse at this point haven gotten their photos and up close looks. Then suddenly, directly in front of me is Angry Mom #1 (AM1) with stroller and behind her is Head-Nodder (HN) with stroller. 

  Angry Mom #1 with Stroller stomps up to me in a huff, running over the toes on my right foot with her 2.5 kid stroller and proceeds to get right into my face.  Joy.
AM1: How dare you! You let that animal... (she can't even SAY pee) in front of my children!
Me: I'm sorry ma'am but he is an animal and when they have to go, they go. 
AM1: (With increasing volume) IN FRONT OF CHILDREN?! THAT'S INDECENT! 
HN: *Nodding Vigorously* 
Me: I'm sorry you feel that way Ma'am but I have no control over this animals bathroom habits. 
(At this point I wave for Animal Care to come over, she starts heading my way)
AM1: MY CHILDREN WILL BE SCARED FOR LIFE BECAUSE THEY SAW THAT.. THAT... (She still won't say pee)
HN: *Keeps nodding and wincing at proper moments*

Angry Mom #1 with stroller keeps going on about how said horse taking a leak has just damaged her children beyond ALL repair, they will never recover! I'm beginning to wonder if these kids are going to spend their life in diapers because of Angry Mom #1's bathroom issues, all while I keep nodding and apologizing at proper points during her rant. At this point Animal Care has come up beside me, I look over and spot my co-worker doing her damnedest not to bust a gut laughing at this woman.   Angry Mom #1 with stroller spots Animal Care (AC) and this is the result.

AM1: Are YOU in charge of this animal?!
AC: Sure am, he's a beauty. I couldn't help but hear your upset about him?
AM1: He ...WENT... in front of my children!
HN: *Nodding again*
AC: Well Ma'am I'm sorry about that but he is an animal. They aren't trained like cats or dogs to only go in certain places, he just goes were he wants. We try to make sure these accidents don't happen in the park but sometimes they do.
AM1: WELL YOU NEED TO TRAIN HIM! LIKE A DOG! CAUSE MY CHILDREN HAVE DAMAGE FROM THIS!
AC: Perhaps you could explain that we all sometimes have to go?
Me: *Muttering* Oh crap, here we go..
AM1: HOW DARE YOU TELL ME HOW TO RAISE MY KIDS! I'M GOING TO SUE! I'M GOING TO OWN THIS PARK!
HN: *Sneers*
AC: *Looks scared*
Me: *Wondering if I have anymore Aspirin Powder's stashed in my locker*

Animal Care just looks at me. I just shrug at this point, someone threatens to sue and 'own this park' at least twice a week in my experience. I've dealt with this a lot in the past but Animal Care rarely has to deal with these kinds of issues, so I jump back in to help out.  Angry Mom #1 with stroller now has a crowd watching her little drama display.

Me: I'm sorry to hear that Ma'am. Would you like us to call a supervisor?
AM1: (Now Screaming) I WANT TO TALK TO THE OWNER! RIGHT NOW! 
Me: I don't know if that's possible but I'll happily call my supervisor for you. Can you wait right here a moment?
AM1: NO! YOUR GOING TO LEAVE! YOU STAY RIGHT HERE!

At this point, Angry Mom #1 with stroller proceeds to yank my upper arm like she probably does her kid. Oh hell no lady, I do not have to put up with your physical bullshit.

Me: Ma'am. I suggest you let go of me. Right now for your own benefit.
AM1: NO! YOUR JUST SOME DUMB KID, I'LL TREAT YOU LIKE ONE!
Me: Ma'am. I'm 19. Let go of me. Now.
NH: *Still sneering and grinning*
AM1: NO! GET THE OWNER!

Oh HELL no.  I proceed to yank my arm out of her grasp (getting a nice long set of scratch marks) Angry Mom #1 with stroller now starts screaming and trying to grab at me. Animal Care is trying to tell the nutcase to back off before she makes the horse nervous. Security has already been called. I'm now loudly telling Angry Mom #1 with stroller to back the hell off or I will be pressing assault charges. She keeps trying to grab me, two employees I normally work with at Sealion and Otter who were sweeping around the area step in to help keep this bat-shit crazy bitch off me. The horses are getting antsy and we're at least 5 minutes over due for return. The drivers are grinning cause they got a show!

Security arrives. Two area Supervisors arrive. One of the employees from Sealion and Otter take's my spot and help get hitch out the gates and back to the stable. In the mean time security has now escorted Angry Mom #1 with stroller and her now scared looking minion Head-Nodder to the back office. Myself and Animal Care have followed along as witnesses, my scratched arm is photographed and we give our incident reports to security. After this it's been at least 20 minutes they've been in the office, Security approach again and asks if I want to press charges, I decline on the condition Angry Mom #1 with stroller and her minion Head-Nodder are given a one year ban from the park.

The security guy grins. This is never a good sign for someone in trouble like Angry Mom #1 with stroller. I'm told she's already mouthed off to the supervisors, called the cops on her cell phone and is claiming mental trauma of a severe sort.. all from the fact a horse had to pee!  Security then relays my request to one of the supervisors and we're both assured Angry Mom #1 with stroller and Head-Nodder are in a lot more trouble then just a banning. We're finally allowed to leave (after I decline first aid, seriously, I've had bigger scratches from wrestling a full trash cart up a hill than what this bitch did).

Later that night I run into one of the supervisors and ask whatever happened with Angry Mom #1 with stroller and Head-Nodder. The story I'm told is rather surprising!
Apparently these two already had a one year ban in effect on the park but they didn't buy their tickets from the park, instead they apparently pick up two from one of the scalper businesses on International Drive. They also had a good bit of stolen merchandise from at least two stores in the park and Head-Nodder fit the description of a woman who shoved a kid out of the way over at Happy Harbor (the large playground area) and caused some kind of injury.  Angry Mom #1 with stroller and Head-Nodder got lead away from the park in handcuffs, plus got themselves a lifetime ban from all Busch parks!



(This story is true and remembered to the best of my ability. Names have been changed to protect the employees and the dumbfucks who got arrested)