The Expo Fan Experience

As part of our Fan Contributions which we will be posting more of in the near future. He’s a story in from last year.

My friend Mary and I love to compare the stories of our day. I work at Downtown Disney, she works at the Magic Kingdom, so she usually wins. Not this day!

This day, I’m working in my gift shop with the wonderfully funny, and native Floridian, Pat. She’s in her sixties and has not just the accent, but the attitude of a true Southerner.

Pat sees a man enter the shop wearing a blue plaid vest. We all know that means he is a Guest Relations tour guide. They are hired to help smooth the way for celebrities, their families, or anybody willing to pay for this service. He is followed by two fellows not in costume. Obviously the guests he is escorting.

Pat immediately notices the GR host, sidles up to me and gives me the usual pop on the butt to get my attention… That pop never fails. “Somebody important is here.” I look up and see the GR host and the other two men. I don’t recognize any of them. I’m not a big television watcher so honestly? I don’t know who a lot of celebrities are! Pat, on the other hand is one of those folks who is star struck. (Those of you who know other stories of the day will remember the time that Billy Bob Thornton and Laura Dern came into the shop! Well that was something to see!) She doesn’t recognize the men either and asks me “who are they?” I tell her that I just don’t know.

We greet them all, ask how they are doing. They are fine, except for one of them missing his flight. I expect he probably had too much fun the night before at Pleasure Island.

The GR host comes up and asks if we have memory cards for digital cameras. Yes we do, but what he really needs is to download the images from a memory card onto a disc. We can do that… depending on the memory card. The little gadget we have for transferring is kind of old, and doesn’t recognize all cards or any card larger than one gig. I ask the GR host what kind of card he’s needing downloaded. He didn’t seem to know and so looked at one of his guests, who then proceeded to tell me that he needed to transfer the photos and videos from his card onto a disc. Got it.

I ask him what kind of memory card he has and he tells me, with a perfectly straight face “it is a memory card from a digital camera.” I ask “what kind?” He tells me again “it’s a memory card from a digital camera.” Hmm, maybe he went to Pleasure Island last night too? I then ask if I can maybe see the card?

He brings out his camera and takes out the memory card. I can tell from the shape that it is an SD card. I say, “it’s an SD, that’s good.” He turns it around so I can read the label and I say “it’s a 2 gig, that’s bad.” I know that our little gadget machine isn’t going to be able to read all that memory, but I try anyway. No go.

Meanwhile, the GR host notices my name tag and asks “Oklahoma City? Is that for real?” I look at his name tag, Jarred from Midwest City. That’s a suburb of Oklahoma City. I tell him that “Yes, I really did grow up in Oklahoma City.” We look at each other, realize (at least I did) that there is such an age gap between us that playing the “who do you know” game would be useless. Plus Midwest City is close to OKC, but it’s not OKC. We then stop talking, and look back to the VIP.

Well now.   The guest looks at each of us and introduces us. “Jarred… DeborahSue. DeborahSue… Jarred”. I think this is kind of funny since we are the ones wearing the name tags. The guest then tells us to shake hands, and being the ever obedient types we are, we shake.

Pat, who has been watching everything all along cannot stand it any longer and asks the guest relations host, in her sweetest Southern drawl, “Jarred, who are these gentlemen?” Jarred looks at the gentlemen who give him a shrug and a smile as if to say “go ahead, try.” Jarred looks at Pat and tells her that “these gentlemen are… fishermen.” Humph! Took the wind right out of her sails. That didn’t tell her a thing. So she goes right back to hovering.

The guest then tells me that he has been to OKC and has met Toby Keith. He had even been onstage with him. I’ve never met the Toby mine own self (but at least I know who he is) so I ask “Is he as big as he looks?” The guest tells me that yes he is. 

Okay, back to the issue with his memory card. I can’t transfer or download it for him, so he decides to buy a new one and send the used one to somebody. (Patrick?) The guest tells me he wants to buy a new card. Okie dokey, finally something I can do for these guys! I ask “Do you want a one, two or four gigabyte?” His eyes get all big and shiny and he says “you’ve got a four gigabyte? That’s huge!” I manage to not tell him that the four is reserved for Texans and agree that yes, a four is big. (sarcasm can pop up at the most inappropriate times!) I’m suspecting that this fellow may have a wicked sense of humor, but if I’m wrong… Best not to risk it.

He wants the four. Of course he does, he’s a guy, right? And a fisherman to boot!

I get him the four, open it up with my very own box knife and hand it over. I’ve rung it up and he is inserting it into his camera. And I wait. Some of these VIP guests who hire our Guest Relations tour guides have arranged a charge account with Disney, so that the guest never has to actually pay us directly. The GR host will just give us a card for a master account that will charge the VIP one lump sum.

I look at Jarred and he looks at me, and then at the guest, who is happily playing with his camera. (Boys and their toys!)

Finally, the VIP guest realizes that I would actually like to have some sort of payment. Now the magic moment for Pat… He hands me a credit card!!! As in something that will have his name on it! I can just feel her needing to snatch that credit card out of my hands, but she restrains herself. (I am soo proud of her!)

Don’t you know that card had a business name on it? Hansen Management, Inc. And don’t you know that he has a celebrity autograph that cannot be read? But his wallet is open and I see that he has a Washington state driver’s license. So okay, thank-you very much, have a magical day. Y’ all come back now, he-ah?

Um, no… He wants a photo of Jarred and me to make sure the memory card works. Jarred moves behind my counter, asks Pat to join us and then VIP guy snaps the photo. Jarred moves back out from the counter and VIP guy is checking his camera. He then says “DeborahSue, we are taking you with us.” I say “Where are we going?” He replies “Norway.”

Well unh, uh, no way am I going to Norway. It’s bleeping cold in Norway and I tell him so. He then says my image. Oh, well, that’s okay. I don’t believe that an image of me is the same as me, so go right on ahead and take my image wherever you want. And if it’s only the Norway pavilion in EPCOT? That’s fine too.

Finally they leave. And don’t you know that before the door closed behind them that Pat was attached to me like a fly on flypaper (you thought I was fixing to say something about rice, didn’t you?) wanting to know what his name was. I gave her the disappointing (to her) news that the credit card was in a business name, and the signature was illegible. She knows me. She loves me. She tells me “go look him up on the computer.”

I know these things:

  • They are fishermen
  • Washington driver’s licence
  • Norway

Guess what! They are fishermen! Not like my daddy fishing out of Port Orford, Oregon. Not like my nephew fishing on Lake Conroe, TX. These guys go out to Alaska, in the absolute worst weather and catch crab. As in tons of crab. “Oh, look Sig, the ships hold is full.” “That’s okay Edgar, let’s just keep piling it on deck!” Dangerous! Oh, and they are on a television show called the “Deadliest Catch.” On the Discovery Channel.

I tell this story later to my husband, who is an avid television watcher, and he knows the show! I tell my friend Mary and low and behold, she and her husband watch it too!

I tell my mom, and she’s never heard of it, but calls me one day saying that she and her husband are watching it and which one is “my guy and which boat is his.” I tell her it’s the Northwestern and he is not my guy, but that the guy I met is Sig, and probably the guy who missed his flight is Edgar. (I am a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe, and Edgar Cayce, so his name is easy for me to remember.)

Mary watched an episode and she tells me that Sig is cute! Pat told me earlier that he was “hot.” Jack and I watched also and Jack thinks I should stop complaining about the price of crab cakes. (I love Jack!)

I haven’t heard back from Mom yet, but I’m gonna guess that she will think that he is cute as well. As for me? He is Mr. Charisma, he seems like the kind of guy who makes friends every where he goes. Edgar is just quietly amused by it all. Oh, and if I was married to either one of them? I’d never ever watch that show. Too many risks, I’d be a basket case! So, to the women who had the courage to marry them… Stay sane and warm sweethearts!

And Sig, and Edgar?  Thanks for giving me my “guest story of the day.”


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