1/15/2010 08:20:00 pm

Confrontation

Posted by Tom French |

I arrived at my ushering work on Monday evening thinking I was going to be working a concert from a rather famous Welsh singer with a hairy chest. As it happened I got my dates wrong and I found out that I was working a boxing match. I had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I was much more interested in seeing the boxing than the hairy Welshman, on the other I was pretty sure the boxing fans would be harder to control than the singer's generally middle-aged, female fans.

As it turned out I was on the glass doors which meant I wasn't inside the arena to see the fight. I thought that would be ok until one of the other ushers said to me "Oh you get to turn away the Hell's Angels when they want to get in without a ticket."

This seemed not such a good plan.

Still, no Hell's Angel's turned up without a ticket. And everyone who came through my door was very friendly.

I think at least 50% of the people who came through my door were big, scary looking blokes, who looked like they could handle themselves in the event of an apocalyptic looting and random bashings riot rather well. Unless of course you need speed to handle yourself in such a riot, in which case these guys may have been a little slow. It's hard to run fast when your torso weighs the same as a large fridge.

I did enjoy letting these guys in, because they all smiled at me when they arrived and said "Thanks mate" when I let them in. I generally feel pretty good when I have about a thousand "mates" who could knock out a rhino with one punch. It makes you feel like if you get into trouble they'll be there for you. Though I'm pretty sure Aussie mateship doesn't extend that far except for really exceptional ushers.

Which is a shame because when trouble came I would have liked to have had my muscle bound mates around.

I was standing on the door telling people the usual info "Sorry, there are no pass outs, but if you want to smoke, there are smoking areas over there and down there."

I generally get into the argument about there being no pass-outs about 10 times a night despite the fact that there is a sign on every door at every point of entry saying "NO PASS OUTS". On Monday night I seemed to have it every 10 minutes, and everyone was a little more hostile about it. It may have been something to do with the copious amounts of beer and punching that was being enjoyed within the building.

Still everyone obeyed my "no pass outs" policy, except one.

This guy came up to me while he was on the phone and said he needed to leave.

I asked him if he needed to smoke, because we have smoking areas. He replied that he did but he also needed to do something else. I said that he couldn't leave because there are no pass outs.

"Are you telling me that I can't leave?" he asked.

"I'm saying you can't leave and come back in because there are no pass outs." I replied.

"What do you mean I can't leave and come back? I'm just going to be outside and then come back in. I'm going to be 5 minutes."

"Yeah, I'm sure you are, but I can't let you out and let back in, because we don't give pass outs. But if you need to smoke, there are smoking areas, and we have places to get food and drink inside. If you really need to get out you can go downstairs to information and see if they'll give you a pass out."

"I don't want go downstairs, I want to go out here."

"If you go out here, I can't let you back in."

"If I want to come back in, I'm coming back in." Then he comes closer to me and says "Are you trying to to make a fool of me in front of all these people? Is that what you you're trying to do? Are you trying to make me look bad in front of everyone?"

I looked around the empty foyer and really wanted to say "There's no one around. It's just you and me here." But I said "No, all I'm saying is that there aren't any pass outs, once you're in you're in, once you're out you're out. If you really need to leave you can go and try and get a pass out down stairs, they're your options."

"Do you want me to give you another option?" By this stage he was right up in my face. And I'm thinking "Damn, I'm about to get punched in the mouth" and I was pretty sure he could handle me quite well.

I said "You can leave but there are a whole lot of security and police here who will stop you from coming back in."

He looked at me for a bit then said "I need to go and then I'm coming back." And with that he walked outside.

I walked outside too, down the stairs to the smoking section outside my door, and said to the security guard "There's a guy who just left who is coming back, and he threatened me when I told him there were no pass outs." I pointed the guy out. "Can you keep an eye on him and stop him from coming back if he tries to come in."

The security guy looked at the guy and assured me he'd keep an eye on him. I went back inside and walked about 5 metres away from my door looking for some other security guards seeing as the one I talked to was manning his section alone and didn't have a radio. I figured it might be better to have more people seeing as they, very reasonably, tend to like to handle matters in groups.

While I was away from my door, the guy walked straight past the security guard, straight through my door and up to me and said "Thanks mate, I just really needed to sort some stuff out. I'm having some personal issues. Where can I smoke?"

I pointed him to the smoking section, knowing I'd lost. There was going to be no security or police to back me up, and I wasn't about to take this guy on, it's not my job, and I couldn't do it even if it was my job. I walked back to my door and the security guard was standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up at me. He'd seen the guy go in. He looked up at me and said: "He can't go in."

Yeah well he did, thanks security man.

Still I think it was the best outcome. I'm not that keen to see people get thrown out or into fights, and I'm not that keen to get beaten up, because of a rule that seems to be made to reduce administrative hassle. Plus I got a new mate.

So in the end everyone won. I stayed intact, the security guard didn't have to do his job, and the bully got to make his phone call and sort out his personal issues. The only losers on the day were the pass-out rule and anyone else who may have upset my angry friend that night. I say we ended on top.

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