Friday, October 11, 2013
Please, Let Us In
And I've even met Brandon Mull as I've worked at various events, including a writing conference for kids at our high school and a presentation he gave at our library. Extraordinarily nice person.
When we started reading the book, I remembered an incident that happened when he came to the library. Over the past few years, I've thought about it from time to time, trying to untangle it.
Somehow I ended up standing guard at the front door of the library after we closed that Saturday afternoon. Quite a few people were still inside, standing in line to get their books signed. As a volunteer, I was instructed to turn away anyone who tried to come in. Before I was left alone at my post, a number people showed up to meet Brandon and the library director wouldn't let them in. The line was drawn.
A few minutes later, a mom and her kids showed up. She said they'd been at the event earlier and had to run home to tend to a sick child. I saw her son's pleading face. But we'd already turned people away. It wouldn't be fair to them to make an exception. I also knew first hand what is was like to be at the managing end of an event like this, trying not to impose too heavily on a well known author's time. Brandon Mull was already being gracious by staying much later than planned for us.
So I didn't let them in. (I still hate the feeling I had at that moment.)
Another few minutes passed, and the mother and children showed up with a senior library employee. He let them in, and apologized for overriding my decision. She looked directly at me. I'd like to think she wasn't glaring. I wonder if she knew that I wasn't offended at all. I was just really happy her son would meet Brandon and have his book signed.
As someone without authority, I was following orders. It took someone with authority to make a different call.
I will continue thinking about this incident from time to time, trying to untangle it.