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Yesterday, Saturday, was Steve’s memorial so I offered to work a double again so staff could go. I worked 12-12. It wasn’t horrible until about the 10 o clock set when someone fired the starter pistol and kicked off the Vomit Olympics where a 20 something girl vomited THREE times across our lobby.
I work in one of the largest theaters in our city. We have 18 auditoriums. Our lobby is extremely large – about the size of a basketball court going forwards and side to side. Wide open space. We have two hallways that shoot off the lobby – one going to theaters 1-9 (lowside) and the other theaters 10-18 (highside). On busy days (usually weekends/weeknights) to cut down on congestion, we break down to two doors which means a person stands at the opening to one of each of the hallways to tear tickets instead of just one person at the head of the lobby.
I stood on lowside, Jerry on highside. Around 10pm we were still quite busy, with lines still about 6-9 people deep at 5 tills in concessions. I couldn’t see Jerry at highside due to the lines but I heard him call on the radio: “Code Yellow in the lobby.”
A code yellow is bodily fluids.
Naturally, I looked around for this code yellow (after which my plan was to find any way possible to avoid cleaning it up). I saw a girl across the lobby bending over. At first, I thought she’d peed. But I saw some slobber out of her mouth and I saw the ground. As I was still registering all of this, the girl stands up, walks about three feet and vomits again. At this point Eww was scrolling through my head, but she was still far enough away that all I really knew was that there was vomit in the area. Then the girl and her friend walk another ten feet towards me when the girl heaves over and gives me a fantastic view (and audio) of yet more puke. I can still hear the sound of that vomit slapping against our lobby floor. I immediately stopped breathing to stunt my brilliant gag reflex as the girl stumbled toward me. I pointed her and her friend to the bathroom as quickly as I could (praying that she didn’t vomit in the bathroom as well since I was one of only 2 girls ushering and would most likely be drafted to take care of any code yellow in the women’s restroom).
Corey, a superhero in this story, a very large young man, ran to get the vomit-sand (to harden the puke) and cones to mark off the two splash zones. It took all of our available cones to mark everything off. While he was getting cones though, Rebekkah had to “guard” the vomit so no one stepped in it.
We don’t get paid enough.
Not even five minutes after this whole incident, while I’m still in shock as I relive the sound of vomit hitting the floor over and over and over again (but suddenly very glad that all I’d had to eat that day in the last 11 hours was an apple and coffee), a woman comes up to me so I can tear her ticket. She has concessions food in her hands – including a small cup of nacho cheese, which just thinking about makes me gag. Smelling it is even worse – and she trips just slightly. She makes a bit of a grunt and the nacho cheese spills out of the cup and splatters on the ground at my feet.
I jumped backward and yelled “OH NO OH MY GOD…..oh, sorry. I thought that was vomit.”
She went on her way and I was happy to just have something to focus on other than the vomit pools just yards away from me. I used the mop Rebekkah had brought out for the vomit (before anyone used it for vomit) to clean up the cheese, but found myself with a now wet narrow entry to a hallway and no cones to mark it off as they were all currently fencing off puke.
I used paper towels to dry it while tearing tickets and telling people to “step carefully”. One guy said: “you should use a cone! It only takes a second to fall.” “Yes, I’m sorry sir, all of our cones are busy right now.” “A blink of an eye!” “Yes, I’m sorry. Step carefully.”
After mopping up the length of the lobby in puke, Corey stood up, sweating, surveyed the floor highside to lowside and finally says, “Well………. She gets an A for distance.”
I told this story to my mother over the phone.
I start with “I heard Jerry call a code yellow – that’s bodily fluids – and I look an—”.
My mother’s already starting a low to high long giggle that only steam rolls into a guffaw by the time I get to the nacho cheese.
The paycheck from this weekend is going to be beautiful though.