Back in the late 1950s Art Linkletter had a show on television, and one of the segments of that show was "Kids Say The Darndest Things." This summer I have been reminded of that show quite often when dealing with passengers. So I thought I'd ask other Doc Reps, bus drivers and even some Shore Ex staff what some of the "darndest" things their passengers have asked or said.
This is what they told me:
"Do these stairs go up?"
(a nicely dressed gentleman on the Sapphire Princess asked the Shore Ex)
"What is our elevation here?"
(duh, we are at sea level...!?)
"What currency do you use here?" along with, "Do you have cell phone service here?"
"How do we get off the gangway?"
"What time do the whales show up?"
"At what stage of a deer's life does it turn into a moose?" (true story from a bus driver)
"Am I the first one to check in for the tour?"
(at two minutes before tour departure)
"The tour left already??" (at 15 minutes after departure time)
As a Dock Rep, we stand, holding our signs and a passenger will run right up and get in our face and say, (in rapid speech) "Where is my bus, which bus do I get on, where do I get on the bus." Usually I respond by taking a breath and saying, "Good morning." They then say, "Yeah, good morning, where's my bus what bus do I get on......."
Also, the flying tours require us to "manifest" our passengers. We have to get their names and body weights (weight is so the pilot knows where to seat them for weight and balance of the airplane). So, we collect their tickets, write down their names and then ask the dreaded question: "I need to get your approximate weight."
"With or without my clothes on?"
(well, we don't have you fly naked)
"I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours."
"Can I whisper it in your ear?"
(and then you get an earful of hot breath)
He says: "110 lbs" (he chuckles)
(clearly he is every bit of 250 lbs)
I say: "okay, 310 lbs" (then he gets truthful)
"Before or after the cruise?"
"Do I have to tell you the truth?"
I even had one man tell me an obvious lie about his weight. I told him that out at Taquan they also fly freight and so they have a big scale that they weigh all the freight on. And it has an enormous LED read-out of the weight that everyone can see. So if he doesn't give me his correct weight, they will make him stand on that scale and then everyone will see his weight (Oh, I say this with a lovely smile on my face).
The Reps have to be on on the dock 30 minutes before the tour's departure. And the first tour of the day for each ship we have to get the passenger counts for each tour we have with them. And then we get our bus number from the bus coordinator. We really are not ready to check in passengers until we get all this important information. So, we don't display our tour signs; we hold them down, or close to our bodies, anything so the passengers don't see the sign until we are ready for them. One of the biggest pet peeves of all the Dock Reps is when we are busy checking these numbers, passengers will come up and interrupt us with the Shore Ex and ask, "What is your tour?" (perturbed because they can't see the sign) Or bend down to see if they can see the other side of our sign. The absolute number one thing that we all hate is when they grab the corner or our sign and try to turn it over to see if it is their tour, which usually it is not.
But one of the best questions I have been asked was from a lovely gray-haired lady who came up to me and asked, "I know that you probably get asked this question a lot, but......" I responded with a smile and said, "Ma'am, I may have been asked that question a lot, but it is the first time you have heard the answer."
Don't get me wrong; I do get a lot of fun passengers. The favorite time of day for me is when it is early afternoon and I have time to visit with some of the passengers when we are waiting for our bus or for the tour to depart. I enjoy getting to know them. And when I get on the bus to tell them about their tour, they get excited. I can joke with them and they will joke back with me. That's what makes my job fun.