My friend who knows I have experience dealing with the media called me to ask for some help. She was promoting the circus which was coming to the town where I live. She needed someone to drive the talent to the local television stations for their interviews. Because I am her friend, I agreed. Then she asked if I still had a minivan. I said, “Yep,” while thinking to myself, just what might I need to be fitting in my minivan? The image that came to mind was a minivan full of clowns. Oh boy. Then she sweetly asks, “Do you mind having live animals in your car? I will pay for a thorough wash afterwards?” This, I could tell, was going to be interesting.
So, after some discussion, I discover that I will be transporting miniature goats along with their keeper. Phew! I was worried about a tiger or something. The goats travel in large dog carriers. Phew! I had a sense that they probably were not house trained. Then she started to explain where I needed to go to pick up the trainer. As I recall it went something like this, “Take this exit, then you will go about two blocks, turn right on this street, than watch for this gravel/grass road. You cannot really see it, but it’s okay to turn onto it. You will cross over some railroad tracks, and you’ll have to look for railroad car number xx, and that’s where they will be.” I felt like I was in a movie.
I found the trainer, the whole while wondering to myself why I sign up for this kind of volunteer job. He was a very clean cut African-American dressed like a Cowboy. We drove over to the area where the Circus was keeping the animals. He introduced me to his “kids.” Since I only had room for two goats, he had to pick which two to bring. I have never seen such a doting daddy. He honestly couldn’t decide. He just loved his goats. He started to tell me the different tricks each goat could do, and asked my opinion of which I thought he should bring. I thought about television and which trick would be the most visually rewarding for the audience, and suggested which two to pick.
Once we arrived at the first television station, I helped unload the goats. The assistant producer was waiting for us. Immediately after the goats were unloaded, they unloaded. The assistant producer began to freak. She was asking me and the trainer, “Don’t you have something that catches this? Do they do this all the time? Oh, this will not work!” I am speed dialing my friend, who informs me that she told the assistant producer about this reality and the assistant producer insisted that it would not be a problem. Well, apparently it was a big problem!
The trainer got his feelings hurt. He started to decide his time was worth more than this. He was backing out of the interview. I hung up with my friend and made some decisions. I pulled aside the trainer and explained that this assistant producer must have changed her mind. I told him that her behavior shouldn’t keep him from talking about his goats and their awesomeness. He wanted more people to see them at the circus, yes? I promised to drive his goats back to their staging area in the air-conditioning. I then turned to the assistant producer and explained that when a goat has to go, it has to go. No, there was no way to catch or stop it. I suggested she go ahead and have the trainer on the show, but next time, to seriously consider when someone explains that having animals on a set can be a messy ordeal.
I did manage to get the goats safely to their staging area while the trainer went forward with the interview. My friend had another volunteer driver who was able to help from that time forward. I’ll have to share the rest of the Circus story in a future post. And remember these are all true stories–no kidding!