Tag Archives: media

More True Tales from Life in the Circus

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!


Humility When Meeting the Duchess of York

Many moons ago, the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson came to visit the place where I was working. At that time, I helped with media relations, so I was asked to be on hand when she arrived. Our supervisor reviewed protocol for meeting the Duchess. If I recall correctly, we were supposed to curtsy or bow, and greet her with “Your Royal Highness” followed by “Ma’am” or something similar to this. Obviously, I wasn’t listening very well to these instructions since: (1) I am not English so I couldn’t really understand what the big whoop was, and (2) I did not imagine I would have the opportunity to interact with her. Boy, was I wrong!

Let me set the scene for you: all the big wigs at the company where I worked and the local hoity-toits who donate regularly to the company gathered in the main lobby. Both groups were dressed to the nines. The media arrived and were shown to their area. I was talking with my friend who was the Director of Security, when the limousines arrived. He said, “Hey, help my open these doors for them.” So I obliged. We had just been joking about all the “to-do” about a royal visit. As we both put down the door stoppers and turned around, there was the Duchess of York. She stopped and introduced herself to us. We looked like deer in the headlights! All I could think was, “Why is she talking to us? All the important people are inside waiting for her. Please go inside, so they will not be mad at us!” But Fergie is Fergie. She wanted to have a conversation. I think I tried to curtsy, albeit very awkwardly. My friend bowed while blushing three shades of red. We stumbled through a conversation that neither one of us could remember later. Then, by the grace of God, her assistant gently pushed her through the doorway.

Now, I don’t follow the tabloids or really care about the rich and famous. But it did strike me that day, that perhaps the Duchess of York is really just a humble person like you and me who really cares about people, but whose every move is judged by the media and people around her. My first impression was “I like this lady!” And my next thought was, “So much for believing what you see in the news.”