Should I Stay or Should I Go?

27 Jun

{FYI: this is not one of my residents}

As part of my job, I am in charge of planning all of the activities for the residents on and off site with on site activities including potlucks, coffee socials, wine & cheese and tea parties, ice cream socials, dinners, movies, book club, blah, blah, blah. The perk of this job is when we go off site for activities because I also have to “attend” those. So I get to partake in going to things like the racetrack, plays, boat cruises, and of course casino trips. This post is about one of my more recent adventures off site with my seniors (55 and older). One of my worst fears came true on June 13th, 2012 where I lost and had to leave behind a resident of mine. Things were great that morning and right until we had to load up the bus to go home. Everyone showed up at 9am and were all pumped to gamble their money away at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan – about a two hour bus ride. Everyone that I talk to had a lovely time stuffing their faces (myself, included) at the all-you-can-eat buffet and enjoyed “getting out” for the day. So after winning $100 (and not spending a dime of my own money), I decided to make the trek back to the bus and round up the troops for our trip back to EGV.

At around 2:30pm I decided to start silently taking “role call” on the bus to see who of the 45 seniors was here and who still needed to rejoin the group. Within a matter of minutes, the seniors started to pile into the bus. Around 2:50pm I grew (extra) worried because the only person I had not seen was Herb; however, I thought maybe he snuck past me. I told the seniors that I was going to take roll call again and needed them to state “here” when their name was called. Going down the list, I was getting every kind of “here” you can imagine: loud, soft, a hand clap, a grunt, muffle, etc. I got to Herb’s name and stated, Herb (insert last name.)? I looked up where he had been sitting in the morning on the bus; however, there was no Herb to be found. The ladies and several dudes that were sitting next to them shrugging their shoulders, shaking their heads, confused as to where the heck Herb went. Knowing that I had a good five minutes before the bus was scheduled to leave, I asked the driver if I could make a “mad sweep” (yes, I said mad sweep to the driver) around the casino. The driver raised his eyebrows and told me to “go for it.” And so, I booked it. I walked faster than I normally do (so if you know me, it was bat shit fast) around the entire casino, trying to see if I could catch of glimpse of Herb. I called for his name in every men’s (and ladies) restroom, skimmed through the shops, and around the poker tables and slot machines but Herb was no where to be seen. I thought (just) maybe Herb liked to be “right on time” and sitting on the bus waiting for me to join then on the venture back to IL. So I made a mad dash back to the (purple) bus and asked the driver if our missing guy had returned. The driver shook his head, looked at his watch (It was now 3:10 pm CST), and told me that we needed to leave soon or else he would get into trouble with his manager. One of my smoker residents (who ironically helped me the last time we had “lost” someone) said she would help me find Herb. So we went. I made sure to stay close by to her because I did not want (nor had the nerves) to lose another resident. We skimmed and weaved in and out of the aisles of the slot machines. We briskly walked around all the poker tables, and even peaked in the buffet restaurant – even though I was 99% he was not in here because I had seen him rubbing his belly the hour before – but Herb was no where to be found.

This is, my friends, where I started to freak the f*ck out. I called my boss right away and told her the situation I was in. I asked her what I should do: Should I stay or should I go? (And now after reading that question, start humming to the 80’s song by Clash….too soon?!). My boss said she was going to try calling Herb’s cell phone to see if he would answer it and that she would call me back. It felt like eternity waiting for her phone call and it is here when it gets a bit blurry. My resident and I are walking back to the bus. My boss still has still not called me back. I see the driver looking at his watch and is on the phone with someone (I presume his boss; after all, it is now 3:25pm CST). I frantically called my boss back and asked her what I should do. She told me she was going to try reaching his son but before I let her babble on any more, I told her I didn’t have time for that and that I needed to know what to do. Do I stay here and wait for Herb or do I leave him behind (in Michigan)? After a short second pause, my boss told me that I “needed to get on the bus.” I sighed, told her “fine,” and hung up the phone. I was not even off the phone with my boss before the driver shoved his phone in my face telling me his “supervisor wanted to speak to me.” Under my breath I muffled “Oh shit,” and said “Hello?” The supervisor sweetly told me that the bus needed to leave or else would we be charged. I said that was fine and that we were leaving right now. She asked me what my residents name was and that she would have her staff be on the “look out” for him. She said that the Four Winds has a shuttle service that runs every two hours from the casino to China Town in Chicago and hung up the phone. (Chinatown, wtf, really?)

I give the phone back to the driver, tell him we are leaving, and get on the bus where I see 44 faces looking at me to see what my next move was. When I told them we were leaving without Herb, you should have seen the looks on their faces. Stunned. Mouths wide open. Shocked in disbelief. I had one resident ask me if “I was serious” about leaving Herb. I flailed my arms and in my spazzy voice said “Yes. We have searched the casino for almost a half hour and we are now late. There is a shuttle that runs to the casino to China Town every two hours so Herb is not stranded.” I then overhear someone mutter “What the hell is that going to do for him?” but I decided to ignore it, plop my butt down, and choke back the tears that were developing.

I was pretty silent on the way back and the residents near me noticed it. They kept trying to make me feel better about the whole matter saying that it “wasn’t my fault” and that “he is a grown man who shouldn’t have to be watched”, and “it’s not like you didn’t tell him when to be back,” kind of remarks. We are about 20 minutes away when my phone starts to ring. It’s my boss. I answer to her saying “Great news! We found him!” Apparently Herb got on the bus right next door to our bus (that was NOT purple) and didn’t realize he was sitting next to strangers until it was too late.  Fortunately, the bus was going towards IL and he ended up being about 20 minutes away from EGV. Herb simply called his son, told him he “screwed up” and that he needed him to pick him up. From what I was told, Herb made it in time to sit in the circle with all of his buddies to shoot the shit about today’s adventure.

The next day, Herb comes in and gives me a great big hug. He apologizes for all that “commotion” he started and said that even despite getting on the wrong bus, he had a wonderful time. He then asked me this….

“So, Ali, when are we going on the next casino trip?” – Herb

My response:…….

Now enjoy this awesome 80’s video by The Clash….




3 Responses to “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

  1. Bob June 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    I only like this post because you used the words ‘bat shit’.

  2. Jennifer Casperson June 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    Oh Ali..this would only happen to you 😦 Thank you for sharing the story. Glad everything worked out in the end!

  3. glitzandblitz906 June 27, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    “Apparently Herb got on the bus right next door to our bus (that was NOT purple) and didn’t realize he was sitting next to strangers until it was too late.” <— Love this!

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