Day 306 - $17,200

Thank you to all the sponsors that have donated so far for the walk-a-thon. About half of you have donated. I'll be following up with the rest of you to get the donations in. I can't let all those miles go to waste :)

So I mentioned it briefly in my last post, I met Paul Blart - MALL COP - on Saturday. Now that the issue is resolved, I'll give a few more details. I got kicked out of the mall when I was walking on Saturday. So here's how it all went down:

I had been walking for nearly 8 hours, without bothering anyone. I did have a couple people come up to me and give me some donations, but I was really trying to keep a pretty low profile (other than the sign on my back). But there wasn't very many people that came up to me. Maybe 3 or 4 in the whole 8 hours at the mall on a busy Saturday. For the most part people just ignored me. That's bad, because I would have liked people to take more interest in GOM, but good in the sense that if people had taken more interest, they probably would have kicked me out sooner. So anyway... back to the story...

A security guard came up to me and proceeded to explain that soliciting donations and displaying a sign was against their policy, and I needed to remove it. I agreed immediately and removed the sign. I had a feeling they might ask me to do that at some point, so I was more than happy to comply with their wishes. I explained that I had a box of belongings stored under the escalators by Sears and would carry my sign (not displaying it) until I reached my box, and would then place my sign in the box and continue walking. We then parted ways, and I thought the incident was over...

I had continued on my walk only 2 or 3 minutes when the security guard approached me again ( I haven't even made it back to Sears yet!) and said, "Sir, it's time for you to leave now." I was somewhat shocked. "Why???" I asked. He then went on to say that I was continuing to display my sign, after he had asked me not to, and must therefore leave. I told him that I was in no way displaying the sign - and didn't know what he was talking about (because I wasn't! I was just holding it down by my side as I walked back toward Sears... half the time with the words facing toward my leg!) I even told him I would throw the sign away right there - even though I wanted to keep it, but he wouldn't listen - and insisted I leave immediately. So I walked to Sears, gathered my belongings, and headed for the door.

However, at this point, I was somewhat upset with the situation. I understand the mall is technically private property, but I felt I was being unjustly forced to leave. So I called Melissa. I explained to her what was going on. If you remember - she and the kids had just left an hour or so earlier after having met me for lunch and to walk a couple laps. I told her I didn't think it was right how they were treating me, and asked her if I should make a scene or just forget about it and leave. We decided it would be best just to leave.

As I was walking out, the security guards trailed behind me about 10 feet the whole way. I turned around and asked the guard, "Did mall management ask you to have me leave?" He said no, so I asked again, "Then why are you making me leave?" He then went off saying something about how if I didn't leave, he would call the police and have me arrested for trespassing. So at that point I realized it was useless trying to speak with this gentleman, and I left.

I went to the park that I trained at, and finished the last three miles walking in the snow. While I was finishing up the walk, Melissa called mall management - but there was only a receptionist in. The manager wouldn't be in until Monday. We got the number of the security guard on duty, and mad plans to call and file a complaint on with the mall manager on Monday.

I wanted to go in and talk to the manager face to face. I called to make the appointment, but he just wanted to speak over the phone. So I told him the whole story, explained that I was disappointed with the way I was treated, and asked that he speak with the guard regarding the incident. He agreed, and said he would call me back.

When my phone rang today at work - I was sitting with a co-worker going over some work stuff. I recognized the number and told him I had to take the call :) The manager said that he spoke with the guard and he basically had the exact same story I did - except he said that after I had removed the sign and was walking, I held it up and flashed it to someone as I walked by them. "WHAT!?!?" I said! That is 100%, absolutely FALSE!

We talked about it further. (The mall manager was actually quite a pleasant man) After I heard what the guard had said - I could only remember one slightly possible action that could have been mistaken for me holding up the sign. As I was walking back to Sears I brought the sign up in front of me so I could read it. I'm guessing it was at maybe a 45 degree angle with the bottom of the sign touching my stomach and the words FACING IN TOWARD ME. I'm not sure why I held it up to read because obviously I knew what was on my sign - other than it was in my hand, and I just wanted to look at it. I mean it was just subconscious. Anyway... that is the only thing I can think of that could remotely be mistaken as "holding my sign up for people to see". It basically came down to a he said/she said situation. I agreed with him on that, but said that the guard didn't even tell me what he saw, or give me a chance to explain the misunderstanding... he just started threatening to have me arrested! He agreed and said he would speak with the guard about how to properly treat people in similar situations going forward. He said I was more than welcome to come back to the mall, and even continue walking there... So we agreed it was just a big misunderstanding, and that's basically how it ended.

So that's the story of how I got kicked out of the mall while trying to raise money for kids with cancer :)

Help me reach one million in one year. Donate now!

No comments:

Post a Comment