That Tour Was a Little Too Exciting

Today, I was scheduled for two historical tours. The first one was at 10 am, and the second wasn’t until 1 pm, so I packed a sandwich and a book for the in-between time and set off for work. My first group was one of three groups from an elementary school, my charges around eight or nine years old. They were, comparatively, a pretty good group- besides the constant inquiries about whether we were going to go into any of the historical sites (No. No no no no.), they listened and asked good questions.

When we were about three-quarters of the way through the tour- so, about 45 or 50 minutes in- I was leading the group of kids and chaperones down a street when there was the sound of breaking glass. I turned around in time to see my tour patrons being showered with sizable pieces of glass, all falling from somewhere above. We all just stood there stunned for a few seconds after the glass stopped falling, looking up. Then everyone started getting a little freaked out, realizing what had just happened. No one was screaming or crying, but everyone, included me, was very obviously shaken by it. The pieces of glass that had fallen on us ranged in size from very small to about as long as my hand. I asked if everyone was okay and got a yes, so I moved them away from the site, and as I did, a man ran to the doorway of the building and stared at us.

Outside of our next stop, the teacher asked if we could stop. She asked how many of the kids had been hit; five raised their hands. Four of them claimed to feel no pain, but one girl was pressing her hand to her head and saying it hurt. The teacher checked her head pretty thoroughly, but there weren’t any cuts or bumps. Still, the teacher requested that we end the tour and go back to the museum where we started.

I led the group back to the starting point, where I asked for the hundreth time if everyone was okay and the students sat on the grass and started on their lunches.  I stayed and talked to the teacher, who was on and off the phone with the school and the school nurse. The girl was still complaining of pain, so I ran into the museum and asked if they had a medical professional on site. Amazingly, they didn’t. The teacher requested ice for the girl’s head, and I had no idea how I was going to get it, or carry it. But then I remembered that I had a sandwich in my backpack for lunch, so I took my sandwich out of its bag, put the sandwich into my backpack, and took the plastic baggie to the museum’s cafeteria, where I filled it with ice at the soda station. The teacher handled the situation in a very level-headed manner, but she was worried about the girl’s mother, who, apparently, is wont to sue, even though the whole thing was an accident.

Eventually, there wasn’t any more I could do, so I went back to the incident site and took a ton of pictures on my phone, and as I was doing that, the guy who I’d seen run to the doorway appeared. I wondered if he would kill me if I went over and asked him what had happened. I did, and he was very nice, and also very worried about the kids. He waited while I talked to my boss on the phone a few times, then waited with me while my boss made his way to us, and then for another hour as the three of us waited for the police. Yes, it took the police nearly an hour to get to us. We were hoping that an officer would walk or drive or horse-ride (seriously) by, but not a single one was to be found. When one did drive by and stopped when we waved him down, he told us that we weren’t his call and that someone would be by soon. “Soon” turned out to be twenty minutes later, and after all that waiting, giving the report only took about seven minutes.

Because the officer took so long to get there, I missed my second tour and went home early, where I had to transfer all my pictures of the incident and write up a report for my boss. All of this, after the excitement of the afternoon, was tedious, but having been in car accidents, I know how important an accurate report is. It will be interesting to see what comes of all of this. Whatever happens, I can safely say that I do not want anything like this to happen again.

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