The Ferris Wheel Incident

Samantha Sturgess went out of her way to secure her first job out of college, literally.   Anyone could drop off a resume at a job fair, or Skype with a company’s gatekeeper, but Samantha wasn’t just anyone.  She was the type of person that was willing to travel twenty-seven hours by train, in coach no less, for a face-to-face interview.

That kind of gumption didn’t just get her the job, it got her the job on the spot.  No second interview was required, nor did she have to endure the stress of meeting with two of the company’s other managers to see if she passed muster.  Newton Industries wanted her and they wanted her right away.

So Samantha said goodbye to friends and family in Ontario and headed east to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  It was hard being away from the people she loved, and her boss was sensitive enough to recognize that.  That’s why she invited Samantha to join her, her husband and her mother for a trip to the Annapolis Valley for the annual Apple Blossom Festival.

“It’s only about an hour from here,” her boss, Janet said.  “There’s a parade, loads of food, music, craft booths, plus it’s a super pretty part of the province.  It’s a good excuse to get out of the city.”

A few days later, the four of them piled into Janet’s car and headed out of the city.  Janet wasn’t kidding, the Annapolis Valley was gorgeous and the Apple Blossom Festival delivered on everything she had promised.  Samantha wished she could have enjoyed it more, but she had been nervous meeting Janet’s husband and mother for the first time.  She wanted to show that she was having fun, but she didn’t want to look as though this was the first cultural event she had ever attended in her life.  She wanted to seem  nice, but she didn’t want to come across as phony nice.  She also wanted to sample the various food booths, but Janet’s mom kept insisting on paying for everything, so Samantha went hungry.

“Do people from Ontario not believe in eating?” Janet’s mom, Margery asked.

“Of course we do, but I had a really big breakfast so I’m not all that hungry,” Samantha lied.

“Hey look!  Rides!” Janet interjected the moment she saw the carnival midway at the far end of the fairgrounds.  “Will you go on the ferris wheel with me?” she then asked Samantha.  “I can’t get Leonard to at all.”

“I’m a grown man,” Leonard said in his own defense.  “Grown men don’t ride ferris wheels!”

“I will,” Samantha said to curry favour with her boss.  “I love the ferris wheel!”

Samantha didn’t really love ferris wheels, she found them to be rather boring actually.  Roller coasters were more her style, but there wasn’t one in sight, so it was the ferris wheel for her and Janet.  But after a few spins, Samantha was glad that there wasn’t a roller coaster.  The lack of food in her stomach and the bright sun was making her feel queasy and she was worried that she would throw up at any moment.

“Could you please let us off now?” Samantha shouted at the ride operator.  “I think I’m going to be sick.”

What Samantha didn’t realize was that ride operators hear that all the time, often from really annoying people who think it’s funny to pretend they’re going to barf.  Plus, who gets sick riding a ferris wheel?  A roller coaster, sure, but not something as lame as a ferris wheel.  The ride operator couldn’t think of anyone who had ever gotten sick on one before, so he kept the ride going.  But of course,  Samantha wasn’t just anyone.  Samantha was the type who defied the odds and upchucked where no one had any business upchucking.  On her boss.

Erroneously, Samantha thought she could somehow suppress the vomit by clasping her hand over her mouth.  All that succeeded in doing was sending the contents of Samantha’s stomach sideways onto her boss instead of downwards onto the strangers who would never be responsible for her performance review.   Oh, it did succeed on one other level: it got the ride operator to finally stop the ride.

“I am so sorry!” Samantha said to her boss.  “I swear, I will pay for the dry cleaning, or buy you an entirely new outfit if you like.  Please don’t fire me.”

Janet didn’t fire Samantha over the ferris wheel incident.  She thought it would be much more fun to lord it over her anytime she wanted her underling to work overtime for free.  Samantha was grateful to keep her job, Janet loved the cheap labour, and Margery enjoyed telling everyone at her Thursday night Bingo game about the girl from Ontario with the weak stomach.

Janet never rode another ride after that.


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