Monday, January 14, 2008

82st Post - Volunteerism, Part Two

Where was I?

Right. The Buskers Festival.

I started volunteering for the Buskers festival in 2002, if memory serves. I agreed to be a driver for them. This would inthvolve picking up and dropping off buskers before and after their gigs along the waterfront. It would involve picking people up at the airport, sometimes pretty late at night, or taking them back to the airport when they were done with the festival.

The shifts were a little long, but I had such a good time over all meeting these interesting people from all corners of the world that I didn't mind. After a couple of years, the returnees began to recognize me and give me a pat on the back and say hi. One musical group from Australia, OPA, upon learning that I had been too busy driving them and their colleagues around the festival and therefore hadn't had a chance to catch their act, peeled off one of their cd's from the pile of cd's they were selling, and gave it to me with their compliments.

I enjoyed meeting these people from 2002 through 2006, and I sure was looking forward to offering the Buskers Festival a few more shifts last year. After my crappy experience with the Tall Ships, I knew that this would be better.

If only!

I began receiving e-mails from the Buskers people in May, I think. I wrote them back, saying when I could work for them. I had worked it out that upon returning from my two weeks of vacation, I could work a couple of shifts that first weekend, maybe even Friday night. I'd be a driver again.

Nothing.

I heard nothing.

I kept writing them, asking them if they had received my fax containing the list of shifts I could offer them. Didn't hear back. I called them. Got voice mail.

Finally, the week of the festival, I walked to ESP Productions, the folks who put the festival (and others) on. I went there on my lunch hour. I was going to find out why they hadn't contacted me. Upon arriving at the office, they told me, in a round about, mealy-mouthed way, that they couldn't offer me any shifts because they already had enough drivers that year.

They hadn't had the... meatballs, the ravioli, the penne, to tell me over the phone, or via e-mail, that they wouldn't have anything for me to do. I had to go out of my way to learn this. The fact that I had worked for them for 5 years meant nothing to them, and that hurt more than anything else.

I turned around and left. A week or so later, they wrote a blanket e-mail, including me, concerning the festival. I was still angry with them, so I wrote them and asked them to drop me from their mailing list. I didn't want to hear from them again.

As someone at work told me one day over coffee: I am the first person ever to be fired from a volunteer organization. If I had kids, I'd save that little anecdote for them. As I have none, I'll share it with you.

My point? It's in the next post!

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