Friday, January 22, 2010

As I was saying...

No question, one of the things I love about volunteering is the ability to go places people don't ordinarily get to go. I'm finding out that sometimes it's by necessity.

This week's stint at Ellis Island was pretty quiet -- not many visitors -- but we did have two people show up for the morning tour. I was with another volunteer, so we both did the tour, which was helpful because one of the visitors was in a wheelchair. While my cohort was giving the banter, I was running ahead to make sure the gates and construction doors to the ferry building would open sufficiently for the visitor to roll through.

We were in good shape until my buddy decided to return to the main building by a different route -- one that isn't obviously handicap-accessible. Fortunately we ran into a park cop who pointed us through another door to an outside corridor leading to a ramp to the area we were trying to get to. I ran ahead to check it out and then came back to bring everyone else through. Meanwhile my colleague apologized up and down to the visitor, who I sensed was pretty okay with the opportunity to check out a part of the building not ordinarily on the tour. In fact, he stopped by our desk a little later to talk more about Ellis Island and what he'd discovered, so I think we did okay.

My colleague and I got a real charge out of finding a new place to check out, and I also realized how much fun it is to do this kind of work when you're with someone who enjoys it the way you do. Otherwise, it has the prospect of getting boring and tedious really quickly.

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