me first (at least at EPCOT)

One of the benefits of living in central Florida is the proximity to all things Disney… Disney World, Disney Springs, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Wide World of Sports — not to mention all the other amusements and amusement parks that accompany the characters and fanfare.

Recently we were at EPCOT, one of Disney’s primary theme parks in Bay Lake/Lake Buena Vista. FYI: EPCOT, is an acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow,” a utopian city of the future planned by Walt Disney. In Disney’s words: “EPCOT will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed but will always be introducing and testing, and demonstrating new materials and new systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world of the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise.”

EPCOT is one piece of the Disney puzzle that seems simply to overflow with joy, opportunity, and goodwill. It is no doubt a wonderful place to be.

On our recent visit, no less, we incurred a slight challenge. We had a complication with a previous reservation that caused some confusion. Hence, we went to Guest Relations, hoping they could amend the issue.

There were other people there — other people in line.

There were other issues.

As we awaited our turn, with multiple service reps swiftly tending to customers, the line also grew behind us.

Then came him.

There was nothing that immediately stood out about “him”… modestly dressed, most likely a tourist, middle-aged, no doubt. He had a spouse… some kids, too, although each were aptly silent. “Him,” however, was kind of loud…

“This is ridiculous!

I came all the way here — my whole family! 

And they can’t take care of this immediately?!

They make us wait in line?!

This is ridiculous!!

Someone better $#^&@!!’n help us NOW!”

Never mind that there were other people in line. Never mind that there were other issues. Never mind that there were other people who also needed help. “Him” demanded that he be helped “now.” “Him” could only see the issues that affected “him,” and he was thus blind to all the needs of those around “him.”

God bless those Disney cast members. They politely came and removed the gentleman (a loosely used term today), taking him to an area in which his boisterousness would be somewhat less visible and disrupting. 

But it was fascinating that “him’s” needs superseded all awareness of the validity of any other need around “him.” He was mad and wasn’t going to take it anymore. Sadly, it contributed to his growing self-focus.

The rest of us in line, each awaiting attention to our diverse, individual needs, simply kind of stood there… silent for a moment or two. We were each aware that our needs were different, but also valid. We were also each aware that this one man cared nothing for the rest of us; he could only see himself. His need/pain/issue was most likely valid, but he could not see anything other than self.

The man now directly behind us broke the semi-awkward silence. Also quite modest in appearance and countenance, he simply, slowly uttered, “Yep, it’s the happiest place on Earth.”