As a reporter, I tend to be more shy when it comes to sensitive subject matters. I don’t enjoy calling victims families or preying on the weak that have been the highlight of the community for some negative news.
I like to give the interviewee the option of talking to me, and I don’t like to press interviews. I don’t care if the jobs on the line or not. I also like to be kind. I feel that if I give off kindness then I will receive the same thing.
All of that changed Wednesday.
I sit at my desk on a regular basis going through public records, writing up incident reports and listening to the scanner.
That’s my job.
Wednesday I hear over the scanner that there has been a stabbing. OK, not something we usually rush to. Then I hear it’s been at the mall. That’s when the keys came out and the pedal was put to the metal.
All I was told to do before hand was to call the sheriff’s office’s public relations lady to get what information I could, I call we talk, she says good luck at the scene.
I arrive and find the fire truck and ambulance that confirms I’m in the right area.
I walk in looking for the stores mentioned over the scanner. Once I find the area I take pictures. I did not hide my camera, my press badge or my notebook. I just went about my business.
After standing, waiting for something to happen for about 20 minutes, the trouble began.
A large, short woman wearing a white t-shirt and ratty black shorts comes up to me and begins yelling, and I do mean yelling at me.
Now realize, the past 20 minutes I have not spoken to anyone, I’ve been standing outside the allotted perimeter quietly keeping to myself until the investigation is complete. Then out of nowhere, angry woman.
“You can’t be here,” she yelled. “Do you want to be arrested? This is private property, you have to leave.”
I stood there completely frozen at a loss as to what to say. Perhaps this is a family member? They don’t want the world to know that there son got into a fight causing him to be stabbed? No clue.
She went on to tell me that, despite her lack of uniform, she was mall security and that the mall was on private property and I was not wanted.
After threatening to have me arrested, again, I asked a nearby officer if it was OK that I be there. The officer didn’t know and didn’t care.
So the mall cop went on to talk to the officer. Then she turned right back around and started the same spiel, I was not wanted and I could leave.
Now as I type this I’m calm, cool and collected. At the time, I wanted to run into a corner and cry.
I don’t get yelled at. I’m nice, polite and I look like a little girl. People are nice to me and I’m nice to them. Suffice to say, I don’t do well when someone is mean, especially when I’ve done nothing to deserve the abuse.
After the woman yelled at me in front of everyone a little bit more, her supervisor came in to again tell me to leave. I told the woman sorry for stepping on their property, and that I had spoken with the sheriff’s office and was told it would be alright that I be there.
They took my paper name and asked for my name. I began telling her my name and when she asked me to spell it I held my badge up for her to see it.
Little did I know, I was so shaken up my hand was trembling. I decided to drop the badge and spell out the last name instead.
I’ll be darned if those people would get the satisfaction of seeing me upset.
I finished giving my name and getting a number I could call the next morning for information and headed for my car. Once inside, the tears came.
I realize that crying because the big, bad mall cop yelled at me is pathetic on multiple levels, but at the time I was shaken up and not expecting anything like that.
Once I got back to the office I was praised for even making it into the mall, let alone getting pictures.
Little did I know, the mall is not kind to any reporters. My ignorance actually got me farther in than any other reporter could have.
So there Ms. Mall Cop.