This is a PSA for anyone throwing any sort of surprise event: Always inform everyone coming that it is a SURPRISE.
We were told about an employee at the hospital who was being recognized for her years of service at the hospital and I was asked to cover it. Usually when people tell us about events the information is pretty vague and we just have to figure it out when we get there. This time, I was told the last name of the lady, her job title, and that the recognition was going to happen in the lobby.
I go to the hospital and I thought I would just be able to tell the receptionist what I was there for and then get pointed in the right direction. Nope. When I told the receptionist I was there for the recognition of Mrs. Blank she had no idea what I was talking about. She called someone and asked if they knew who I was talking about and I was told to go to the ER.
I went up to her and said I was here for her recognition and she had no idea what I was talking about and told me she did not want her picture taken, which was a big bump in the road because that was the whole reason I was there. She also said that her anniversary at the hospital was in January and they had already celebrated. At this point I was very confused. I told her that I was just going by what I was told and that I was going to go wait in the lobby and hopefully see her later.
I get the number of the person who set up the whole thing and she’s not answering and, for a brief moment, I panicked thinking I was supposed to go to Riverfront Park not the hospital. I walk back to the receptionist and told her that no one knows what I am talking about and that I am just going to sit in the lobby and see if anyone shows up. I saw state Rep. Paul Sherrell walk in the hospital and thought maybe he was here for the same thing, but quickly told myself that didn’t make sense.
After a few minutes of waiting the receptionist tells me the recognition is happening in a room upstairs. When I get to that room, I see the lady who is supposed to be recognized, her family, a cake, and some local government officials. I realized then that this was supposed to be a surprise. The lady pointed at me and said I was the one who told her and I was so embarrassed. No one was mad at me, but blowing a surprise is not anything anyone wants to do.
Apparently they had been working on getting a proclamation passed in the Tennessee General Assembly thanking her for her service and it took some time. Paul Sherrell was actually there for the recognition after all. Everyone was really nice about me ruining the surprise, but I still felt horrible.
I ended up grabbing a piece of cake for my troubles and left the hospital wondering why all these stupid things happen to me. In the future, if you inform the paper about a surprise event for someone PLEASE let us know that it is a surprise.
Standard reporter Bethany Porter can be reached at 473-2191.