Before I get started, I'd just like to say that I don't in any way mean to disrespect AMC theaters with these stories. I enjoy their theaters and even consider many of their employees to be friends. I am in no way trying to criticize or belittle them, but simply am sharing the bizarre stories that have occurred during my visits to their theaters. I'm bound to run into some strange things late at night at the movies, or anywhere for that matter. These instances are far from the norm, and I don't intend to discourage any of you from going to AMC as a result from my rare and unusual adventures.. I know it will still continue to be my theater of choice. With that out of the way, let us begin, shall we?
Anyway, so I walk into the theater, and it's empty, and it completely smells like marijuana. Great. And I'm the only person in the whole theater, so naturally I'm paranoid the next people to come in are going to think that I'm the one that smells like weed, despite the fact that I am very much drug-free and alcohol-free. I always hope for an empty theater anyway, but because of this, I was hoping for it even more than usual. There has actually only been a single time in my life where I was alone in a theater, and it was with my cousin. We saw Iron Man 3, and it ended up being one of the greatest movie experiences of my life. While I'd argue that the movie wasn't great, it was definitely funny, and was even more enjoyable with my cousin. What still baffles me to this day is that we saw this hugely successful movie on the Monday after opening weekend, and nobody else was in the theater. The movie went on to gross $400 million in the US, and $1.2 billion worldwide, making it the 14th most successful movie in box office history, and yet THIS is the movie that nobody else watched that night? I've seen so many less successful movies in my life and still there is always at least one or two other people there. Somebody always walks in during the previews, and that's exactly what happened last night, but those people have nothing to do with the story. The real story here doesn't begin until after the movie, as I'm exiting the theater.
So I reach the escalator in good time. I can see there's a guy just getting off the escalator to exit as I'm getting on it. I'm checking out the movie posters and cutouts on display, and then notice the man ahead of me is pushing himself up off the floor. Uhhh... what? Did that guy just randomly do a push-up before leaving the theater? What a weirdo! (Says the guy who tries to leave the theater undetected). Usually I walk down the escalator, but I stopped and just rode it along, keeping my distance from this dude. The theater is on the third floor of the mall, so there's an escalator to leave the theater, and then two more to get down to the ground floor and exit the mall. I'm approaching the 2nd escalator as he's just getting off of it, and he's kind of wandering around clumsily. That's when I realize something is very wrong with this dude. He's totally drunk. He wasn't doing push-ups. He was picking himself up after eating it on the floor. The third escalator is turned off, so I watch him bounce back and forth against the sides while he tries to walk down the escalator stairs. It was like watching a bowling ball bouncing back and forth between bumpers. I can't believe he managed to make it all the way without falling on his face.
I can see a security guard in the distance, back on the third floor, halfway across the mall, watching from a distance. I wave him over, to let him know to come down or send somebody over to deal with this drunk guy. I watch the guy walk right into the closed glass doors of a shoe store and almost fall down. It's more sad than funny. He keeps on going, though, walking towards the exit, using the wall to help him keep his balance. At this point, I'm about 15 feet behind him, cautiously trailing him. I don't think he notices me at all. He has a cell phone in his hand, and keeps holding it to his ear like he's waiting for someone to pick up, but he never says a word. He stumbles through the exit doors and makes it outside. I follow.
My reluctance to act could have cost someone's life. This guy could have killed somebody. Somebody I know. Somebody I care about. While yes, this was the security guard's job and he failed to stop it, that doesn't excuse my own inaction. As a human being, I have a responsibilty to help and protect others. I could have stopped him easily. Anybody could have. He was drunk out of his mind. He could hardly walk. But I let him get in his car, and I am at fault for that.
I don't know if security called the police, but I never saw them. For the record, the guy's driving was actually quite normal. I didn't think he'd even make it out of the parking lot, but he managed to do it just fine. Still, that doesn't make any of this okay. He was far beyond the legal intoxication limit and should never have been behind the wheel of a car. I don't know if he made it home, or if he crashed or got pulled over, or what. I think that's what makes it all the more troubling for me. Not knowing what happened as a result of my inaction, but knowing that I could have prevented any potential tragedy from occurring at all if I had just taken it upon myself to handle the situation responsibly. I have to be able to stand up for what I know is right, no matter what.