Years ago, I worked in local news in a small southern city that was a popular tourist spot, especially among folks from the northern US. As this was a few years after the Great Recession and hospitality was the only real industry in the city, we did a lot of stories on tourism business, flights, etc.
I was at the airport one day preparing for a live shot and shooting some b-roll with my camera. It had the nationally-recognized TV network symbol and the word “NEWS” emblazoned on the side. Additionally, I had a stick microphone with the same logo attached to my belt. I was in a shirt and tie, but had my sleeves rolled up and tie loosened. For reference, all airport employees were wearing polo shirts with the airport logo on them, as well as very visible ID badges.
A group had just arrived at the baggage claims. I was making conversation with one person when a lady seems to literally part the crowd of people to head straight for me. This was nearly a decade before Karens were a thing, so I’ll dub this lady “Proto-Karen.” She was in her 50s, but dressed like she was 20 years younger and was wearing an overly bedazzled cowboy hat. She looked as though she had lived, laughed and loved her whole life, leaving a trail of mangled managers in her wake.
She moves over to me like she has a purpose and slinks one hand on her hip. She looks at me smugly and says in a forceful tone “Do *you* work here?!?”
I say no, and it’s almost as though she doesn’t know what to do with herself. She sits there for a moment, staring at me, blinks twice, mutters “oh…” and just sort of dissolves back into the crowd.
To this day, I wonder what she was about to demand or complain about, because she clearly had an axe to grind. The only thing I can guess was that she had not enjoyed her flight, as a few people at the baggage claim complained about turbulence. But I’m not sure what she expected an airport employee to do about warm air rising and causing turbulence.
TL;DR: A woman prepares to chew me out, only to learn I don’t work at the airport and slinks away, deflated.