Every spring, I work at my school as a convocation assistant. Last year I directed indoor traffic, meeting students as they exited the gown room and directing them toward the auditorium. The program explicitly states that students are not permitted to leave the auditorium once they have received their gown. Students follow a roped-off path with assistants (including me) directing them to the next location. This prevents chaos, since there are two or three daily ceremonies with hundreds of attendees each.
About 30 minutes before the second ceremony began, two women approached me on the other side of the roped-of pathway. The 1st woman said “Excuse me, my niece is in there. Can she come out so we can take pictures?”
Me: “Once students get their caps and gowns, they have to stay in the auditorium. The school wants to make sure everybody is in the same place so everything can start on time. There will be time to take pictures after the ceremony.”
1st Woman “But I have to catch my plane!”
Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules. If you want to make an exception then you’ll have to speak to a supervisor. I know there’s one at the ticket window, if you want to go back there.”
2nd woman “But there’s people there!” (True; a long line of students was waiting to pick up their tickets).
1st Woman “But there’s OTHER people taking pictures!” (This was also true; some of these were probably rule-breakers, and others were stragglers from the previous convocation.)
Me : “I’m not in control of every single person. I’m sorry, I can’t help you.”
Both women walked off, and I went back to directing traffic. I don’t know if they ever found a supervisor or got their request, but they lost my sympathy because of their pushiness. The people who direct traffic are not bouncers, and we’re not going to physically stop anybody from leaving. I had a few other people leave with various excuses, like “I have to get rid of my purse”, and “My husband is back there, and he has no idea where to go” and there wasn’t much I could do to prevent them from leaving. But the fact is that one rule-breaker will probably lead to a flood of others.