Working at Du Réel au Miniature has a wide range of perks. I get to work with amazing people, I get to learn about antiques and history, and I get to ride the miniature train for free! The biggest perk, however, has to do with the visits. I get to guide tours for amazing, interesting, and unique people. Last year, I guided a tour for a Chinese family that had recently moved to Canada, and while both parents were fluent in English, their daughter, who was around ten, didn’t understand English yet. Despite the language barrier, and between her parents’ translations, we still managed to laugh together and have a really good time. This year, I also got to guide a tour for my own parents. I knew that this year’s theme (woodworking) was something that would interest my dad, since it is his area of work. He loved his visit, and it was hilarious to hear him talk about how he used some of the pieces in the exhibit.
One of my favourite visits, however, was with a little boy named **Sam and his dad **Kevin. Sam is a very, very sweet ten year old boy from Mississippi! When I asked Sam what his name was, he grinned at me and proudly told me, extremely quickly, his full name, middle included. That, I think, immediately set up the visit to be filled with fun.
At the beginning of the visit, Kevin warned me that Sam does have ADHD, and that sometimes he can get quite distracted or very excited about things, which may cause him to talk a lot or talk over me. I appreciated this, because it not only helped me to give Sam the best kind of visit for him, but also because he wanted me to know in case I wasn’t used to this. Kevin works in a school, so kids with different kinds of disorders are something he was used to, but it meant a lot
that he was ready to help had it not been something I was used to—gladly, I am.
Sam did get pretty excited, and he did talk a lot, and he did talk over me a few times, but it was more than okay, because I could practically feel the happiness radiating off of him and that made me feel happy as well. The entire time, he kept talking about how cool everything was, and how he wanted to do something similar. He even mentioned that he wanted to work here a few times, to which I replied something close to “Well, you live pretty far away!” His solution? Easy. He would just move here!
Because of how excited Sam was when I showed him the layout, I decided to ask Guy if we could show him our Nova Scotia layout as well, one that we are currently working on but that we haven’t finished yet. I let Guy do that part, since I don’t really know much about the Nova Scotia layout.
When they came out of the Nova Scotia room, Sam still had a huge grin on his face, but it was now accompanied by a piece of HO scale railway. He was ecstatic.
At the end of the visit, Sam had spent probably around two hours on the site, Guy and I showing him things and making sure he had the best visit possible. His dad had explained in the beginning that sometimes Sam’s attention span is pretty short and can be around five to ten minutes, but Guy and I were both extremely happy with ourselves because we made it last for almost two hours! I felt nervous at first that I wasn’t going to be able to give Sam the visit he deserved, but in the end, I got an abundance of smiles, laughter, the knowledge that I gave Sam the best visit he could’ve gotten, and hug that nearly brought tears to my eyes.
Sam’s visit was in the beginning of the year, and as the summer comes to a close it is still my favourite from this year and is definitely the one I will remember the longest. I want to thank Sam for being incredible and listening to me, and I want to thank Kevin for letting me connect with his son and trusting me. To both of them, thank you for coming, and I really hope I’ll see you both again eventually.