Pickpockets and pepper spray--tales from the meeting trenches

I remember posting about the Hampton (Va.) CVB's Meeting Planners Sound Off contest, but I forgot to check in to see who won for having the most bizarre meeting experience.

Fortunately, my colleague, Dave Kovaleski, remembered. Here's a snip from his article:

    You can't make this stuff up: Michael Tyron, an independent meeting planner from Edmonton, Alberta, was running a meeting for the Edmonton Police Service at which a woman complained to police that a man was following her. It turned out that the man was trying to recover his wallet, which the woman had stolen from him as part of a pickpocketing scam she worked with her daughter...

    Then there was the story, told by Mark Singer, president of Advocates of Virginia, a Richmond-based event management company, of an audience that was moved to tears. During a conference for hospice workers and caregivers, Singer arranged for a state trooper to speak about safety. During a demonstration on the use of pepper spray, the officer dispensed an empty container toward the ceiling. Suddenly, the crowd was hacking and wheezing — but not from the pepper spray dispenser, which was indeed empty. In the kitchen, someone had just spilled a 10-pound container of black pepper in front of an air duct, which sucked the pepper into the meeting room.

The CVB is running it again (yes, you win neato prizes for having the best entries), so go on over to the site to check out how to enter. And here's hoping you don't have any pickpockets or pepper spray in your immediate future!

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