Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Curious Incident of Maureen and the Ice Cream

What do you get when you cram five agents and five interns into an elevator?

One pretty hilarious story, that's what.

So, any of my lovely blog readers who are also on Twitter may have seen the announcement that Maureen Johnson made early last week: Ben & Jerry's had offered to give her control of an ice cream truck and distribute free samples wherever she wished. She said that she had turned down every promotional offer she had ever gotten, but was in NO WAY going to turn down this one. She asked people to Tweet her if they wanted to have her come to them with the ice cream truck.

Fellow intern Ari and I immediately started tweeting.

Later, she asked us to email with business location, phone number, et cetera, and somehow, between me, Ari, and the head of the agency I work for, on Thursday, we found ourselves receiving a call from Maureen's publicist to confirm about the ice cream truck. I was diligently reading query letters, when Ari called around the corner "did you hear that?!" The agent I work for was on the phone and had, apparently, said "what about an ice cream truck?" When she got off the phone, Ari and I explained what had been going on (some of the agents in our office knew about this Twitter campaign, others did not), then our boss agent got off the phone and called Maureen's publicist back to confirm.

We were going to be visited by Maureen Johnson and free ice cream the next day. And there was much rejoicing.*

The next day, Ari and I were both at work even though we do not usually work on Fridays. We were told to expect a call from them around 11:30. I had my Twitter page up while I was working, to check on the progress of the ice cream, since I knew Maureen would be tweeting during the journey. 11:30 came and went. Everybody in the office was fidgety, looking up every time the phone rang. And then Maureen tweeted that, of course, because this is Manhattan, they were stuck in traffic. But, finally, she said that she was at our office, and told us to "come down!"

The phone hadn't rung - nor did it, at any point, I don't think - but I called to the others that she was there, and we all scrambled towards the elevator and crammed ourselves in. I don't think I have ever seen a group of grown women so excited about ice cream.

Our elevators are notoriously slow, but we made our way down and then hurried outside (confusing our doorman immensely) and saw - no ice cream truck. Oh no! Where had they gone? One of the agents pulled out her phone and tried to tweet, when another spied the Ben & Jerry's truck around the corner. And there was much rejoicing. We all scrambled over to the truck and discovered that there was no one in the front seat. Oh dear. But another agent saw the driver, who told us that the others had gone UPSTAIRS to find us. (I later found her tweets to that effect. Whoops.) Our boss agent ran back to the building to try and find them, while the agent I work for tried to cajole more free ice cream out of the driver (to no avail). After a moment, most of us headed back to the elevator, while two of the agents and one intern stayed a moment to take a picture of the ice cream truck. We trooped inside, further confusing our doorman, and slowly headed up in the elevator. When the door opened, we saw Maureen Johnson and a Ben & Jerry's person holding a box of ice cream. An instant later, our boss agent popped out of the next elevator, and we all burst out laughing. I'm pretty sure that Maureen and the Ben & Jerry's person now think we're crazy.

But we all went into our office to take some pictures, and then Ari and I got Maureen to sign our copies of The Name of the Star without being overly fangirly, and then we were left with some delicious Raspberry Fudge Greek Frozen Yoghurt as Maureen went off to bring more ice cream to the denizens of New York.

And there was much rejoicing.

* Yes this is a blatant Monty Python reference. Also, I think the agents were a little confused as to who this Maureen Johnson person was and why she had been given an ice cream truck, but Ari and I were equally, if not more, excited to meet her - YA author and master of all things Twitter - as we were to get free ice cream.


  1. I think this post, better than any other article, demonstrates the power of social media in today's busy and techno-savvy world. TWITTER = MJ + ICE-CREAM, PEOPLE. You cannot get any better than that.

    PS. So proud of you for working Monty Python in there.

    PPS. I'M SO DAMN JEALOUS, CAITLIN. And happy for you. But also jealous. Mostly jealous. :D

    1. Haha, I thought so too. One of the other interns was new to Twitter, and I kept thinking "See?? This is what Twitter gets you! Awesome authors and free ice cream!!!"

  2. That's so COOL! I have to admit, when I first saw Maureen Johnson's tweets about the ice cream truck, I thought she was kidding. I'm so jealous right now!

    P.S. Monty Python FTW! Did anyone else go "Yayy, yayy" and pretend to wave around tiny flags or was that just me...