My 13-year-old daughter is in love with singer Justin Bieber, and when we found out he was going to be at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, L.I., for an autograph session, I decided to take her. I let her take the day off from school because she has not been absent yet this year and had received a great report card. She is a good kid and I wanted to do something nice for her and thought this would make her happy.
On Nov. 19 at 6 p.m., myself, my daughter and her friend went to the mall to get information regarding the autograph session that was to be held Nov. 20 for Bieber at the Justice store.
We stayed at the mall until it closed and decided to spend the night in our car in the parking lot to be one of the first on line to receive an autograph.
At about 5 a.m., more cars started to enter the parking lot. One parent decided to give out numbers to the girls on her own to try to avoid any chaos. We were No. 12. Another parent helped the girls line up in an orderly fashion on the top level of the parking garage. A security guard showed up about 7 a.m. and assisted the parents. This guard seemed to be the only one who was helpful throughout the events of the day.
About 8 a.m., a man showed up and instructed the girls to line up in the middle section of the parking garage. By this time, there were a lot of girls showing up.
My daughter stood in the parking garage from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. At 2 p.m., the girls were being brought into the mall through a back way in groups of 20. By this time, girls had begun to cut the line and my daughter was now No. 25.
She was in the second group of 20 to be escorted into the mall. By this time, there were 40 girls lined up in a back hallway, away from the inner part of the mall. Yellow wrist bracelets were distributed to the girls at 3 p.m. At this time, my daughter and her friend were getting so excited because the time was near when they were going to meet Bieber. My daughter even wrote him a letter she was going to give to him.
At 3:35 p.m., the girls were instructed to stand up against the wall in the back area where we were waiting. A security guard came in and callously told the girls the autograph session was canceled and they needed to leave the mall and were escorted out of this area into the main part of the mall where thousands of girls were screaming.
Why in the world would they escort us into the mall in the midst of a near riot? Girls were screaming, crying and pushing and parents were fighting. Security guards and the Nassau County police were yelling. It took us over an hour just to get out of the mall to our car.
My daughter and her friend’s hearts were broken. They cried their eyes out. We spent 3 1/2 hours inside the mall before it closed, eight hours in our car through the night during a thunderstorm and my daughter and her friend stood in line for another eight hours and waited in the back area of the mall for another 1 1/2 hours — a total of 21 hours spent there to see Bieber.
I know everyone was disappointed, but we were there so long and were 12th in line until girls cut the line and we ended up being 25th. We followed all the rules. My daughter and her friend even got their wristbands to guarantee them to meet and receive an autograph from Bieber.
You would think Bieber’s people would have at least taken down the information of the girls who had already received their wristbands and were in the back area, unaware of what was transpiring inside the mall, and maybe could have arranged something at a later time.
Because the event was unorganized and lacked proper security from the beginning, my daughter and her friend lost the chance to meet their most-loved teen pop idol.
Bobbie Jo Pyne