Although the event was set to begin at 1 p.m., the 2500 teens sat crammed inside Barrington High School's gymnasium until the "Stay" singer made her grand entrance well after the clock struck 5 p.m. (Around 4:22 p.m., she tweeted that she was stuck in traffic.)
When she finally did show, Rihanna told the kids – winners of a video contest she sponsored – simply "Thank you guys for coming and waiting." She then said some words of gratitude for their charity work, posed for a few photos, and then 16 minutes later, she was back out the door.
Although Rihanna may not have told the kids herself that she was sorry, Principal Steve McWilliams did say that the pop star had called him earlier in the day to apologize for initially planning to come an hour late at 2 p.m. ... but clearly she didn't make it anywhere near that time either.
Despite Rihanna's rudeness, her young fans were forgiving and reportedly greeted her with ear-piercing shrieks. Still, others weren't quite convinced. During their four hours of downtime, some constructed signs, like one that read: "90% of life is just showing up! We're talking to you, Rihanna!"
Others expressed their frustration verbally. Patricia Halle, a junior, told the Chicago Tribune, "It's one thing to be fashionably late. This is just rude. Our lives don't revolve around a pop star. Our school worked hard to win this. She should be more respectful.”
Rihanna, 23, did manage to win back some fans though when she gave the school's principal tickets to her Chicago concert that night.