Every boss has one guarding its office. These front desk guys are trained to act as terrible filters. They default to saying "No", since its much easier and is less risky. Kinda like baseball - they will swing only if there is a sure home-run, but most time they will give it a miss. No points lost for missing a shot. The boss is happy to make them do the dirty work. They are happier to believe that they are the de-facto boss. What a bunch of jerks!
Ever met front-desk people who assume by default that you are unimportant. They feel empowered that they have the right to say "NO". Rather than asking smart judging questions and hoping to say "YES", they continue to ask dumb questions and hope you get stuck in their filter. And they continue doing so for decades. And stay as clerks!
Same thing for a watchman manning parking spots, a cashier serving customers in a super-market or a plumber who just got asked for an additional piece of work than what was initially asked for. The NOs go on, productivity continues slipping and less and less work gets done!