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    Can’t Stand Up But Can Do Stand-Up

    | USA | Health & Body, Hotels & Lodging

    (I am a male in my late teens working as the receptionist at a guesthouse in a very quiet, small coastal town. I have a muscle disease and use a manual wheelchair, but I’m behind a desk all day and guests don’t usually notice. An older woman comes up to check out and seeing that the printer is out of paper, I move away from the desk to get more from the closet.)

    Me: “So, ma’am, how was your stay with—”

    Guest: *pity tone that I’ve heard many times before* “Oh no! Oh, honey, what happened to you?”

    Me: *smiling and trying to joke* “Nothing. I just ran out of paper. But don’t worry. We have more.”

    Guest: *very serious* “No, I meant… How did…” *whispering* “Was it a car accident? One of those awful drunk drivers?”

    Me: “Uh, no, actually, it wasn’t. If I could just please ask you to sign—”

    Guest: “Oh, it just breaks my heart. You’re a very brave young man.”

    (As this is happening, another guest wanders into the room to look at the bookshelves we keep stocked for the guests and overhears everything.)

    Me: *still smiling and trying to keep it light* “Ma’am, I’m really not, I promise. I just print receipts and answer the phone. Nothing too brave there.”

    Guest: “But surely you shouldn’t be working in your condition! Your parents must be so worried!”

    Me: “They’re really not, honestly. They raised me to be pretty independent, so when I told them I wanted to find a summer job, they just said ‘cool, give it a shot.’”

    Guest: *apparently TOTALLY mishearing me, looks horrified* “You were SHOT?!”

    Me: “I, wha…?”

    (At this point my coworker, who’s my age and the owner’s daughter, comes down the stairs and hears the last part. She’s petite and usually very quiet and shy around guests.)

    Coworker: “Yeah, and that’ll teach him to show up late again. Next time I’m takin’ a hand.”

    (She points threateningly at me, making a ‘gun’ with her fingers. I’m stunned, as she only ever jokes with me in private, but immediately play along and cringe as if scared of her.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, I won’t! Have mercy!”

    (The guest looks absolutely shocked, and behind her the other guest is nearly doubled over with silent laughter.)

    Guest: “That’s– I don’t– not something to joke about!”

    (She quickly grabs her receipt and suitcase and nearly runs out the door.)

    Me: *to coworker, laughing* “You know, I can’t tell if she actually thought you shot me or was just upset that you made a joke about my tragic ‘condition.’”

    Coworker: *deadpan* “She totally thought that. I’m really scary.”

    Me: “Oh, I know.”

    Other Guest: “I’m gonna leave you guys a great review online. I wasn’t expecting a complimentary comedy show when I made my reservation.”

    Coworker: *still deadpan* “It’s not complimentary.”