Extending A Lilac Branch To A Stranger

, , , | Friendly | September 22, 2020

I’ve worked customer service my whole life. As a result, smiling at people is so ingrained into my nature that I smile at everyone out of reflex nowadays.

One day, I’m walking home after getting some necessities in town. It is a tough time for me. I only got a low-wage job too far from my real home so I have to share living in another town with a friend and I only see my husband on weekends. Money is always tight and while my job is great, my bosses suck, and life is overall just miserable and I can’t see it getting any better anytime soon.

While I’m walking down the street lined with nice one-family homes on my way to my shared flat, I see an elderly woman standing on the walkway cutting some branches from her lilac tree which is in full bloom. She looks up at me, and out of routine, I smile at her, nodding, as a greeting.

She smiles back.

I’m passing her and think nothing of it, but before I can go on, she steps in my way.

Woman: “Excuse me, miss.”

I turn back to face her.

Woman: “A smile like yours can open doors. You’ll see, a very lucky life is waiting for you!”

With those words, she handed me the branches she’d just cut from her tree, gathered those she’d cut before from the walkway, took her stuff, and headed back inside.

I smiled a little longer. Life was just so miserable at that moment that I didn’t believe her, but she had just gifted me my favorite flowers and made my day brighter.

But it turned out she was right. Not soon after, my constant job hunt earned me a great job above minimum-wage where I could work remotely, so I was able to move back home. Money isn’t so tight anymore and life is much better than I’ve ever dreamt, even if it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

If you’re in a tight spot, don’t give up on yourself. Keep smiling at people. Even if it doesn’t look like it’s ever going to get better, there’s always a chance someone will gift you at least a little happiness now and then, if you just gift them your smile.

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Being A Real Boob

, , , , , | Friendly | September 22, 2020

I have a friend who’s a little bit… off. She means well, but she sometimes goes in strange directions.

Friend: “It’s weird that they call it coconut milk. I mean, at least with almond milk or oat milk, they were deliberately trying to make something like milk, but coconuts just have the stuff inside them already.”

Me: “Right, but it is similar to milk.”

Friend: “Yes, but people from some cultures wouldn’t know that, not before they made contact with Europeans.”

Me: “Wouldn’t know what?”

Friend: “What milk is.”

Me: *Confused pause* “Why wouldn’t they know that?”

Friend: “Well, they didn’t have cows.”

Me: “Okay, but even if they had no domestic animals at all, they’d still know what milk is.”

Friend: “How could they possibly know that?”

Me: “[Friend]. Humans make milk.”

Friend: “Not without animals! Where would they get it from?”

Me: “From their boobs?”

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Everything’s Adding Up

, , , , , | Friendly | September 21, 2020

This happens about forty years ago, when my dad is a grad student and my mom is working at a fast food restaurant. There is a middle-aged woman that has been sitting at a table studying for several hours. After refilling her coffee for the umpteenth time, my mom approaches her to tell her that they are closing soon.

Woman: “I’m sorry. I’m just so confused. I have a math test tomorrow, but I don’t have a clue.”

Mom: “My husband is really good at math. He can help you. Here’s my address, and I’ll call him to let him know you’re coming.”

Woman: “Thanks so much!”

My mom finishes up closing the store in the early hours of the morning and goes straight to bed. The next morning, she gets up and talks to my dad.

Dad: “I’m tired. I was up really late helping your friend. How do you know her, anyway?”

Mom: “I don’t.”

Dad: “What?! You don’t know her?!”

The lady shows up at the fast food restaurant the next afternoon with a fruit basket.

Woman: “Thank you so much! I haven’t gotten my grade yet, but I think I passed.”

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Karen Cannot Abide Law Breaking… Wait…

, , , , , | Friendly | September 21, 2020

My wife and I only own one car and she has a longer commute. There is a bus that goes past my house and my work so she takes the car while I take the bus.

Everything is fine until we need to get something from [Retailer] for my work. The only one who can be spared to go is me but not having a car is mildly problematic. The simple solution is for my friend and coworker to loan me his car for the quick schlep.

My friend is disabled and, as such, has disabled plates on his car.

Since I am not disabled, I do not park in the handicapped spaces. In fact, as it’s near Christmas and it’s a very full lot, I park at the very end of one of the last rows. There’s the main road, a secondary road that has some fast food eateries, and then the parking lot for Walmart. I am literally parked so far away that if I were to move to the next furthest space, I would be parked in a fast food place.

As I’m getting out of the car, I attract the attention of a nosy Karen who takes offence to the fact that I’m in a car with disabled plates but don’t seem to need them.

She confronts me and I try to explain that I’m not abusing the plates since I’m not using them to park in the handicapped spaces. She won’t listen, so I blow her off and go to pick up our order.

Fifteen minutes later, I’m walking out and I see in the distance that she’s still there. A police cruiser pulls onto the secondary road and Karen starts jumping up and down waving her arms as if to flag them down.

She does. The officer steps out of his car and they begin to chat. Karen sees me and points to me and my clearly not-disabled stride towards the car. The officer looks at me and looks at the car, and with a look of exasperation, speaks to me.

Officer: “I can guess what you’re about to say but I need to ask. Can you explain the plates?”

Me: “I needed a car; my friend loaned me his. He’s disabled and I am not, so I parked here away from the handicapped spots.”

Officer: *Nodding* “Close. I was expecting you to say, ‘Wife’s car,’ but that’s good enough for me. You can go about your business.”

Karen started screeching at the officer and I drove off.

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Remember What Happens When You Assume

, , , , , | Friendly | September 20, 2020

A guy I went to college with becomes a local cop. We stay friends for years after graduation, getting together now and then for dinner and drinks.

When the riots begin over racist cops, he stops coming out, opting to either come to my house or invite me to his. Every time we get together, he tells me about how people are spitting on him, screaming at him, and calling him names, despite him never having done anything to merit their behavior. As time went on, he is less and less available. I figure he is working more or being more cautious.

Finally, one day, I call to set up our next dinner and a recording says the number isn’t accepting calls. I go to his social media and ask when he wants to get together.

Me: “Dinner this week?”

Friend: “No.”

Me: “Everything all right? I tried to call you.”

Friend: “We need to talk.”

Me: “Okay…?”

Friend: “You need to grow up.”

He also sends a screenshot of my page. It shows a post that says, “If a few bad cops do not represent all cops, a few bad black men do not represent all black men.”

Me: “I think we have a misunderstanding. That post is telling people not to make assumptions.”

He read the message and blocked me. I guess he didn’t want to talk after all.

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