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Encounters with friends & strangers

Sour Candies, Sour Stranger, Sweet Ending

, , , , , | Friendly | November 8, 2022

I used to work a schedule that was seven days on, four days off. My neighbor and best friend was a work-from-home mom. On my days off, if the weather cooperated, I would take my two little mutts and the neighbor’s three girls, ages five, seven, and eight, to the local dog park. It was perfect. The play area was right next to the dog park, so I would take my energetic fluffballs to the dog park section and keep my eyes on the kids while they played, and my neighbor got a couple of hours of kid-free time. (The dog park required that you stay in the fenced area with your pets, and the play area only required you were always within view of your kids.) I always handed the kids one coin purse each with enough change to get a snack and drink from the vending machines.

On one trip, I realized I had left one of the coin purses at home. I didn’t want to just hand one of the kids loose change; experience had taught me that loose coins always fell out of their pockets. I dug in my purse and found some lemon drops in a round tin with a pretty snug-fitting top. I only had a few candies left in the tin, so I popped one in my mouth and offered the others to a few people sitting on the bench next to me in the dog park. I then put one of the kids’ coins in the tin and sent her on her way. She immediately noticed the jingling noise the coins made in the tin and had almost as much fun playing with the tin as she did on the playground. Of course, the other two wanted tins, too, so I promised I’d buy another three-pack of the lemon drops and they could have the tins as soon as they were empty. 

We were out at the park another day, and I had just emptied a lemon drop tin for the third kid, who was ecstatic. Once they all had their coin tins, they ran off, jingling them at each other.

After about thirty or forty minutes, I watched a girl obviously older and bigger than my neighbor’s kids run up to them from across the playground and make several attempts to grab at the kids while they ran away from her. At first, I thought they might be playing some sort of game, but I heard the oldest kid start yelling, “KNOCK IT OFF!” She only does that when someone is doing something she really doesn’t like. The older girl backed off and ran out of the playground.

I called the kids over.

Oldest Girl: “She was trying to take our coin tins!”

Me: “If she comes back and causes any more problems, come straight to me.”

About an hour later, I saw the girl come back hauling a ticked-off-looking woman with her. The woman went right up to my neighbor’s kids and said something I couldn’t hear. All three of them ran straight to me.

The woman followed them into the dog park and stormed up to where I was sitting.

Woman: “Your kids have been teasing my daughter with their tins! You or one of the kids needs to give her a tin, and you should all apologize.”

Me: “I’ve been watching the kids the whole time, and there was no teasing involved. Your daughter ran clear across the playground and tried to take the kids’ tins without provocation.”

Obviously, the mom didn’t want to hear this.

Woman: “You’re lying! Give my daughter a tin!”

Me: *Looking her directly in the eye* “No.”

She looked so shocked you’d think I’d hauled off and slapped her. 

Mom: “No?! No?!

Me: “No.”

Mom: “You have to give her a tin!”

Me: “No.”

Mom: “Why the h*** not?!”

This is something I really hate: people who absolutely refuse to accept “no” as an answer. They want you to give them a reason for the answer so they can argue with your reasons since “no” all by itself is a declarative statement that doesn’t really leave room for arguing. I don’t play that game. 

Me: “I said no. Now, either get out of my face or I’m calling park security.”

The mom stood there staring at me until I started obviously looking at the sign with the security office number on it and dialing my phone. She then stormed off in the direction she had come from and her daughter went back to the park.

I watched the daughter and the kids like a hawk until it was time for us to leave. She looked my way a few times while moving toward the kids and backed off when I glared at her. 

On the way home, the oldest kid asked me if I even had any more tins. I told her truthfully that I still had one leftover, which was almost empty, and I would have given it to the girl had she asked nicely. All three kids piped up that the girl had never asked them; she just ran up and tried to take them. I explained that there are some people in this world who behave like that, and it’s important to avoid them if you can and stand up to them when you can’t, or they’ll never stop taking from you because they will never be satisfied with what they have. 

I tell this story now because the middle child just did a presentation for her senior class about people who positively influenced her life, and she told this story. She ended by shaking her tin in the air, and her sisters shook theirs from where we were sitting in the auditorium. Then, she pointed me out while I was ugly-crying, so posting this is my revenge.

If God Created Us, He Created Our Ability To Create Medicine!

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 6, 2022

I’m in college on summer break. I’ve been experiencing occasional stomach pain and cramps for no known reason. I also have thyroid disease, and my doctor has recently changed my meds.

This all comes to a head one Sunday at church with my mom. I’m already not feeling great because of my new thyroid meds, and during the sermon, my stomach starts cramping again. My mom helps me out to the lobby and asks if I can walk to the car. I can’t, so she sits me on a bench and goes to pull the car around.

An acquaintance has followed us out.

Acquaintance: “Are you okay?”

I open my mouth to respond, but another cramp hits me, so all that comes out is a groan.

Acquaintance: “Guess that’s a no. Did you eat something bad?”

Me: “No idea. I already wasn’t feeling well because of my new thyroid medicine, and now this.”

Acquaintance: “You know, being on those pills shows a lack of faith.”

Me: “Excuse me?!”

Acquaintance: “You should stop your medicine. Have faith that you’ll be healed.”

Me: “I’m not stopping my medicine.”

Acquaintance: “Then you don’t have faith.”

I open my mouth to respond, but I hear the senior pastor’s wife’s voice behind me.

Pastor’s Wife: “I’m on thyroid medicine, too. Does that mean I don’t have faith, [Acquaintance]?”

Acquaintance: “Um…”

Pastor’s Wife: “I’d go back to the service if I were you.”

The acquaintance bolts back into the sanctuary. The senior pastor’s wife sits next to me.

Me: “Th-thank you.”

Pastor’s Wife: “No problem. Adjusting to a new thyroid medicine dose is hard. Looks like your mom brought the car around. Let’s get you home to rest.”

She helped me out to the car, as I was now doubled over in pain. The pain went away, but it came back a few days later. I ended up in the Emergency Room, where it was discovered that I had gallstones. I had surgery soon after.

While I was in a recovery room, a balloon, flowers, and a small gift basket were delivered. The senders? My church’s senior pastor, his wife, and the other pastors on staff.

Go Volunteer At The Pound Or Something, Weirdo

, , , , , | Friendly | November 4, 2022

I trapped a pregnant stray cat and put her in my bathroom just two days before she gave birth. I posted about the kittens on social media, and my sister immediately shared my post on her own page.

Then, a person I didn’t know messaged me.

Person: “Can I come to see the kittens?”

Me: “I don’t know you.”

Person: “I work at [Restaurant] with [Sister].”

Me: “Oh. Sorry, no visitors.”

Person: “It would only be for like an hour. I love kittens.”

Me: “Again, I am not having visitors.”

Person: “Okay, but like ten minutes? That’s all.”

I blocked [Person], and then I called [Sister] and explained what happened.

Sister: “Oh, yeah, he’s weird. I was nice to him at work, and now he calls me every weekend to ask if I want to hang out. If we weren’t still coworkers, I’d block him, too.”

Me: “Yeah… Please don’t share my posts anymore.”

Sister: “No problem! Sorry about that.”

The kittens are doing well, and their mama is scheduled to be spayed within a few weeks.

From “I’m Being Nice!” To “F****** B****” In Record Time

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 2, 2022

My husband and I are at a family-themed resort in Orlando, finishing breakfast with our two children. He takes them to get more food while I sip my coffee. Almost immediately, a man appears.

Man: “Is this seat taken?”

He gestures to the seat my husband occupied not two minutes ago. I look around and see several empty tables.

Me: “There are open seats everywhere else.”

He sits down.

Man: “So, what’s your name?”

Me: “That’s my husband’s seat.”

Man: “I’m [Man].”

Me: “Please leave.”

Man: “How long are you—”

Me: *As loudly as I can* “LEAVE!”

The man nearly falls out of the chair. Several people around us have stopped eating and are now watching.

Man: “I’m just—”

Me: “Leave.”

Man: “No, I—”

Another man chimes in.

Man #2: “Hey, dude, you should leave her alone.”

Man: “I’m trying to be nice! She was sitting alone!”

Me: “I’m not alone.”

I point at my husband and children, now watching the show. My husband smiles and waves.

Man: “F****** b****.”

Man #2: *Standing up* “Look, you can’t talk like that. There are kids.”

[Man] makes a hasty retreat, though not into the resort. Instead, he walks out across the parking lot and leaves completely. My family sits down.

Husband: *Grinning* “Making friends?”

Me: “As always.”

We spoke with the front desk after breakfast. Apparently, the man lives nearby and often comes over to help himself to free food and harass women. They told us he is banned from the property but unless they call the police — which they don’t want to do because it would tarnish the resort’s reputation — they can’t do anything except keep an eye on him.

We’re Not Lion About Having A Great Halloween!

, , , , , , | Friendly | October 31, 2022

I’m a huge Halloween fan. I moved somewhere where trick-or-treating is restricted to two stinking hours. We also live in an isolated area of the street, as our neighbors on either side don’t participate, and there is a church across the street. We don’t get many trick-or-treaters, so when we do, I’m pretty excited.

Last night, while just sitting down to dinner, our doorbell rang, and off I ran with a HUGE smile, because it was our very first trick-or-treater of the night! I flung open the front door, and there was a twenty-something-year-old man with apparently pretty severe Down’s syndrome, in a lion costume, looking a little nervous, and an older woman behind him. 

Me: Awesome! My first trick-or-treater of the night!”

And I proceeded to shove a handful of candy in his sack. I thought his mom would cry. He had a great big grin. It appears that a few houses had not been as happy to see a “Grown Man” going around on what they considered a childrens’ errand.

In this day and age, there’s no excuse to not know that if they are trick-or-treating supervised, they may be grown physically, but most likely, mentally, they are somewhere pretty young.

I don’t care who you are. If you’re in costume, you’re getting candy. And I’m going to be happy about it.