Keeping The Line Moving Is Moving

, , , | Hopeless | May 20, 2018

(I am a manager at a popular discount store, known for being constantly understaffed and having ridiculously long lines. We also don’t have the nicest customers. I’ve had a lot of people quit for getting cussed and screamed at over things that were out of their control. It’s a Friday, and it’s already a s***show. Two cashiers called out, and another cashier had to leave in the middle of her shift for a family emergency, leaving one cashier and me to run the registers and get through a line of 50 to 60 people, and a fitting room attendant who is also swamped with people. A little old lady comes up to my register with two large and heavy dining sets.)

Old Woman: “I know it’s very busy, but do you think it would be possible to have someone bring these dishes to my car? I’m parked in the first row, so it’s not very far.”

(I bite my lip. Our shopping carts don’t go outside because they have a pole attached that stops them. Due to liability, employees aren’t allowed in the parking lot while on the clock, not even to help take purchases to a customer’s car. Not to mention, only three people are working in the store right now, so even if we could, one of us would have to hop off register to help, leaving only one cashier.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am… Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to step into the parking lot while on the clock. But if you would like to pull your car up to the curb, you can leave your cart here and I will watch it for you. One of us can hop off register and get it into your car for you.”

(The woman nods and accepts the help as-is. Then, a younger, male customer in line starts to push his way to the front of the line, abandoning his cart right in the middle.)

Male Customer: “Don’t worry about it, miss. I’ll help take her things to her car.”

Old Woman: “Oh, no, you don’t have to do that. You’ll lose your place in that line. I’m sure I can manage.”

Male Customer: “I’m in no hurry. I don’t mind waiting again.”

(The male customer turns to address the line.)

Male Customer: “Y’all can just push my cart out of the line; I’ll come back for it later.”

(His cart is bordered by a middle-aged couple and a woman with her kid in a car seat. They all shake their heads.)

Middle-Aged Couple: “We’ll push your cart through the line. We’ll save your spot.”

Male Customer: “Are you sure? You don’t have to do that.”

Mom Customer: “Don’t worry about it. We’ve got you!”

(I thank the customer profusely for helping the old woman out so that neither I, nor my cashier, have to sacrifice the current speed of the line. He gives me a big smile.)

Male Customer: “My mama would have my throat if I didn’t help someone in need. Y’all just keep doing what you’re doing; you’re doing a great job!”

(The guy picked up both of the dish sets at the same time and walked them to the old woman’s car. While he was gone, his shopping cart skipped the entire line to the front, so when he got back, he was next to checkout. Just shows that sometimes there are very good and nice people in this world!)

Adding Value To Humanity

, , , | Hopeless | May 19, 2018

(My friends and I have stopped at the grocery store, because we are going to a movie and want some candy and other assortments for a cheaper price.)

Employee: “Hi! How’re you doing?”

Me: “Good.”

Employee: *checking out* “Do you have a value card?”

Friend & Me: “Our parents do, but we don’t know how to use them.”

Lady: *behind us in line* “I’ve got one. Can we try that?”

(The employee checks the card, and our price goes down by $5.)

Friend & Me: *in shock, says* “Wow! Thanks a ton!”

Lady: “Don’t worry about it; I’m always happy to help!” *smiles*

(These are the people in the world we need most!)

Adopting A Helpful Attitude

, , , , | Hopeless | May 18, 2018

(I’m on my final errand with my three-month-old when I notice that they are having a pet adoption next door. I realize that my daughter has never seen a dog, and I want to see how she’ll react, as I do plan on getting her one once our current issue of having too many cats is resolved. I go in and stand in the back with my daughter, pointing out the puppies, which are blocked by people.)

Random Person: “They are cute, aren’t they?”

Me: “Yes, but we can’t get one because we have too many cats. I just wanted to see how she’d react. Oh, look, a little kitten!”

(My daughter is looking curiously at all the people, and doesn’t seem to notice the dogs at all.)

Me: “I’m not planning on getting rid of the cats; it’s just we do have a senior cat household, so I’m hoping to get a puppy once the number reduces.”

Random Person: “I can get a smaller one and bring it to you.”

Me: *realizing she’s one of the people running the adoption* “Oh, thank you!”

(The lady went right to the cage with the puppy I’d been eyeing and brought her to us. My daughter gave a great big smile and even tried to giggle. To the worker: thank you for taking the time to show us the puppy even though you knew that we weren’t going to adopt. I plan on finding out what your organization is so that I can adopt from you when we do have less cats. I went home and told my husband that the baby wanted a puppy, but he still said no.)

Hope For Humanity Is The Best Medicine

, , , , | Hopeless | May 17, 2018

We were at a big box store with a pharmacy to get my best friend’s stepmother’s long-acting insulin shot refilled, because she was completely out. She’s a type-1 brittle diabetic, so it’s a definite necessity for her on top of mealtime shots. We found out we didn’t have enough funds for the long-acting insulin, so the stepmother became very upset — with reason, since it was more than it should have been. So, after she calmed down and decided to risk it, the stepmother and I went looking for our few staple foods we needed to complete that night’s dinner, while my best friend’s dad went to try to overdraft to pay for the prescription.

About ten minutes later, we saw him walking towards us, teary-eyed, and we asked what happened. He told us that the kind pharmacist saw that his card was declined, and handed a pharmacy tech his debit card to pay for the prescription. He offered to pay the pharmacist back in two weeks, and the pharmacist refused. My friend’s stepmother and I immediately teared up. I asked if she wanted to go and thank him personally. We went and thanked him, and offered again to pay him back. He adamantly refused again, stating that it was no problem.

Sometimes, you find good people still exist out there, even in very unlikely places. I’ll never forget what he did, and I hope one day to pay it forward for somebody else.

Have A Kindness Sandwich

, , , , , | Hopeless | May 16, 2018

(Due to a long winded tale of bad luck and worse decisions, I am unemployed, pregnant at 18 out of wedlock, and woefully unprepared for my first real winter, all in a province where I don’t know anyone except my fiancé, who, to his eternal credit, dropped everything to focus on being a husband, father, and provider when I told him the test was positive. We’re still together and he is as devoted now as he was then.  Unfortunately, at the time he’s in roughly the same boat as me, right down to having to scramble to find a coat we can afford that even partially keeps out the Edmonton weather, after growing up in balmy Victoria. As for “smalls,” we wear the hats, gloves, and scarves we find in the alleys — after washing them, obviously — since the smalls we can afford are next to useless. We always have some food, but getting a nutritious, balanced diet of the recommended calorie level is a constant balancing act. Luckily, the local grocery store is very liberal with handing out free samples. All you have to do is cruise from station to station and pretend to be interested in buying extra stuff and you can scrape up half a meal for free. So now, imagine you’re the worker at one of these stations and that’s what you see approaching: a scruffily dressed and very young couple, the girl heavily pregnant, with mismatched gloves and scant groceries in their basket, who are REALLY INTERESTED in the sandwich samples you’ve got.)

Worker: *warm smile and standard spiel*

The Mister & Me: “Sure, we’ll try some.” *scarfs down a sample each*

Worker: *casually* “So, when are you due?”

Me: “May 14.”

Worker: *correctly* “Ah, so, any day except May 14.”

The Mister & Me: *laughs*

Worker: “Your first one?”

Me: “Yup.”

Worker: “I remember my first. It’ll be a major change, but you can handle it.”

The Mister & Me: “Thanks.”

Worker: *fidgets* “Tell you what… I’m about to go off-shift. The rules say I have to throw out all my samples—”

The Mister & Me: “What? That’s so wasteful!”

Worker: “It’s to avoid them going bad.”

Mister: “Fair enough, usually, but your tray is nearly full. You must have just made those.”

Worker: *shakes head* “I still have to throw them out.”

Me: “Can’t you eat them yourself? Or share them with your coworkers?”

Worker: *shakes head* “Customers only, I’m afraid… so I was wondering if you’d mind finishing these off for me, so I don’t have to waste them.”

(Well, you don’t have to tell us twice! We stop long enough for manners, then scarf down what amounts to half a meal each at that station alone. After, beaming, we chirp:)

The Mister & Me: “Thanks!”

Worker: *smiling wistfully* “Oh, thank you. Good luck with the baby. You’ll do fine.”

The Mister & Me: “Aww, thanks.”

(We went about the rest of our shopping, such as it was… and as we headed for the registers, what did we see but the same worker, still at that station, with a fresh platter of sandwich samples? It’s been fourteen years, and I’m crying as I type this. Unlike food, kindness is never wasted.)

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