A Lesson in Perspective

, , , , , | Hopeless | November 17, 2017

(I work part-time at a department store. I am in a bad mood about some trivial things when a very nice man comes up to the cash register to buy something. We are having a pleasant, even fun, conversation. After I learn that he is from a foreign country, I ask:)

Me: “Are you here [in Southern California], for business or pleasure?”

Customer: “Pleasure. I am here with my two little kids.”

Me: “Have you been to [Amusement Park #1]?”

Customer: “Yes, and to [Amusement Park #2], [Amusement Park #3]… All over.”

(Then he points to a surgery “bump” on his mostly bald head and says matter-of-factly:)

Customer: “I have a brain tumor, and I won’t be here much longer. I want to leave my kids with as many pleasant memories of me as possible.”

(I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to say, so I just continued in silence. Then, he went to buy something in another department, but before he left the store, he came out of his way to shake my hand and thank me. I felt ashamed of myself for being in a bad mood over such trivial things.)

Leaving You High And Dry

, , , , , | Hopeless | November 15, 2017

(I’ve gone to the hospital for an ultrasound scan. On my way to the hospital, I am caught in a flash rainstorm and have no umbrella, so I am completely soaked through by the time I arrive.)

Doctor: “Ms. [Surname]?

Me: “Hi.”

Doctor: “Oh, you poor thing; you’re soaked though.”

Me: “Yeah, it was raining really hard out there.”

(We enter the ultrasound room.)

Sonographer: “Hi. I’m [Sonographer], and I’ll be doing your scan today. If I could ask you to lie on the bench…”

Me: “Sure. Uh, I’m sorry; I’m going to make it a little damp, I think.”

Doctor: “Don’t apologise; we’re just sorry you’re so wet. Wait, hold on. We have spare hospital gowns somewhere.”

Sonographer: “In the waiting room. I’ll grab one. Hopefully your clothes can dry a little when we do the scan.”

(She goes out.)

Doctor: “Right. Let’s see if I can switch the air-conditioner off in here, or get it to run hot.”

Me: “Thanks!”

Doctor: “Not a problem.”

(The sonographer comes back with a hospital gown, so I get changed. After the scan is done…)

Doctor: “All done. Do you have to be anywhere? Otherwise, maybe we could see if there’s somewhere for you to sit so your clothes can dry.”

Me: “That’s very kind, but I have to go back home and carry on working.”

Doctor: “Hmm, I wonder if we can get you a hairdryer for a quick solution, then.”

Sonographer: “Let me think…” *pause* “I’m pretty sure we don’t have any we can use, but if you take the first left, there are some toilets with a pretty good hand-dryer, which you might be able to stand under.”

(I ended up having to rush back, but I was extremely grateful to the doctor and sonographer for trying to find a way to dry me off!)

Insistence Is The Mother Of Generosity

, , , , , | Hopeless | November 13, 2017

(At the time of this story, I’m 19 and working as a cashier to pay college tuition. I’m also battling some autoimmune issues that have not been officially diagnosed. All of the baggers have wandered off, so I’m pulled off a register to bag. A lady with three young children and a full cart comes in. She’s got her hands full, so I offer to help her out to her car. We get halfway out the door, when…)

Customer: “Hey! When I said I needed help, I thought one of the boys would do it. I’ve got all those packs of soda and water bottles. I don’t want to make you lift it! Go back inside. I’ll find a guy.”

(All the boy baggers are hiding in the breakroom, and won’t be out anytime soon. I don’t want to say this, as my manager is in earshot.)

Me: “Oh, it’s no problem, ma’am! I’m used to it.”

Customer: “I see. Typical male behavior. They wander off all the time, huh?”

Me: “I…”

Customer: “Oh! Your manager is right there. You can’t talk. Well, let’s get this cart to the parking lot, and I’ll help you unload when I get these kiddos buckled in. So, I’m guessing you’re a college student. Where do you attend?”

(We chat all the way out to the car. While she’s turning on the car and buckling in her kids, I get the cart unloaded. She comes back, and…)

Customer: “Wow! You are so fast! I said I’d help; you didn’t need to do that all by yourself!”

Me: “You don’t need to do that. It’s my job!”

Customer: “Well, at least let me give you a tip or something.”

(We are not supposed to take tips; however, management allows us to accept if the customer insists we take it. We have to decline it once, first, however.)

Me: “No, ma’am; that’s not necessary.”

Customer: “But I insist! Is that the magic word? I insist that you take this tip, and I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Me: “Well, if you insist, I can take it.”

Customer: *places something in my hand* “Don’t look until you get inside. And good luck with college!”

(Once I got inside, I ducked into the bathroom. She had tipped me $20! I never saw her again, but if she’s reading this… THANK YOU!)

Praying It Will Help You

, , , , , , | Hopeless | November 11, 2017

My fiancé and I have been facing a huge decision for the last two weeks. I have been feeling a lot of different emotions, pretty much all the time: anger, hurt, and jealousy, primarily. I have also been doing a lot of crying, just because I cannot help it.

Yesterday, I picked him up from work, and we had just gotten home when he realized he forgot to return the building’s master key to his boss. We went straight back, and I parked outside the building while he got out and ran the key back inside, which was only going to take a couple of minutes.

As soon as he got out of the car, I began sobbing, which I had been trying not to do the whole car ride home and then back to his work. It was about 4:30 pm, so there were still people leaving the building. I looked up and saw a couple of guys walk back toward the building, and then I went back to crying.

I suddenly heard a knock on my window. I rolled it down and recognized one of the guys that had just walked past my car. I had never met him before.

He said, “Can I pray for you? What’s your name? I want to pray for you, if that’s okay.” I was speechless for a moment, and told him my name. He put a hand on my shoulder and we both closed our eyes and he began to pray for me. I’m not a super religious person — I have my own beliefs about it — but the fact that this person saw me crying and then doubled back from his own car to knock on my window filled me with an overwhelming sense of hope and, strangely enough, relief.

He left after a couple of minutes of praying, and my heart immediately felt lighter and the feelings I had been harboring all day vanished. As soon as he left, my fiancé came out of the building and returned to the car. This all happened within a span of not even five minutes.

I know that he probably won’t ever see this, but thank you, stranger, for praying for me. You helped give me the strength to get through this and the reassurance that I can get through anything. I needed it more in that moment than you can imagine.

A Smile Can Be Priceless

, , , , | Hopeless | November 9, 2017

(My parents and I stop by a fast food restaurant. After placing an order and paying for it at the window, my dad makes a comment to my mom about the worker’s dull attitude, and my mom tells him he should try to make her smile.)

Worker: *with a melancholy expression* “Here’s your food, sir.”

Dad: *as he takes the food* “My wife here told me she’d give me $100 dollars if I could make you smile, so how’s about we split it between you and me?”

(A huge, if somewhat embarrassed, smile flashed across her face, and it was a very pretty one, too! I thought it was adorable, and I hope it made her seemingly bad day a little better.)

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