Food Banked That Money Immediately

, , , , , , | Hopeless | August 21, 2017

The store where I work is doing a promotion where one customer per day gets up to $100 dollars worth of free groceries. It’s a completely random process, and they aren’t doing a great job of advertising it, so most of the people who are getting free groceries have no idea that could happen.

Today is the first day that I have been the cashier for a winner. He’s a regular at my store, and always polite. So, he wins, and leaves. A few minutes later, though, he comes back with more groceries, and when I comment that he is back so soon he says that since he doesn’t have to spend that money on his family’s groceries, he is spending the same amount he would have spent on his family — for his church’s food bank. $80 worth of groceries.

I am personally grateful for his kindness and thoughtfulness, especially since sometimes my family has to go to the food bank.

You Bagged A Good One

, , , , | Hopeless | August 19, 2017

(A couple of years ago I visited New York for a week. The morning before I flew back to the Netherlands, I visited an outlet mall very near the Newark airport. It’s incredibly hot weather, and it’s clear that the a/c at some of the stores can’t keep up. I visit a store where I find a beautiful leather travel bag that originally sold for $720 but is now on sale for $320 — a big discount but still quite a lot of money for me. A very friendly young saleswoman approaches me to see if I need assistance. She is very helpful and sweet, despite the fact that she and her co-worker are working in sauna temperatures.)

Me: “I really like this bag, but I’m sorry to say it’s a bit too much for me for an impulse buy!”

Saleswoman: “No problem, I totally understand. Let me check in the computer if there are any discounts I could offer.”

(She checks while I browse and find some socks and two belts that I certainly want.)

Saleswoman: “If you go to the concierge desk and ask for a coupon book, you can get a 20% discount!”

Me: “How can I say no to that?!”

(I leave my items on the counter, and go to the concierge desk. When I return to the store, I pass a coffee shop and get iced lattes for me and the two salespersons. When I get back to the store:)

Saleswoman: “I ordered the bag online for you, to pick up here and now, which gives you another 10% off!”

Me: “Wow, that is so cool! Okay if I thank you for that with these lattes?”

(They both were very pleasantly surprised and thanked me. I browsed a bit more, and headed for the checkout to pay for the bag, which they already had packed for me. They thanked me again for the lattes, and I left. The next day, back home in the Netherlands, I unpacked the travel bag. When I opened it, inside I found the socks and the belts, gift-wrapped, and a note that said: “You made our day! XOXO Haley & Michelle.”)

When There’s Actually A GOOD Umbrella Organisation

, , , | Hopeless | August 17, 2017

(When I am 12, I go on an overseas trip with my mum and buy a beautiful umbrella there, shaped like a leaf. Since it doesn’t fit into our luggage, we have to check it separate as ‘bulky luggage’ at the airport. But when we get to our home airport at around midnight, the umbrella doesn’t show up at the baggage claim, no matter how long we wait. We ask a random airport worker for help and get sent to the special claims desk.)

Lady At Desk: “You’re missing a piece of luggage? I’m sorry, but it might have been lost in our collections area for luggage… or it might not have made it off the plane. This late at night, there’s not enough workers to properly search for it.”

(I was in love with that umbrella, so hearing that it might be completely lost almost made me cry.)

Lady At Desk: “If you give me a description of the lost piece, I’ll make sure to inform everyone working tomorrow to look for it, and with your flight number we’ll check the plane as well! We can have it delivered to any address you give us.”

Mum: “It’s a bright green umbrella, with the brown handle shaped like a tree trunk, and if you open it up it has the shape of a leaf.”

Lady At Desk: “Well, we certainly won’t have any trouble finding THAT!” *laughing*

(We go home without my umbrella and I am certain I’ll never hear from the airport service again. However, the next day around noon, the doorbell rings and a flight attendant shows up — with my umbrella!)

Flight Attendant: “The luggage workers found this tucked behind a set of golf-bags this morning. When I heard your address was on my route home, I offered to deliver it in person!”

(Ten years later, I still have that umbrella.)

That Is ‘Pretty’ Awesome

, , , , , , | Hopeless | August 15, 2017

(I am a photographer running a studio in the inner city. We are well known for our children’s portraits, and we range from high-end portraits for modelling jobs to fun sibling photos and birth announcements. We do a bit of everything; as such, we are extremely busy, and it states on our website that we do not accept walk-ins. We are usually booked up six months in advance. One day, ten minutes before closing, a mum walks in with a young girl around six or seven behind her. I internally groan.)

Mother: “Hello. I know you’re closing soon, but I have a special favour to ask.”

(At this point the little girl peeks around her mother’s legs and I’m lost for words. Under her thick winter coat and hat, she is skeletally thin with huge dark circles under her eyes. From what I can tell, she has no hair, and a tube taped to her cheek that feeds into her nose. It is immediately clear this kid is very, very sick.)

Mother: *near tears* “My daughter saw one of your photos taped to the wall at the hospital. She REALLY loves unicorns and the photo had a girl photo-shopped onto a horse. I know you’re booked up, and it’s months before the next appointment, but…”

(At this point she actually starts crying. I realise that our next available appointment is probably way too far away for this particular kid. The little girl squeezes her mother’s hand. I am a very big dude, covered in tattoos and a beard, but I’m not ashamed to say I needed a minute before I spoke.)

Me: “Aww, that’s just for regular customers! I’ve been waiting all day to take a photo of someone as beautiful as you! What’s your name, sweetheart?”

(I lock the front door and spend the next three hours taking photos of this kid in every princess costume I have in my closet. She is the sweetest, most well-behaved kid I have ever worked with. Once we’re done she curls up on the couch in my office and falls asleep while I load up the photos for her mum to see and choose the ones she likes best, and ask her what kind of retouching she’d like done. She’s adamant that I leave her daughter as is — apparently the little girl has been worried for the past month that she is no longer “pretty.”)

Me: “All right, so we’ve settled on these. I can have them edited and all finished in two days. If you give me your email I can send you the link to the website and the password to download them when they’re ready.”

(The mother thanks me over and over and comes up front, carrying her sleeping daughter, and holds out her credit card.)

Me: “Nope. No way.”

Mother: “Please, I insist. You stayed open so late and your shoots are listed for [amount] online. Please at least charge me that.

Me: “Absolutely not. I am not taking money for this. No way in h***.”

(A few days later I send the link through and hear nothing. I see she’s downloaded the photos and I think nothing of it, hoping my sweet little friend loved her photos. Almost six months later I’m once again closing up when a very familiar face pops up at my window, grinning and waving frantically.)

Me: *throwing open the door* “Hey, you!”

Little Girl: “Hi! I’m better! Look, I’m better!”

(Sure enough, she’d put on some weight, was flushed and pink, and had a fine fuzz of hair over her head. Her mother was a few steps behind her, grinning. She once again tried to force an envelope full of money into my hand, and again I refused. She got frustrated and eventually in her exasperation said, “at least let us take you to dinner!” which I happily accepted. Seven years later that photo of a sick little girl astride a giant pink unicorn is in a frame in my lounge room. My now-step-daughter groans every time I point it out to the friends she brings home!)

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We Both Found What We Were Looking For

, , , , , | Hopeless | August 13, 2017

My sister and I were deeply in love with Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 from the first time we saw them on the Ed Sullivan Show, Thanksgiving, 1969. She was six and I was nine.

Fast forward to Christmas, 1971. Our parents give us a portable record player. Our parents had a couple of Jackson 5 records and we played them over and over, ad nauseam.

In August, 1972, Michael Jackson released the album Ben. Oh, we wanted that album so badly; oh, so badly. So we started saving; all of our Sunday school money, all of our candy money, any money we found anywhere went into the Ben Bank. After about two months we had enough for the album. We hounded our mother unmercifully to please take us to the department store so that we could buy the album.

Finally, late on a Sunday, she takes us there, does her shopping, and then she leads us around to where the albums are sold. Now mind you this is a Sunday in the 1970s. All stores close at 5:00 pm and it’s 4:45. My sister is the keeper of the bank, so she is walking in front.

We walk to the counter and politely ask the young lady working there if there is a copy of Michael Jackson’s Ben. She goes and gets it. Oh, my, we are so happy, practically vibrating with excitement. The young lady is smiling, too; she can see we are so happy.

She says that will be $5.45. My sister puts the paper bag that holds all the money we saved for this album on the counter and upends it. Five dollars and fifty cents worth of dimes, nickels, and pennies roll out and we start counting. My mom walks away at that point. After about 10 minutes of us going 1,2,3,4,5, because by that time we have given her all the silver and we are into the 300 pennies that are included, the young lady just starts sweeping it off the counter and throwing them into the register.

My sister and I say, “But we didn’t count it for you.” The young lady says, “That’s okay; I can see that it’s enough.”

That happened 45 years ago and yet I can still see that young lady’s face fall as all those coins rolled across the counter. To the young lady I wish to say, “I’m so so sorry we did that to you. Thank you for being a kind soul to two little girls ten minutes before closing.”

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