Are You Sure Is A Sure Fire Way

, , , | Hopeless | June 28, 2017

While I am in college, I do some occasional tutoring. One thing I do, as did people who taught me when I was younger, is ask “are you sure?” when I am shown an answer that I know is incorrect. On occasion, I do the same with a right answer and the student will go back and check the work.

I have one girl as a student who is failing algebra and her parents agree to hire me. She makes some steady progress in school, but still struggles. I play that little are-you-sure game with her from time to time. One day, I give her a problem, she works it, and gives me the result. I ask her “are you sure?” Without the slightest hesitation or move to check her work she said “yes!” Something in her clicked and she had the confidence to know she had it right. Bam! From that point forward, she is getting straight A’s on homework and tests. Seeing someone excel like that is a thrill I never forgot. As I concluded writing this, I searched for her name on Google and found her on LinkedIn. She completed her bachelor’s degree and is a successful businesswoman.

Everyone Is Hungry To Help

, , , , | Hopeless | June 27, 2017

The other day, while coming home from an afternoon event, I decided to save some time before I go home to eat dinner and pick up some cinder blocks that I want to use in my backyard for a raised garden bed. I’m not that hungry, right? 85 degree weather shouldn’t bother me, right?

Maybe not so much. After checking out and pushing the heavily loaded cart of cinder blocks up the parking lot to my car, I start feeling light-headed and having white sparkles across my vision. I decide to walk back to the store and find a water fountain, but have to stop and sit down part of the way there, then pause to catch my breath near the entrance of the store, and end up going to one knee once I am inside so that I don’t totally black out.

Here is where the awesome part of the story begins. Every single person who sees me, whether an employee or a fellow customer, asks if I am all right. When I go to one knee, a woman who had just passed me, after I had assured her I was okay, turns around and comes right back to grab a bottle of water for me from a nearby display. More than that, the man at the nearby checkout told the cashier to put the water on his bill!

After I finished the water and caught my breath, the cashier made sure that another employee came out to my car and helped me load the cinder blocks. I was able to drive home just fine and was perfectly recovered after having dinner and resting up a bit. They say you should never go grocery shopping hungry… I guess that also applies to large heavy hunks of concrete!

Didn’t Head Where Your Head Expected

, , , | Hopeless | June 26, 2017

(I’m a 23-year-old female and have recently got the side of my head tattooed. I have other visible tattoos and piercings, but this is the most extreme. I’m shopping in a department store for something nice to wear to my sister’s wedding. Eventually I notice an elderly female employee watching me. I figure it’s because of the tattoo, but she’s being far from discreet, which makes me a little uncomfortable. I move around the store, browsing, hoping she’ll eventually leave me alone. She watches me like a hawk, which makes me a little annoyed.)

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am? I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m not here to steal anything or whatever. I just need some nice clothes for a wedding. It’s making me a little uncomfortable that you’re hovering.”

(Her face goes white, and then she blushes furiously.)

Employee: “Oh, dear, I’m so sorry. I didn’t think you were stealing. I’ve just never seen a tattoo like that. Can I look?”

(I’m a little taken aback, but pleasantly surprised. I let her look at my tattoo, and she studies it for quite a long time.)

Employee: “It’s lovely. I wish I had had the courage to do something crazy in my youth.” *pats me on my hands* “Don’t change.”

(This was a lovely surprise. She even asked to take a picture to show her grandchildren. I make sure to go back to that department store whenever I need something, and always say hello.)

Harry Potter And The Act Of Kindness

, , , , | Hopeless | June 25, 2017

(Back when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the last book in the series) comes out in the bookstores, I am a teenager in high-school with little money to my name. My grandmother knows I am a big fan and has given me exact change to be able to buy the hardcover version of the book I have been waiting so long for. In my excitement to get the book, I leave on my bicycle to buy it, not bothering to take anything else but the amount she gave me. During the 15 minute ride to the store, I noticed a middle aged man cycling the exact same path from my street and to the bookstore. We both enter the bookstore and I am first in line with him standing next in line.)

Cashier: “Hello, how can I help you today?”

Me: *excited* “I’m here to buy Harry Potter seven!”

Cashier: “All right, which one do you want, the hardcover or the paperback?”

Me: “The hardcover, please!”

(The cashier grabs one of the hardcover books and tells me the amount I owe. Having gotten some loose bills and coins, I haven’t taken the time to count it. When she looks at it she frowns and tells me this is only enough for a paperback version. My grandmother must have miscounted by accident, and having no other money on me, I’m momentarily speechless and only mumble some incoherent words in an attempt to gather my thoughts and make a decision. I must’ve looked very distraught; the man next in line taps me on the shoulder.)

Man: *holds out two euros which, is the extra amount I need for a hardcover, and smiles kindly* “Here, take it. The hardcover books last a lot longer.”

Me: *surprised and happy* “T-thank you! That’s unbelievably kind of you.”

(I took the two euros he offered me and finished the transaction with the cashier for a hardcover book. Being an awkward teen I could only smile and didn’t know what else to say, but it really did mean the world to me. I still cherish that hardcover copy and I wish I could’ve made it more clear to him how happy he’d made me with that small act of kindness. If you do happen to remember an awkward teen girl with glasses on the day of the release of the last book, please know that you’re a hero in my eyes, especially in a world that can be so cold and harsh at times. It’s the little things that count, and I try to do the same for others when I’m able.)

Charity Doesn’t Have To Start At Home

, , , | Hopeless | June 24, 2017

(A woman and her young son have come into the charity shop I volunteer with. She was in the previous week asking for us to hold a couple children’s VHS cassettes.)

Me: “Hi there. I’ve got everything right here.”

Woman: “Thank you. Could you please tell me how much it all costs? I’m afraid I can’t remember.”

Me: “£10.99.”

Woman: *sighs* “Do you mind if I take quick look at them first?”

(I had them over and she kneels on the ground so she is at eye level with her son.)

Woman: “Okay, [Son]. Mummy had to buy bulbs this week, so she can only buy one.”

(The son looks upset, but he chooses one. I’m honestly holding back tears as the woman looks at the other two and mumbles about “maybe next month.” I have an idea.)

Me: “Umm, [Son]. There’s some toys over there. Since you’ve been really grown up, I’ll let you take one.”

(The son’s eyes light up instantly and he runs off.)

Me: *whispering* “Look, I’ll pay for everything.”

Woman: “Oh. No, you don’t have to do that!”

Me: “I know I don’t, but I am. You shouldn’t have to decide between bulbs and your son’s happiness.”

(She tries to argue back, but I refuse. When she leaves though she does seem considerably more relaxed, and the son is ecstatic with his new Pikachu toy.)

Me: “[Boss], can you come and put through the sale. I’m paying for it.”

(He starts putting it through and I pay for it on my card.)

Boss: “You know, this is your first and only warning. I’ve seen plenty of do-gooders like you who think they can make poverty disappear with a few good deeds. I can guarantee that she will be spending that money on heroin the second she can offload her son. This is a charity shop. Our charity comes from the time we spend here, selling other people’s crap!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but if I have to lose my place here so I can help people so worse off that they can’t even spend TEN POUNDS, then please, by all means accept this as my resignation. Get stuffed!”

(As I left I bumped into the woman again, and we sat down for coffee. I now babysit her son free of charge, meaning she can work more hours so money isn’t as tight any more. She and her son are in a much better place. I also found another charity shop which a more compassionate staff.)

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