Hail To The Bus Driver, Part 5

, , | Hopeless | May 2, 2016

(I am having a terrible week and a particularly terrible day. I tell myself that I need to leave my apartment since I haven’t spoken to anyone in a few days and decide to go downtown by bus. The bus driver greets me very cheerfully, but gives me a worried look as a get on. I get out my book and start reading. I pull the cord to get off the next stop.)

Driver: “So, how is that book?”

Me: “It’s pretty good. I just started.”

Driver: “Yeah, I was looking at you read in my mirror and I was going to ask how it was, because through a mirror it looked like you were nearly done, but then I realized you were just starting!”

(He continued to chatter with me cheerfully for the remainder of my ride. I had a feeling that he could see that I was not feeling too happy. By the time I got off the bus I was smiling and felt better than I had in days. He greeted the next person just as cheerfully. I hope I will get on his bus again sometime.)

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A Stranger Can Be A Friend You Haven’t Made Yet

, , , | Hopeless | May 2, 2016

(A friend that I haven’t talked to in nearly six months calls me, late at night, and tells me that she has an Internet friend who is stuck in the Twin Cities for the night before she can get a ride home to Duluth (about a three hour drive). She can’t bring the friend to her house because she still lives with her parents and they don’t trust anyone randomly met on the Internet. Although it seems really weird, my husband and I agree to let her stay with us for the night. The girl seems shy and is quiet.  We also have friends over, and after everyone leaves, we run to the store to pick up some essentials and food, and bring her with us.)

Me: “Okay, is this everything we need?”

Husband: “I think so.”

Me: *to girl* “Do you need anything, sweetie?”

Girl: *mumbles* “No.”

Me: “Okay, then let’s go home.”

(I suddenly realize the girl has started crying.)

Me: “Oh, my gosh; what’s wrong?”

Girl: *crying harder* “This whole weekend has been such a disaster! I spent all my money to fly all the way to Texas to see my boyfriend and none of his family or friends would talk to me the whole time I was there and now that I’m back my supposed best friend who was supposed to pick me up just calls after I land here to tell me she changed her mind and left me stranded hundreds of miles from my home with no money and you’re letting me stay at your home and are giving me food and I don’t even know you! You’re the only people who’ve been nice to me all weekend and you’re STRANGERS!”

(After this spiel I gave her a hug and she cried into my shoulder for five minutes. I felt really bad that she’d had such a terrible weekend, but it made me feel good to know that what I saw as a simple act of kindness meant so much to her.)

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Enough To Bring A Teal To Your Eyes

, , | Hopeless | May 1, 2016

(I volunteer for our local museum during a popular traveling Sherlock Holmes exhibit. When it is slow, I will walk along with visitors and chat. I am walking with a young mom and her four-year-old daughter. They love the exhibit, and go to the gift shop. I am on a break and stop by the gift shop to say hi to the woman working the register.)

Little Girl: “Hey! You are the lady that helped us!”

Me: “Yes, I am. Did you find anything?”

(She shows me a handful of marbles, one in every color we offered.)

Little Girl: “What is your favorite color?”

Me: “I really like the teal ones.”

(She scampers away, and I don’t think much of it as I have these conversations with kids a lot. I am talking with the mom when her daughter comes back.)

Little Girl: “Here! This is for you!”

(She hands me a teal marble.)

Me: “it’s beautiful, thank you!”

Little Girl: “It’s a friendship marble. Now we’ll always be friends!”

Mom: “[Little Girl] and I are on our own. Her dad left us when she was born and I’ve been trying to make sure she has great values.”

Me: “You’ve done an amazing job! She is a real gem; I loved talking with you today!”

(I slip the cashier money to pay for the girl’s marbles, and when she is told her marbles are free, she tears up.)

Little Girl: “Mom and I don’t have a lot of money; we saved just to come here!”

Me: “Well, in that case…”

(I refunded their admission and paid for it myself. I made sure they got two free passes for the museum for their next visit, and they came and saw me for the next exhibit. The little girl was just as pleasant as she was the first time. And the teal marble? She had it in her pocket, and since I carry mine in my purse, I had mine that day as well.)

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Ornithologically Correct

, , , , | Hopeless | April 30, 2016

(I’m browsing in a card shop when I overhear an older lady asking for help from the young woman running the counter.)

Customer: “Hi, can you help me find an anniversary card?”

Employee: “I sure can. Our anniversary cards are right over here.” *she walks the woman over to the relevant section*

Customer: “Okay, but, see, I’m having a little problem. The card is for my neighbours, and they’re both men. A lot of these anniversary cards feature a man and a woman.”

Employee: “Hmm. That’s true… Wait, I have an idea. See this one, with the two peacocks on it?”

Customer: “Yes…”

Employee: “Well, both the birds have beautiful tails and bright plumage, right? Only male peacocks have that; peahens look different. So it’s a card with a same-sex couple on it!”

Customer: “That’s perfect! Thank you so much.”

Employee: “You’re welcome.”

(After the other customer has left and I go to be rung up.)

Me: “That was a clever solution.”

Employee: “Thanks. Good to know my degree in ornithology is helping someone!”

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Getting Along Like A House On Fire

, , , | Hopeless | April 29, 2016

(This story takes place shortly after the Bastrop County Complex Fires started up on Labor Day, 2011. At the time of the story, I’m working in the grocery department of the store when I see a woman getting off of the phone and starting to cry, fearing the worst I stop stocking and approach her.)

Me: “Is something wrong, ma’am?”

Customer: “Yes, I just heard that the fire took our house.”

Me: Oh, no. That’s not good. Were you able to save anything before they evacuated you?”

(At this point, the customer starts to list of different things they were able to save before sobbing again, realizing all of the stuff they couldn’t get.)

Me: “It’s okay, ma’am. I realize that it may seem bad, but you know one very important thing you were able to save.”

Customer: *through tears* “No?”

Me: “You were able to get yourself and your family, right?”

Customer: “Y- yes.”

Me: “Well, as long as you were able to take care of that, everything else will eventually get back together. While you might not be able to recover everything you left, you still have you, your family, and your memories, right?”

Customer: *stopping her crying* “Yes, I suppose I do.”

(As she stopped crying, I decided to forgo general policies and even public normal by hugging her when she started to cry again.)

Customer: “You are right. I do have the really important things and know that He’ll help us out in the end. Thank you…”

(She let me go and started to walk off, getting on her phone again. From what I heard as I left she was talking to her family and/or friends. Fast forward about a year or two later and I’m a cashier in the express lane when the customer I’m checking out gasps. As she does, I look up and realize it is the same woman and smile. Without warning, she hugs me again and starts to cry with her husband behind her, smiling.)

Customer: “Oh, you were right! Everything did work out. Insurance pulled through, and we’ve got a new place, and we were able to recover some of the things were forgot.”

(She started to explain about what happened after the affected areas were deemed safe to return to for salvaging purposes. Eventually, they handed me a local magazine that contained a story of the fire and showed where she was interviewed, pointing out where she mentioned me in it then tried to give me some cash. However, I refused it stating they should keep it, but, as they left, I noticed they still had the money on the counter with the husband shaking his head as I tried to follow them.)

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