Bus Driver Gets An A

, , , , , | Hopeless | October 2, 2019

A few months ago, in the middle of GCSE season — for those who don’t know, GCSEs are the exams that mark the end of compulsory schooling in the UK — I was on the bus to school when I realised I had missed my stop. I started panicking because I had a history paper starting at 9:15 which made up half my GCSE grade for that subject. I got so panicked that I almost ended up getting off the bus and trying to find my own way using my phone.

Luckily, the bus driver noticed me before I could make the worst decision in my entire time at secondary school. He checked his timetable and told me that if I stayed on the bus when it arrived in Huddersfield, it would go the same way back and I would arrive right before my exam. He even reminded me when he noticed my stop coming back up.

I ran into my school to find the rest of the students entering the exam hall. I had arrived just on time, exactly as the driver said I would. I managed to do well enough to get a grade 6 overall — the equivalent of a B in the old grading system.

Thank you, kind bus driver, for realizing that something was wrong. I certainly wouldn’t have noticed it in your position. After all, I didn’t pay enough attention to realise when my stop was!

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Resting Gift Face

, , , , , | Hopeless | September 27, 2019

(I am a fairly anxious teenager, working the till at a charity shop as a volunteer. The charity in question is a very big, well-known one. A man enters the shop and comes straight towards the counter. He’s got a very stern expression, and I’m concerned he’s here to make a complaint while my manager has stepped out.)

Customer: *sharply* “What do you do?”

Me: “Uh, the charity or me personally?”

Customer: “The charity.”

(I’m a little taken aback by his abruptness, and not sure how best to explain the work we do, because it has quite a broad scope, but I do my best:)

Me: “Well, we work with impoverished communities overseas to provide aid, like building wells and schools and, um, also medical care and education. We cover quite a lot of areas, really, but the aim is, I suppose, to help those communities become able to help themselves…”

(I go on in this vein for a while; I’m aware that I’m rambling, but the guy keeps frowning at me expectantly, so I keep talking. Eventually, I run out of ways to explain what we do.)

Me: “Did you have any other questions, sir?”

(Without another word, he pulls out a chequebook and writes a £50 cheque!)

Customer: “What name do I make this out to? Just [Charity]?”

Me: “Yes, sir! Thank you so much!”

(I guess he just had an angry face; he very patiently filled out a form so we could claim back gift aid for his donation, and then he walked out of the shop without another word. Despite his abrupt behaviour, he ended up making my day!)

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“Building” Great Impressions

, , , , , | Hopeless | September 25, 2019

Years ago, when I was working in a Victorian-era house that had been converted into a museum, I would frequently be the only staff member present. As it was in a fairly isolated location, there would be days I was the only person for miles.

On one such slow day at the beginning of the season, I was going through cleaning tasks when a whole group of stereotypical biker guys pulled in. Our grounds have a restroom and are open to the public, so they spent some time stretching their legs. I kept an eye on them, but since people often pulled in to explore the grounds without ever entering the house, I didn’t think too much about it.

Then, two of them came in, big, bearded guys in all their Harley Davidson leather. Being in the hospitality industry, I always kept a pleasant face on, but I’m a pretty small female and couldn’t help feeling a little nervous. Biker guys had never come inside before.

They asked some questions about the house, which I answered, and then I went ahead and told them about the tour options. The lead guy smiled and said, “Nah, we’re not into that. But we pull in here every year, so we wanted to give something toward your building fund. Do you have anything like that?”

I gave him a big smile back and said that as a matter of fact, we did take donations. They went outside and collected cash from the rest of their group: when I counted it up on my way to the donation box, it was over $40.

So many tourists would whine about having to pay to enter the museum at all, and yet here were these biker guys paying more than admission just because they liked to visit the grounds on their yearly trip. Biker guys are sweet teddy bears: confirmed!

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It’s Warm Inside, There’s All Kinds Of Lovely Atmosphere

, , , , , , | Hopeless | September 23, 2019

(My daughters and I are fans of the show “Red Dwarf” and meeting the cast would be amazing, but times in the 90s are tough for us so conventions are beyond us. One of the actors from the show, Craig Charles, is doing a reading from one of his books in a major book store in our city, so I have the idea of taking the daughter that likes it the most.)

Me: “Hi, Mr. Charles! Could my bairn have your autograph, please?”

(Craig, noticing my daughter is around five years old, asks if she knows who he is.)

Daughter: *quite clearly* “Yeah! Smeghead!”

Craig: “That’s ‘Mister Smeghead, sir’!”

(He signed her book, “Craig Charles, SMEGHEAD!”)

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Feel “Free” To Go Aww

, , , , , , | Hopeless | September 17, 2019

(I train seeing-eye dogs and service animals for a living and have for the past ten years. The number of people who ignore a vest on a dog ceased to surprise me many years ago. On this day, I have three six-month-old golden retriever pups with me who are being trained as therapy companion animals — not seeing-eye dogs — so their training is a little different, and it’s not as strict as it is for dogs who need to be alert animals or guide dogs. I’ve taken them down to the dog park for socialising in their little vests that state they’re in training. When we get there, the dog park is mostly empty, save for a young couple in their 20s and their four- or five-year-old daughter. They’re throwing a ball for a chocolate lab puppy around the same age as my trio of loveable idiots, and mine are whining at me because they want to be “freed” to chase the ball. Sticking to their training, they’re sitting at my feet practically vibrating with excitement. The little girl tosses the ball and it rolls within three feet of my pups, who all amp up their whining. The other family’s dog seems to get spooked by mine, so it hangs back, and the little girl comes to retrieve the ball.)

Little Girl: “Oh! Mummy! Puppies!”

(I’m already impressed that she hasn’t barrelled forward to grab at the pups like most kids her age would do; even adults tend to think that because they’re small and cute they are up for grabs. While they all frantically wag their tails at the thought of a new friend, they stay seated. The little girl cocks her head to the side and starts sounding out the letters on their vests.)

Little Girl: “T… tr… tra… Train! Excuse me, are these train dogs?”

(Her parents have come over and we all giggle at her saying “train dogs.”)

Dad: “They say, ‘dog in training,’ sweetie. What does it mean when a doggy has a vest on with words on it?”

Little Girl: *sadly* “To leave them alone because they’re doing a job. I just wanted to look at them; they’re cute.”

(Her own puppy has sidled forward to sniff at mine, who are all ready to explode by this point but are still seated, waiting for the all-clear. The mum calls her dog back and holds his collar, apologising.)

Me: “That’s fantastic! You’re very clever. But guess what? These puppies are learning to be good friends to kids who need to feel safe and loved, so they can play. You ready guys? FREE!”

(The three balls of golden fluff EXPLODED from at my feet. They started running in circles, pawing at the other puppy, yipping excitedly, and licking the little girls’ shoes. Her face was something I’ll remember forever; a kid getting to play in a pile of puppies is something truly magical. She asked lots of questions about different kinds of helper dogs, and promised me she wouldn’t bother any dogs in vests unless their human said it was okay. Her parents thanked me, but I thanked them, as well, as learning to behave around kids is something very important to support dogs and we got in some great practice that day. That kiddo was so great for already knowing what a service animal was. I hope I can meet more like her in the future.)

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