It’s Toughy To Work Out The Taffy

, , | MN, USA | Hopeless | April 2, 2016

(My three-year-old daughter wants candy while out shopping, so I give her a dollar and tell her to pick out just one. She takes one piece of taffy to the counter to ask how much it is.)

Daughter: “How much is just one candy, please?”

Busy Cashier: *thinks a moment* “You know what, if you can wait until you get back out in the hallway, you can have it for free. As a present.”

Daughter: “Wow! Thank you!”

(We leave and continue shopping elsewhere, and it’s not till later I realize it was probably easier for the busy cashier to write one taffy off as shrinkage rather than work it out by pound!)

Help Is A New York Minute Away

, , , , | NJ, USA | Hopeless | April 1, 2016

(It’s my first visit to New York and the only place I can afford to stay is a really tatty motel in New Jersey beside a major road. I’m from the UK where most places are walkable and most bus stops clearly marked, so am very confused as I try to discover where to catch a bus back into the city. I go into a donut shop but no one will answer when I try to ask them. I’m 19 and the area is really rough, so I’m pretty worried. I head next door to a garage where I figure that people will need to get away by public transport sometimes.)

Me: “Excuse me, can anyone tell me where I can catch the bus into New York?”

Mechanic: “You’re catching the bus?”

Mechanic #2: “You okay, kid?”

Man In Queue: “There’s a stop outside [Store], isn’t there? But that’s across the freeway.”

Woman Halfway Down The Queue: “I have my car booked in at 10, but I’m taking this girl to the stop first. Come on, honey.”

Mechanic: “No problem, ma’am.”

Mechanic #2: “Travel safely, kid.”

(Bemused I follow her and we drive off.)

Woman: “So, how did you get here?”

Me: “I caught the bus out yesterday. I stayed at [Motel] but it was pretty grim so I decided I’d head back to Boston this evening rather than tomorrow.”

Woman: “Hmm. I’m taking you to the train station. I’m not putting you on the bus when you are all shaken up.”

(We pull up outside a railway station.)

Me: “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Woman: “I have kids your age. Now, do you have enough for the train ticket? Here, have a candy bar to eat on the way. You take care now.”

(That was almost 20 years ago and I haven’t forgotten the lovely lady who rescued a very confused English teenager! It is also the story of how I broke the golden rule: never get into a car with a stranger…)

Raising A Child That Gives A Crap

, , , , | UT, USA | Hopeless | April 1, 2016

(I’m walking through a big dog park, where people often leave their used dog bags behind them, and it gets kind of gross over time. I see a mom bag up her dog’s poop, and then drop the bag on the trail.)

Four-Year-Old Son: “Mommy, you forgot the bag.”

Mom: “Oh, honey, we’ll get it on the way back out.”

Four-Year-Old Son: “But we need to throw it away.”

Mom: “It’s too far to the next trash can. We’ll get it later.”

Four-Year-Old Son: “But Mommy, we can’t just leave poopy behind.” *picks up the bag and hands it to his mom* “We’ll find a trash can soon.”

Finding Those Rare Jewels

, | CA, USA | Hopeless | April 1, 2016

(It’s the beginning of December. My family is travelling through California on our way to a famous theme park and have stopped at a fast food place for dinner. It’s dark and my father and I are taking our time getting out of the car while my sister and mother head in when a lady holding a box approaches us.)

Lady: “Hey, I don’t mean to bother you guys, but I’ve recently lost my job and so has my daughter. Our rent’s coming up so we made some jewelry.”

(She pauses, starting to get emotional.)

Lady: “Sorry, I’ve never done this; I just don’t feel like I have any other option. I understand if you want me to leave.”

(I exchange a glance with my dad.)

Me: “No, no, it’s totally fine! Unfortunately I don’t have any cash on me. Is there anything else we can do to help though?” *half-jokingly* “Do you need a hug?”

(To my surprise she starts crying and says yes, so I do my best to give her the most comforting hug ever.)

Lady: “Thank you so much. Tell you what, I have some bumper stickers in my car. You’re not from here right? I’ll give you one for free.”

(She headed to her car with her box of jewelry and my father and I went to follow when I remembered I had a little pouch with at least $5 in quarters for laundry. I grabbed that and headed over. When I tried to give it to her, she at first refused, saying the hug was enough. Then we decided I was paying $3 for the bumper sticker she would have normally sold for $1. We went inside and ate, telling my mom and sister about her. She was still there when we left and my dad remembered he had a $20 bill, so the whole family came over and my mom picked out a beautiful hand beaded necklace and earring set and my little sister bought a bumper sticker for $2. My mom gave her a hug, too, and we wished each other well in job searches. We never exchanged names, but I hope you and your family are doing well! I didn’t get a job but I’m going to college instead, and am doing fine living with my parents.)

Being Good, For Goodness’ Sake

, , , | Scotland, UK | Hopeless | March 31, 2016

(Every weekday morning my church has a coffee bar where anyone can come in and have unlimited tea, coffee, cakes, and biscuits for £1. One of our regulars is a mentally disabled woman in her 40s who comes in almost every day with a carer. One morning as she’s coming in she runs into my friend, who is trying on his costume to be Santa at the children’s Christmas party the following week.)

Regular: *to carer* “It’s Santa. I don’t like Santa. Santa’s loud.”

Carer: “It’s all right. Remember I told you Santa’s a nice man. ”

Friend: *gently* “Hello, [Regular].”

Regular: *amazed* “Santa knows my name!”

Friend: “Of course I do, [Regular]. That’s why I came here this morning. I was checking my list and I saw you’d been a good girl this year. I wanted to make sure I got you the right present for being so good. Would you like some nice chocolates?”

Regular: “Yes, please, Santa.”

Friend: “Well, I’ll make sure they get to you on Christmas morning. Is that okay with you, [Regular]?”

Regular: “Yes, Santa. Thank you, Santa.”

Friend: “You’ve earned it by being so good. Now I have to go upstairs and make sure [Minister] remembers to put the carrots out for Rudolph. She forgot last year. Merry Christmas, [Regular].”

Regular: “Merry Christmas, Santa.”

(She told all of us for the rest of the week that Santa knew her name and my friend made sure a box of chocolates was given to her carer so she did get her present from Santa that year.)

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