All The Happy Ladies, Now Put Your Hands Up!

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | August 22, 2019

This story takes place at my mum’s school where she is an office worker. Usually, the parents and children are nothing but grumpy and rude to all the staff, especially the office workers. 

However, there was one family who had a lovely little girl with MS. The girl was moving up a year and so had to have a “safe place” where she could go and where she would be accompanied by a buddy. This little girl, upon being told this, started crying with happiness. And when asked, she said, “I can spend time with the happy ladies in the office.” All “the happy ladies” were indeed happy and immediately agreed to make time in their busy schedules to do this. 

At the end of the year, as a thank-you, the family gave each of the ladies a £30 bouquet. This happened a few years ago, but my mum still talks about it, and the girl came back to see them and thank them once again this year.

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Unlucky Number Seven

, , , , | Hopeless | August 21, 2019

My wife and I are at Six Flags to celebrate her promotion at work. A new ride has recently opened so we decide to check it out. Lines are long — two and a half to three hours in the blazing sun — so we strike up a conversation with the people behind us to pass the time. They’re two college-age dudes. One guy is pretty average size, maybe six feet tall. The other guy is an absolute giant; he says he is 7’3” — over a foot taller than his friend! I’m a pretty big guy — 6’3, 250 pounds — but this guy makes me look like a freakin’ munchkin.

We get talking about the usual stuff: names, jobs, etc. They are both students at a college a few hours away. Turns out Tall Guy loves roller coasters. They drove for four hours to get here to celebrate finishing freshman year, super pumped about trying the new ride we’re in line for. 

Three hours later, we’re at the front of the line. We’re all clamoring with the seatbelts when the operator comes up and asks how tall Tall Guy is. He answers and the ride operator tells him he has to get off. Apparently, you have to be under seven feet tall to ride safely. Tall Guy is completely crushed. This guy drove four hours and waited three hours in the hot sun to be kicked off the ride for being too tall. 

They give him a coupon for a free drink, but d***, we can see how disappointed he is. I feel so bad for him, so my wife and I pay for him to get a “Fast Pass” — you can buy a ticket that basically lets you take an express line on all the rides — for the rest of the day. He really appreciates it but I still feel bad he didn’t get to go on the ride.

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Unable To Bear Christmas Without One

, , , , , | Hopeless | August 19, 2019

(I take my young son to visit Santa. He tells Santa what he wants and then says:)

Son: “And please get my little sister a Bedtime Bubba Bear.”

Santa: “Of course! It is very nice of you to ask for something for your sister.”

(Santa is clearly touched. He winks at me and smiles at the tiny girl I am holding. But I am horrified! This is the “Tickle Me Elmo” of that year. EVERYONE wants that toy and all stores are sold out! The next few days are spent calling stores. No luck. I look in the paper and see several listed in the classified section. Some are outrageously priced. The silly things are expensive to begin with and everyone who has one wants to make a profit, of course. One person is selling two at not too much more than the store price. I call the number and arrange to pick up one of the bears. When I get there, they indeed have the prized bear. I’m a pretty strong woman. I’m tall. I work in a field that, at the time, is dominated by men. But I see that bear and just fall apart!)

Me: “Oh, my! Yes! Finally! I HAD to find one! My son asked Santa to bring this bear to his little sister. His sister is disabled and can’t ask for anything for herself. This may be the last year he believes in Santa. I couldn’t bear to disappoint him. He saw the commercial and said maybe this bear could help his sister learn to talk. Everything at home is about his sister. Therapies. Modifications. He wanted to be able to help, too. I couldn’t let such a kind thought not come to fruition. I just had to find this bear! Thank you!

(The poor lady just looks stunned, having been run over by my word-train.)

Lady: “Um. Oh. That’s really something.”

Me: “Oh, no! I forgot to get change. I only have 20s. I can go to the store and get change if you don’t have any.”

Lady: “No. No, I have change.”

Me: “Oh. Thank you. And, again, sorry for that.”

(I give her five 20s, take the bear, wrap it in my jacket — the kids are actually in the car — and take the change the woman puts in my hand. I thank her again and head out to the car. When I get home, I realize that instead of $15, this woman has given me $40 in change. I call her to let her know I’ll drop the money off on my way to work.)

Me: “Hi. I’m the crazy woman who bought the bear. I’m afraid you got the bills in your wallet shuffled. I got too much change. I’ll swing it by in the morning if that’s okay. I can slide it through your mail slot if that’s too early.”

Lady: “No. You got the right change. Your daughter needs that bear. Your son needs your daughter to have that bear.”

(She hung up. And I cried. My daughter is in her 20s now and has three toys from her youth: the bunny who accompanied her to the hospital for her surgeries, a bunny a sweet lady gave her in the hospital, and Bedtime Bubba.)

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One Final Dessert

, , , , , , | Hopeless | August 17, 2019

I was a young adult dining with my parents at a small Classique French-style fine-dining restaurant. The restaurant seemed to have fallen out of favour. When we arrived, there were only two other tables, both well into their meals. By the time we had finished our mains, we were the only table in the restaurant. We discussed quietly if we should order dessert; we felt guilty keeping the staff there for longer.

Just then, our waiter, who could not have overheard our conversation but had presumably guessed at it, came over with the dessert menus and offered us a complimentary glass each of “noble rot” wine to accompany it if we ordered. There couldn’t have been a nicer way to say “we want you to stay for dessert and continue to enjoy your meal.” We, of course, accepted it, and took our leisurely time over it, as the wine offer implied. The meal was excellent, the service impeccable.

Sadly, fashion had moved on, and the restaurant closed a short while later. 

Salut to the hard-working front of house staff, and the chef and his underlings. I hope they went on to bigger and better things.

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Everyone Remembers Their First Time, And Sometimes Someone Else’s

, , , , | Hopeless | August 16, 2019

I was flying with my husband for our first anniversary to Paris and I’d never flown before. Unfortunately, we got separated due to a ticket mixup; he sat at the front of the plane, while I was at the back next to this very nice German lady. As the plane began to make its way down to the runway, I began to panic, telling myself I could do this, but as soon as it sped up and began taking off, I broke down crying, my hands clutching the armrests for dear life. The German woman held my hand, rubbing my back until we were settled in the air, telling me I would be all right. 

I don’t know who she was and I know I’ll never see her again, but I want to say a massive thank-you to the woman who helped a complete stranger cope with her very first flight, while said stranger was covered in tears.

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