A Half Hour Can Make All The Difference

, , , | Hopeless | May 5, 2018

(I work as a housekeeper at a hospital. It is hard work, but I love the people I work with. There is one coworker who I take a liking to, mainly because he is a lot like my grandfather who had died. He is 60 years old and has worked at the hospital for almost 40 years. Whenever someone calls out and we can’t find a replacement, we will have to clean. I typically get partnered up with him. I learn quickly why everyone wants to have him as a partner. He will go down an hour before the time we set to start and he will finish EVERYTHING before I get to the area. One day I find out he often has a hard time finishing my area. In order to make it so I can actually help, I go down one and half hours early. As usual, he comes down an hour early to find I have done most of the area.)

Coworker: “What are you doing down here? We agreed to ten.”

Me: “I knew you would come down at nine and do everything. I wanted to do at least my portion of this area; we are supposed to clean it together! There is a bathroom left that needs to be done.”

Coworker: “But I didn’t need your help!”

Me: “Well, I want to do my portion. So, save me half or I’ll come down even earlier.”

Coworker: *suddenly smiles* “You know what? You remind me of my son.”

Me: “How so?”

Coworker: “You’re a stubborn jacka**.”

Me: “I wonder where he got that trait?”

(I found out after talking to him on our break that his son and wife had died in a car accident five years ago. When he met my wife, he told me that we remind him of how he and his wife were when they first got married. I no longer work as a housekeeper, but we stay in touch. He’s helped my wife and I with getting food in times where we were struggling.)

The Fabric Of Kindness

, , , , , | Hopeless | May 4, 2018

Many years ago, my husband and I had a futon bed, and then a futon couch and two armchairs, made and upholstered by an older couple with a small shop near our home.

Several years later, I lost my job and we decided to move back to the coast with my severance pay. The covers on the couch and chairs were rather worn by then — we had a small child and three cats — so we decided to have the couple reupholster them before we left, in spite of having to make the money last until we found new employment.

When we went to pick up the couch and chairs, the woman told us there was no charge, as they were retiring very soon and were just using up the fabric they had on hand. No mention of the time and excellent work they had put in. We were gobsmacked, to say the least, and very, very grateful.

The Power Of Snuggles

, , , , | Hopeless | May 3, 2018

My parents and I are stopping by a favorite restaurant for lunch after a therapy appointment, which was difficult but productive. After we get out of the car, we can hear what sounds like a man calling for his pet and, having a pet ourselves, instinctively look over to see what is going on.

It’s not a pretty sight. The shouting man is in a wheelchair, and he is wheeling after a little Chihuahua as fast as his arms and the bumpy pavement allow. Said Chihuahua, dragging along a retractable leash, is gunning for a squirrel which is headed to a side street. This being Massachusetts, the road is ridiculous; it’s incredibly narrow, yet still allows bumper-to-bumper parking on both sides, lets people drive on both sides, has a speed limit of 35 mph — roughly 56 kmh, for the non-American audience — and plenty of people who go faster than that limit. An able-bodied person, a tiny little Chihuahua, and a squirrel could bypass the parked cars, but somebody in a wheelchair has no chance of getting by them without taking a detour to the nearest crosswalk first.

In a panic, my parents and I rush over to the other side of the road to intercept the dog before it puts itself in big danger. The dog is laser-focused on the squirrel and doesn’t even acknowledge us at first. Fortunately, the squirrel is spooked by our charge and takes a sharp left behind a fence and into a tree, out of the dog’s sight. With the squirrel confirmed lost, the dog starts bouncing towards my parents and me and starts demanding that we snuggle — though Mom restrains me, not knowing if the dog is friendly.

It turns out the dog is the remarkably friendly pet of the man in a wheelchair. Apparently, the dog has the body of a Chihuahua, but his personality and mind are more like the Xolo breed, meaning that he’s social, quiet, loyal, somewhat active, and a lover of snuggles, but unable to resist the allure of a good chase. We have lovely, comforting snuggles, with the dog making the rounds to each and every family member. We make small talk with the man as he wheels over to reunite with his beloved pet.

The man and his dog are absolutely adorable. I will never forget the way that man’s face lights up when he sees that his dog is safe, and that we cared about his dog enough to try to prevent it from rushing into the road. He brightens even more when my mom hands him the leash, and the dog sees it as his cue to hop into his owner’s lap and snuggle. The two of them are like father and son. The whole experience causes us cheer up, too, after the difficult therapy session, though the man never knew what exactly had been going on in our lives.

Dog on lap, the man wheels away with a big grin on his face. We never saw him again, nor even remembered his or his dog’s names. The adorable bond between him and his Chihuahua, as well as both of their warmth and kindness, however, we could never forget. If you’re reading this, sir, thank you for being a kind, caring, and loving person. You and your dog were simply yourselves, but that was all you needed to be and more to make our day so much brighter when we needed it.

Real Life Tweeting Is So Much More Fulfilling

, , , | Hopeless | May 1, 2018

(My store sells baby chickens in the spring, so before we get them, we set up tanks and fence gates in the middle of the store to attract attention. A father and a little girl come in one morning.)

Little Girl: *gasp!* “Baby chickens!”

(She looks in the tanks, which are empty.)

Little Girl: “Where are the baby chickens?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sweetie, but they’re not here yet. They’ll be here soon.”

Little Girl: “How soon? In a few minutes?”

Me: “No, just a few more days, kiddo.”

Little Girl: “Oh. They are here sometimes, though.”

Me: “That’s right, and I certainly hope your Daddy will bring you back to see them.”

Her Father: “Had you not said it, she’d be begging me, anyway.”

Took Note Of Your Kindness

, , , , , , | Hopeless | April 30, 2018

(Chicago is having a particularly nasty cold snap, with temperatures routinely hitting negative ten Fahrenheit, or even lower. One evening, around eight pm, I am heading out of the physics classroom when another student catches up to me.)

Girl: “Hey, you work for the biology department, right?”

Me: “Yeah, I’m a student employee. What’s up?”

Girl: “Do you know if either of the lab managers are still around?”

Me: “No, they usually leave around five. Why? Does your research lab need to borrow equipment?”

Girl: “Oh, crap! No, I accidentally left my coat and mittens in one of the classrooms, and now the door’s locked, and I’m walking home tonight.”

Me: “Which classroom? I might have the key to it. If not, I’m giving you a ride; I drove today.”

(She tells me, and sure enough, it’s a room I have access to. Thirty seconds later, I have the door open and she’s pulling her coat out of the closet at the back of the room.)

Girl: “Oh, my God, thank you so much!”

Me: “No worries, chica. It’s way, way too cold to be without a coat. You sure you don’t want a ride?”

Girl: “Nah, it’s only a ten-minute walk; it’s just too far to go without a coat in this weather. Thanks, though!”

Me: “Fair enough. Have a good rest of the night!”

(We wish each other well, and I think no more about it. Because the lab is smaller than the lecture hall, our physics class will have one early lab section, then the lecture for everyone, then one late lab section. I’m usually in the late lab section, because I’m at work earlier in the afternoon. For lab-based exams, we’re allowed one sheet of notes and formulas. The day of our final lab exam, I take off work, and spend nearly four hours typing up my notes. Two sentences from the end, the computer starts glitching and shuts off, and when I finally get it up and started again, my carefully saved document is nowhere to be seen. It’s only twenty minutes until class, and I’m fighting an anxiety attack and trying not to cry in the middle of the computer lab, when the girl from before comes over.)

Girl: “Hey, you okay?”

Me: “The computer, it ate my note sheet! And I saved the document, but it’s not on the drive, and I don’t have time to copy it out again, and oh, God, oh, God, oh, God, I don’t know what I’m going to do!”

Girl: “Here. Do you want mine?”

Me: “What? Don’t you need it?”

Girl: “No, I take the earlier lab section. I just finished up; I was coming over to print the lecture notes.”

Me: “Oh, my God, thank you! I’ll get it back to you in class Wednesday, as soon as I see you!”

Girl: “No need. You can keep it. Feel free to add any notes you need; I don’t need it back.”

Me: “Oh, man. Thank you so much!”

Girl: “No worries! Fair trade for making sure I wasn’t walking home in January without a coat.”

(I spent the next twenty minutes adding a few of my own notes and shortcuts, and managed to get a high B on the lab exam. That entire physics class was one of the friendliest I’ve ever been in, but the girl who gave me her note sheet when I was on the brink of having a breakdown totally takes the cake!)

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