The best of our most recent stories!

With A Good Reputation, Nothing Can Stop You!

, , , , , | Legal | August 3, 2021

I have worked at a well-known gas station in my small town for nearly ten years. One evening, I take a coworker home and take the back route home. At one point, there is a set of train tracks with a stop sign, and then about twenty yards away is another stop sign for the main road I need to be on. At this time, the stop sign for the train tracks cannot be seen at night because of a rubble pile, but I know it’s there and I always stop anyway.

Tonight, as I roll to a stop, I see police cars where my current street merges with the one I need to take. I think, “Oh. They have a drunk driver pulled over,” but when I pull up to the next stop sign, a female officer motions for me to stop and I realize it’s a sobriety checkpoint.

Me: “Sorry about popping my door open; my window doesn’t roll down.”

Officer: “No, that’s fine. Hey, why did you stop back at the tracks?”

Me: “Uh… there’s a stop sign there. I thought I was supposed to.”

Officer: “That is the best answer I have heard all night! Okay, so, do you have your license and insurance on you?”

Me: “Oh, sure! Just got my new insurance card today, actually!”

I unbuckle and begin to dig for my purse in the backseat of the car. I’ve barely turned in my seat when she speaks again.

Officer: “Hold on. I know you.”

Me: “You do?”

Officer: “Yeah! You’re the girl from [Gas Station] — the one who tells all those great jokes! We love you at the station! Sweetie, you head on. Drive carefully and have a nice night!”

Me: “Oh! Okay, thanks!”

I waved goodbye, got home, and walked into my bedroom… where I saw my wallet containing both my license and my new insurance card sitting on my desk.

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A Tale Worthy Of A Book

, , , , , , , | Right | August 3, 2021

My father has taken me to public libraries every weekend since I was almost three. It used to be a long walk, but I enjoyed looking at books. My schooling was in English and the books were in my first language, so I could not read much until about eight. The public libraries did not carry a lot of English books.

When I was about ten, we moved to a neighborhood where the public library was less than five minutes’ walk from my home. It was open for three hours in the morning and evening. Every evening, I would rush to the library soon after school. Usually, I would be there within five minutes of opening. Their usual practice was to set up periodicals first as evening newspaper readers would start coming in. Instead of waiting for them, I would just start dusting the kids’ section seats and turn on the lights and start my reading.

The librarian was the kind of man who just did not look approachable. I used to hear him being hard on people who had late returns or spoiled the books, and he used to be curt with my father when he joined me on Sunday mornings, so ten-year-old me was scared of this man.

Every day, fifteen minutes before the actual closing time, they would start announcements and ask people to vacate. The first few days, I just did not understand why someone would make me leave fifteen minutes early. And since I did not have a library card, I could not take my half-read books with me. I would simply put the book back and go back home. After a few days, the librarian must have silently observed my long face, because he started making announcements about closure only in other sections.

The housekeeper lady would just smile at me and leave the lights on just enough for me to read while they tidied up the rest of the place and did their closing activities. This gave me another ten minutes to read. Five minutes before closing, I would straighten the books in the kids’ section and join them in locking up. Very soon, in my head, I had become a part of their opening and closing team! Every Sunday, I would proudly walk in with my father as if I were taking him to my own place.

We lived in that house for about five years and I had read most of the books in the kids’, young adult, and basic science sections. The librarian, still curt and limited on words, had started to smile at me. He would simply point at new books and smile at my brightened eyes. If I missed going to the library, the housekeeper lady would be worried and ask why I had missed my routine. When we were moving, the librarian gave an additional borrower’s card to my father’s account and asked me to use it. We did not move far off and my aunt lived near the library, so I went back there at least twice a week.

The next year, when I turned sixteen, the librarian asked me to get my documents and registered me for my own borrower’s account and penned my name on my first-ever library card. That day was pure joy for me and him. During my college days, I would go there if I wanted some quiet place to study. He’d simply give me reading room keys and let me be. I knew the library layout very well and sometimes helped other patrons, too. When they closed for maintenance activities, I would join them for housekeeping tasks. They both knew they just couldn’t get rid of me!

Then, life happened. I moved places and lost touch with that library. The last time I was in that neighborhood, I saw a new librarian and heard that the old man had retired and they have smart cards now.

I still love books, all thanks to my dad, that silent librarian, and the sweet housekeeper lady. I still have that card with the librarian’s handwriting!

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Thank You For Being A Friend (And An Amazing Uncle!)

, , , , , | Related | August 3, 2021

I don’t recall my exact age when this story happened, but I know that puberty came much earlier for me than my peers and that I was presumably in the very early stages of it at this point, as I’d just recently started to consider the idea of dating and romantic (or sexual) attraction.

This new attraction confused me a bit, mostly because I found myself as attracted, or perhaps more attracted, to other boys as I was to girls. I grew up in a more conservative area and so didn’t realize that there were people who weren’t heterosexual out there yet.

My parents had a close friend who visited semi-regularly. He would often take time to spend with me as well, to the point that he was almost like an uncle to me. One day, he was in the living room talking with me while my parents were busy doing something elsewhere in the house.

Friend: “So what about you? Do you have yourself a girlfriend or boyfriend yet?”

Me: “What did you say?”

Friend: “I asked if you were dating anyone.”

Me: “You said, ‘boyfriend’?”

Friend: “I said girlfriend or boyfriend, whichever you have.”

Me: “Boys can’t have boyfriends.”

Friend: “Sure, they can! Most boys prefer to date girls, but some boys end up preferring to date other boys, just like some girls end up dating other girls.”

Me: “Why do they date boys?”

Friend: “That’s just who they like to date. Everyone is different and likes different things, right? You like vanilla even though I know chocolate is much better. Same thing with dating — some just feel happier dating other boys instead of girls.”

Me: “How do they know?”

Friend: “What do you mean?”

Me: “How do they know they want to date other boys?”

Friend: “Oh, well, I’ve never been gay — that’s what they call boys that only date other boys — so I can’t really say for sure. I mean, can you explain how you knew you liked racing games more than other video games? It’s just something you figure out because it’s what you enjoy and like doing. Like, if you close your eyes right now and picture dating someone, are they a girl or a boy?”

This question was a little too on the nose for me. I panicked a little, not wanting to admit that I’d probably pick a boy, so I lied.

Me: “I don’t want to date anyone!”

Friend: “Oh, girls all have cooties, right? Well, just for the record, whenever you do decide to date someone, your parents and I would love to meet them, whether they were a girl or a boy.”

I remember thinking that day that he was staring at me like he saw through me and already knew I was lying. For years after that, whenever any topic about dating or sex came up, he seemed to make a point of saying, “girlfriend or boyfriend,” and generally making it clear that he would be supportive whichever I ended up dating. I never knew if he would have done that anyway or if he was doing it specifically because he suspected I was gay.

He was the first person to suggest to me that being attracted to the same sex could be okay, and his continuing to hint that he would be supportive of me even if I was gay was honestly a real help as I struggled to identify, and admit to myself, my own sexuality. It was good to know that at least one person would be my friend no matter what.

I ended up being somewhere between gay and bi; I’ve had relationships with both sexes but generally, I’m a bit more attracted to men. When I finally came out officially, the friend was right; my parents were fully supportive of me. As to their friend, his response basically boiled down to, “I knew it, and I’m glad you’re finally ready to come out to us.”

I don’t know how long it would have taken me to even realize that non-hetero people existed without him, or how difficult it would have been to come out if I didn’t know I had someone supporting me through it.

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You Break It, You Bought It

, , , , , | Right | August 3, 2021

I get a call and go through the opening spiel.

Me: “How can I assist you?

Caller: “Yes, I am calling about my client, [Mr. Client].”

He gives information and I pull up the file. This caller is authorized to call upon his behalf. I do the security checks and ask what I can do for him. 

Caller: “[Mr. Client] received a bill and I want to appeal it.”

Me: “Let me look into it. It seems he got a bill for destroying [equipment]. Are you appealing because he didn’t break it?”

Caller: “No, he did break it.”

Me: “Then why do you wish to appeal?”

Caller: “My client has no money, so he can’t pay this.”

Me: “Oh, do you wish to make a payment arrangement?”

Caller: “No, I want you to cancel the bill.”

Me: “May I ask why you want this bill cancelled?”

Caller: *Sighs* “Because he can’t pay it. I just told you!”

Me: “Yes, I heard that, but he destroyed expensive equipment. If he breaks something, we will send a bill for damages.”

Caller: “Yeah, but you are a multi-million-company, so you can easily pay that.”

Me: “Sir, I scrolled through your client’s file. Are you aware that this is the fifth time it happened? And that we have been sending bills for this ever since the third time it happened?”

Caller: “Yeah, so? You can pay it. My client has no money for it.”

Me: “Then I am afraid you and your client will have to look for a solution. And maybe you can advise your client to be more careful, because each time he breaks this, he will get a bill.”

Caller: “I object to that! I will file a complaint with the Ombudsman! And I will get a lawyer!”

Me: “That’s your choice, sir, as well as your right. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Caller: “I hope you are getting paid good money for this, you b****. How do you even sleep at night?!” *Hangs up*

My manager laughed loudly when he listened to this call.

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An Ugly Side Of Society Has Been Unmasked, Part 16

, , , , , , , | Right | August 3, 2021

It is mid-2021. I’m a manager of a cafe. My county has just passed another mandate requiring all customers entering restaurants to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. Previously, vaccinated customers could forego masks. Of course, on day one of the new mandate, in walks a maskless customer demanding to be served.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there’s a new mandate that’s just come into effect today. You can’t come in here without a mask.”

Customer: “Well, the sheriff’s not enforcing it.”

Me: “That’s fine, but it’s a health code violation, and if I don’t enforce it, we could get fined.”

Customer: “I’m fully vaccinated, and the sheriff’s not enforcing it, so you shouldn’t, either.”

Me: “Again, ma’am, it’s a health code violation. I don’t make the rules. If you won’t put on a mask, I’m going to need to ask you to leave.”

This goes back and forth for some time, before I completely lose my patience — and my filter.

Customer: “Well, the sheriff’s not enforcing it, so why should you care?”

Me: “Because I could get fined, you dumb b****.” 

She went red in the face before marching out of the cafe. I’m probably going to get in trouble with my boss for that comment, which I admit was crossing the line. In my defence, I’d been working in ninety-plus degree weather with a busted AC for two weeks, and she’d been the latest in a chain of customers putting up a fight over a rule I had no control over. I was just completely done at that point.

Related:
An Ugly Side Of Society Has Been Unmasked, Part 15
An Ugly Side Of Society Has Been Unmasked, Part 14
An Ugly Side Of Society Has Been Unmasked, Part 13
An Ugly Side Of Society Has Been Unmasked, Part 12
An Ugly Side Of Society Has Been Unmasked, Part 11

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