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A Policy Against Time Travel

, , , , , | Right | August 30, 2020

I work in the call centre for a car insurance company that also offers roadside assistance.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Car Insurance Company]; you’re speaking with [My Name].”

Customer: “Oh, hi, I’m just wondering why you guys send out this promotion that ends on the twenty-ninth of September when it’s the second of October.”

Me: “Well, what most likely happened is we sent it out to you before the end date and you’re only just reading it now.”

Customer: “Ah, well, that would make sense. I got the letter a month ago.”

Further along, I’m updating his contact details.

Me: “Sir, do you have a mobile phone number that I could put into our system?”

Customer: “No, sorry, I only use my mobile in case I break down and don’t like to give it out.”

Me: “Well, sir, we are actually the roadside assistance company that you use, and if you call us and we need to call you back, we need your mobile number.”

Customer: “Oh, right. It’s [number].”

Later on, in the same call, I’m doing an insurance quote for him.

Me: “I understand that you want the policy to start at the end of November, but unfortunately, we can only do a quote for insurance a month in advance, so this is going to be a guide only.”

Customer: “That’s fine. I understand.”

We get to the end of the quote and he’s happy with the price.

Me: “Now, would you like me to give you a call at the end of October so we can go ahead with this policy?”

Customer: “Wow, that’s a bit far in advance, isn’t it?”

Me: “Your original reason for calling was to take out the insurance policy two months in advance and this is only one month in advance.”

Customer: “Oh, all right, then. That’s fine. Call me on my mobile.”

I facepalmed.

Pride, Painfulness, Cramping, And Soreness!

, , , , , | Learning | August 8, 2020

I teach karate. While there are younger students in my group, today, the class consists of students around seven years old. Seeing an opportunity for a deeper talk on our values, I gather them together. Our values are pride, patience, courtesy, and spirit.

Me: “So, what’s our first value?”

Student #1: “Pride!”

Me: “Yes, exactly! We need to have pride in what we do. This means we always do our best, no matter what. Can you tell me what our second value is?”

None of them can.

Me: “Okay, it starts with a P. P, p…”

After a moment of deep thought, one of them pipes up at last.

Student #2: “PAINFULNESS!”

Tip Your Delivery Guy A Five

, , , , , | Right | July 31, 2020

I am picking up something from a private address where the door is answered by a boy of about six years old.

Boy: *Holding up his hand* “High-five!”

I gave him a high-five. While I was waiting, a pizza delivery driver also arrived. The boy offered to hold the bottle of drink in his hand so he’d have a spare hand with which to high-five him.

The mother told me that her daughter used to be even fonder of people who came to the door and would regularly ask if she could come home with them and would cry when they left.


This story is included in our Feel-Good roundup for July 2020!

Read the next Feel-Good Story here!

Read the July 2020 Feel-Good roundup!

Literally Choosing His Poison

, , , , , | Right | July 31, 2020

I deliver chemical supplies. An old man glances into my van as I’m unloading on the street.

Old Man: “You’ve got poison in there.”

Me: “Some of our products are, yes.”

Old Man: “Can you give me some? I’ve got some people who I want to put it in their food.”

Me: “Give me your name and I’ll make sure no one takes an order from you.”

Singular “They” Traces Back To The 1300s, As It Happens…

, , , , , , , , | Related | July 18, 2020

My mother was diagnosed late in life with Aspergers Syndrome. One day, I notice she has posted a Facebook comment under some Christian article about the gender-neutral pronoun “they/their.” She states that “they” can only be used as a plural, and that if “he” or “she” don’t fit, there is always “it”.

I respectfully reply that, while they may have been used as plural pronouns in the past, language evolves and you most definitely can’t refer to anyone as “it”. I also comment that for the sake of tolerance and acceptance, “they/their” as gender-neutral pronouns should be embraced. 

She doesn’t respond, so later that day I ring her to ask if she really feels like calling people “it” is appropriate and to tell her that I actually think it’s pretty mean. I tell her that using respectful language won’t hurt her. She says something like, “And I suppose if I invite a stranger into my house and they slit my throat, that won’t hurt me, either?” — weird, I know! — and she hangs up on me. I try to call back a few times but she refuses my calls. 

I carefully craft an email to her explaining how I feel about what she said. I say that I understand that it’s difficult for her generation — she’s nearly seventy — to accept these societal changes, but it’s important that she does. I also reiterate that language evolves, even including a link to words that have changed meaning over time. I don’t hear back. 

A few days later, she turns up on my doorstep, hands me back my spare house key, tells me that she’s no longer my mother, and walks away. I yell after her to try to see my side but she keeps walking. When I call out, “What about the girls?” referring to my children, her granddaughters, she pauses, turns, and says, “Your girls, your problem!” I’m understandably upset. 

The next day she deletes me, my husband, and my mother-in-law from Facebook. 

I call my sister and my aunty — my mum’s sister — and explain the situation. They are also upset and both promise to talk to her about it. I ask them not to as I don’t want my issue to become their problem.

A few days later, I decide that I’ll be the bigger person for the sake of family and go to visit her with flowers. Fortunately, she’s out in the front of her house when I arrive; I was seriously concerned that she’d slam the door in my face. I give her the flowers and say I am sorry that I upset her and I just want to listen and not talk. She says she felt bullied by me and that her argument was about language and not transphobia. Rather than argue, I just make small talk until she feels better and promises to friend me and my family on Facebook again. 

I can’t say everything is back to normal. I haven’t given her my spare house key back and I won’t ask her to babysit my children again, but at least we can have family functions without any animosity. Fortunately, my mother-in-law is a loving mother to me and an amazing grandmother to my kids so they aren’t missing out too much not having a close relationship with my mother, but it’s still sad that rather than have a reasonable discussion, her first reaction was to cut us out of her life.