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It’s Not Just The Thermos Providing The Warmth

, , , , , | Right | December 3, 2022

My parents have decided to have a yard sale to downsize in preparation for some house renovations, and I’ve popped over to help out. Amongst the stuff they’re trying to get rid of is a bunch of my old stuff from when I was a kid, including a Thermos themed around a popular and long-running cartoon franchise.

A couple of hours in, a woman comes by with her daughter who looks to be about six years old or so. The girl immediately zeros in on the Thermos and picks it up.

Girl: “Mom! Mom! Can I please get the [Cartoon] cup?! Please?!”

Woman: “No, we really need clothes right now, [Girl]. I’m sorry.”

The girl puts it back but pouts for a while until she gets distracted by our dog.

Soon enough, the woman eventually comes up with nothing but a bunch of clothes to buy from us. While she’s trying to figure out how she’s paying, my dad quietly slips the Thermos into the bag we’ve folded the clothes into — getting a nodding approval from the mom! — and the two of them head out.

Not even two minutes later, the girl sprints back, overjoyed, and shouts at the very top of her lungs:

Girl: “THANK YOU FOR THE [CARTOON] CUP! PLEASE HAVE A VERY NICE DAY!”

Easily the cutest customer we had all day.

When You’ve Got Bagging In The Bag

, , , , , | Right | December 2, 2022

My first official job was at a grocery store, bagging groceries. I worked the job for about a year and a half, and after that amount of time, you get really good at bagging groceries and you never forget how, kind of like riding a bike.

Fast forward twenty-five years. I’m at the local grocery store I usually visit. This grocery store chain is one where you bag your own groceries. I’m very particular with how I place my items on the belt for the cashier to ring things up; this way, the items come down the next belt so I can easily bag my groceries.

I finish unloading my groceries on the first belt, and the cashier has been ringing things up at the same time, so there’s a small pile of groceries (cans, boxed goods, and such) building up at the end of the other belt.

I make my way to the end so I can start bagging groceries. Across from me is the previous customer. She’s still slowly working on bagging up her groceries and standing next to her is her daughter who looks to be about five or six years old.

I line up a couple of empty paper bags and open up the plastic bag next to me for frozen items that will be coming down the belt soon. I start grabbing cans and boxes and whipping them into the bag with my right hand and catching them with my left and stacking.

After about ten seconds, I’ve got my first bag filled and moved into my cart, so I start on the second bag.

Small Girl: “Wow! Mom, look at him go! You should race him.”

Her mom laughs.

Mom: “I don’t think I’d do very well against him; he’s pretty fast at it.”

I look up from what I am doing and give the girl a smile.

Me: “I don’t think it would be fair. I worked bagging groceries for my first job, and I got really good at it.”

Small Girl: “I guess. But you’re so much faster than Mom. She’s slow with bagging. Can you bag our stuff when you’re done with yours?”

Mom: *Speaking to her daughter* “Slow and steady works for me, and we’re almost done. He’s got his own groceries to bag and doesn’t need us getting in his way to slow him down.”

Small Girl: “But, he’s almost done bagging and he has more groceries than us!”

I finish up bagging my groceries, pay, and wave to the small girl as I’m leaving. The mom and her kid are putting the last few items in their cart as I walk by. As I’m walking away, I hear the small girl talking to her mom.

Small Girl: “He beat you and you even started first! You need to get a job bagging groceries!”

A Young Dad Is Better Than Nothing!

, , | Related | November 28, 2022

Several years ago, I dated an older lady who I had met doing a project together in one of my college classes. She had a lovely and charming eight-year-old daughter whose smile would make anyone’s heart melt.

I particularly felt sorry for her because she never got to meet her dad, who is serving a forty-to-life sentence as a habitual felon. This loss in her life definitely would show when she would do things like ask me to drop her off and pick her up at school or make a point of standing next to me and holding my hand at gatherings where other children were present with their parents. Other times, while answering the phone, she’d say, “No, I think that was my dad who called you. I’ll go get him,” and then run and hand me the phone.

Despite knowing zero about parenting or mentoring, I did my best to bond with her by playing her silly little games with her, letting her come along with me when I’d go hang out with friends, and listening to her yammer about her girly online games even though I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about.

Then, one day, I was in a bookstore getting some items rung up, and I asked the cashier if she could pull up my discount membership account since I had misplaced my card. She asked for a driver’s license for verification. As she was examining my information, the little girl pranced up to the counter and grabbed my hand.

Girl: *Proudly* “He’s my dad!”

I smiled warmly at her… while I felt my face turn four shades of red as the cashier looked back at my driver’s license again and got a seriously uncomfortable look on her face.

When we got outside, I said to [Girl]”

Me: “Here, listen. Why don’t we say I’m your big brother when we’re out in public?”

Girl: “But you’re a grown-up!”

Me: “Well… some kids do have big brothers or sisters who are grown-ups. The problem is that I’m twenty-one years old and you are eight, and that’s… well… Let’s say it’s going to have people wondering a lot of questions about me that I’d prefer they didn’t!”

“I’m Your Mother. And I Can Do Whatever The [Bleep] I Want.”

, , , , | Related | November 26, 2022

My seven-year-old and I have an outing over the weekend to our local farmer’s market, after which he’s SUPER-wired. To help him burn off some of that excess energy, we walk over to our local comic store, which has a pretty big kids’ section. I don’t really know how I expect this to go, since he’s only familiar with a couple of characters and I don’t know what will catch his eye. (He’s also a very advanced reader for his age.)

He ends up bouncing all over the place, looking at all kinds of random stuff and asking if we could get it, and being a good sport when I have to say no, either because of weight, price, or content. This particular exchange, however, stands out as extra funny.

Son: “Can we get this?”

He shows me an omnibus collection of “The Boys” — a hyper-violent hard-R-rated comic.

Me: “No, that’s for grown-ups.”

Son: “Oh. Does it have bad words in it, like ‘stupid’ and ‘shut up’?”

Me: *Pauses* “Yes. Yes, it does.”

He put down the book and moved on. In the end, he ended up picking a Lego Batman book.

A Little Slice Of Doing The Right Thing

, , , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: MelonGodVEVO | November 23, 2022

I work for a pizza place. I’ve been delivering for about three weeks now, and tips are either really bad or pretty good.

I go to the door for a delivery and a kid answers; his mom is in the back. I hand him the order: a personal pizza.

Me: “Hi. Your total is [total].”

I’m pretty sure he is just happy to pay for something because, without hesitation, he hands me a $100 bill, claps, and runs to his mom to tell her he paid.

I don’t notice it is a hundred and think it is ten, so I walk back to my car. Then, I see that the bill he gave me has that blue line and gold 100 on it. I get really happy, but I realize that I’d feel guilty if I left.

I go back and knock on the door. The mom answers and looks really confused. I show her the bill.

Me: “Your little boy gave me this.”

Mom: “[Boy], come here, please.” *To the boy* “Where did you get this?”

Boy: “I got it from your purse!”

Mom: *To me* “I’m so glad you brought this back; it was supposed to be for our groceries this week.”

In the end, I got a $3 tip, but I didn’t mind since I’d just saved a family from going hungry for a couple of days.