The Real Superheroes

, , , , , , | Hopeless | July 17, 2019

(I am cashiering at my store on an early Friday morning, the line is ridiculously long, and I only have one other cashier beside me. There isn’t another manager currently in the store besides the stockroom manager; I rarely bother him because I know there is a lot going on it the stockroom. I end up checking out a customer with a small child, and the interaction with him makes my early day completely worth it.) 

Me: “Hi, how are y’all today?” 

(The mother lets her young boy answer.) 

Child: “We are great! My favorite superhero is Spider-Man!” 

Me: “Really?! That’s my favorite too! I would love to shoot webs and swing through the city!” 

(As I continue to ring up their items, he continues to talk to me.) 

Child: “I also like Captain America and Iron Man!” 

Me: “They are awesome! I love Captain America’s shield! And Iron Man’s armor!” 

Child: “I want to be a superhero when I grow up!” 

Me: “You already are, kid; don’t ever forget that.” 

(His mom started tearing up and told me her husband had recently passed and he had always said the same thing to their child. She ended up hugging me and the little boy followed her and hugged me, too. I now see them every couple of weeks and try to keep superhero stickers on me to give to the little boy.)

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When Being Chatty Saves People

, , , , | Hopeless | July 15, 2019

(I’m walking to the library with my four-year-old. She’s skipping alongside me, chattering happily, waving frantically, and yelling, “HI!” at everyone we pass and every car that goes past. Nothing unusual. About a block from the library, she waves and says, “Hi!” into what I think is just an empty laneway, but as we step forward, I realise there’s an elderly man standing there in his pajamas, in the middle of the lane, with a small dog running in circles around his feet.)

Man: “Why, hello, young lady! Out for a walk, are we?”

Daughter: “Yep! We’re going to the library!”

(The old man looks confusedly at us for a moment. At first, I think it’s because my daughter’s speech impediment means she pronounces it as, “yiberry,” but as we pause, I realise that he has no shoes on and his pajama pants are covered in mud. I can also see that his feet are bleeding in a few places, like he’s been stepping on prickles. It’s INCREDIBLY cold today and I finally realise how cold he must be, and his dog isn’t on a lead but seems to be getting more and more worked up.)

Me: “Yep, off to the library. Where are you off to today, mate?”

Man: “Ah… I’m a bit late for work! I work down at the ice works but, well, bit embarrassing but I seem to have gotten turned around.”

(The ice works in our town is now a historical site. It hasn’t been operational in almost forty years at this point.)

Me: “Happens to the best of us, mate. I know the way, though; how about you come with us?”

(After a bit of convincing and my daughter excitedly yelling about her new friend coming along, I convince him to come out onto the footpath and stand on the grass instead of the asphalt. Trying to give him my jacket doesn’t work — he staunchly refuses to take “a young lass’s jacket on a cold day” — and he is getting more agitated but never angry or violent. I stand there wondering what the heck to do next when suddenly a car screeches to a stop at the kerb. A middle-aged man leaps out of the car and hurtles towards us.)

Younger Man: “DAD! Dad, Jesus Christ, I’ve been looking for you everywhere! What the h*** are you doing?”

(The guy honestly looks like he’s about to cry, as does his dad, who seems even more confused at this point.)

Older Man: “No time to play right now, [Younger Man]. I’m late for work, mate. I gotta go.”

(The younger guy tries for a few minutes to convince his dad to get in the car, to no avail, when my daughter pipes up from behind us.)

Daughter: “Excuse me! Maybe it’s warm in the car, and you can go home and get your shoes for work!” 

(The older man seemed to accept this, after checking his feet and realising he did, indeed, have no shoes on. After the older guy and his dog were safely stowed away, his son informed me that they live CLEAR across town, and the guy had been missing for FIVE HOURS in the freezing cold. His little dog had seen him take off and obviously decided that his human shouldn’t go alone, and they’d been at large for most of the day. The younger man thanked me profusely, even though I barely did anything, and I’ve never been so thankful that my daughter wants to talk to everyone she meets.)

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The World Can Transform Into A Better Place

, , , , , | Hopeless | July 7, 2019

I am pumping gas one day with my two little boys in the car and a yellow and black car pulls up behind us. My younger son immediately shouts with happiness that Bumblebee is behind us, in car mode. As I finish pumping gas, he asks if he can say hi to his favorite Transformer.

When I ask the owner if it would be okay if my son says hi, he smiles and agrees as he’s laughing. My four-year-old is shaking with happiness as he says hi to the car and then skips back to ours.

I thank the guy. My older son, who’s stayed silent for most of this, says the world isn’t all bad.

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Mother Has Cut The Cord

, , , | Right | June 21, 2019

(The vacuum cord at our bookstore only reaches halfway across the floor, so I have appropriated a giant, bright green extension cord from the supply closet. The extension cord has gotten kicked around a bit and is sticking out from behind my desk area. I hear a noise and turn around to find a very, very small child trying to pick up the extension cord, which is about the same size as he is. I’m sure he won’t be able to actually move it, but I’m slightly concerned he’ll get dirt all over his clothes, so I turn to him and say:)

Me: *cheerfully* “I don’t think that extension cord looks very fun to play with, dude.”

(His mother turns around, stifles a laugh, and says:)

Mother: “He thinks it must belong to him because it’s the same color as his shirt.”

(He gave up and toddled off a few seconds later. Most adorable supply thief ever.)

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Daddy’s Girl

, , , , , | Right | June 15, 2019

(I am restocking the department after a busy weekend when a very cute little girl taps me on the leg.)

Little Girl: “Excuse me, sir?”

Me: “Oh, hello.”

Little Girl: “I’ve lost my Daddy.”

Me: “Okay, wait here. What’s your Daddy’s name?”

(She tells me her father’s name and I’m about to contact my colleagues to see if they can locate the father. However, before they do, a woman who is close by the whole time and looks to be the little girl’s mother comes up to us.)

Mum: “What are you doing bothering this man, sweetie? You’re not lost; I was right next to you!”

Little Girl: “Yeah, but I wanted Daddy!”

(I laughed while the mother sighed in exasperation.)

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