Anchorage, Alaska: A Thousand Thank-Yous

, , , , , , | Hopeless | December 14, 2018

Anchorage, Alaska experienced a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on the morning of November 30th, 2018. There was significant damage to infrastructure, roads, and buildings, but no collapses, and only a few older buildings have been deemed unsafe. No deaths reported! 72 hours after the major destruction of some of our main highways, they are back in commission, paved and striped. All the recovery efforts are simply amazing.

Stories have poured in thanking our amazing engineers and workers of the Alaska Department of Transportation getting our roads safe and fixed, the utility workers for going 24 hours a day to get us back on the grid and get us safe drinking water, and our first responders for a quick and calm emergency response.

But I’d like to take a minute to thank the gas station attendants who stayed at their jobs right after the quake to service the hundreds of panicked people filling up on gas before attempting the four- to five-hour trip home — a normal commute of 30 to 45 minutes — to Eagle River and the Mat-Su Valley. I would like to heartily thank the hundreds of grocery store clerks who stayed that day to keep the stores open, and who put in countless hours to clean up warehouses of glass and spills so that we could go in and get bread, water, and necessities — like deli sandwiches and any wine that survived the shake-up. And I want to thank the baristas who showed up at five am the day after, who held down the shaking syrup bottles through the many, many, many aftershocks and kept smiles on their faces. I just cannot even.

I would like to extend my enormous gratitude to the store clerks at our local True Value Hardware who swept most of the mess into a roped-off corner and opened early the next day because, “People are going to need to fix stuff up, and they need us open, not picture perfect.” At the same store, my husband witnessed a clerk scolding a fellow for trying to buy more than one set of water heater hoses saying, “Do you have multiple water heaters?” The fellow responded by shaking his head. The clerk asked, “Are you helping your neighbors?” The fellow sullenly shook his head in the negative again. The clerk said firmly, “Then I’ll only be selling you the one set; there are going to be a lot of people needing those today.”

To the cheerful diner waitress who kept our coffee topped up the day after this crazy event, to the artisans who forged ahead with a holiday craft show because people needed to have some cheer, to the musicians and actors who said that the show must go on… thank you a thousand times. THANK YOU.

Unfiltered Story #131653

, , | Unfiltered | December 8, 2018

(It’s 8pm, I’m working alone at the Reference Desk and am in the middle of assisting patron #1 -via phone- who has multiple, complex questions. Patron #2, who had been quietly working at a nearby computer for several hours, now needs help with printing.)

Patron #2: Hey! You!

Me: (Not realizing that Patron #2 is addressing me, I keep talking to Patron #1) I tried using [Search Term XYZ] but it didn’t….

Patron #2: Hey, yooou! Are you going to help me with printing or not? This is ridiculous, not getting help when I need it!

Me: (covers mouthpiece) I’m sorry, I’m helping another patron on the phone, I will come help you as soon as I can.

Patron #2: I need help printing NOW! I’m going to be late catching my bus!! This is the second time today I’ve needed help and haven’t been able to get it! This is ridiculous!

Me: I can’t help you right at this moment, because I am helping another patron, but please go ask the checkout desk for help, and they will be able to send someone down.

Patron #2: FINE!  (He glares at me, and walks the 50 feet to the checkout desk, and comes back alone, and yells at the top of his lungs back towards the checkout desk) HEY! YOU BETTER HURRY UP! I’M GOING TO BE LATE FOR MY BUS!  *He turns to look directly at me, and he glares at me again. Less than 30 seconds later someone was there to help, and it took about another 30 seconds to resolve the problem and get Patron #2 his printouts. I finished helping Patron #1 just as Patron #2 was walking out of the library. I went up to the checkout desk to vent, and see if Patron #2 had been rude to them as well. Suddenly…)

Patron #2: *stomping back into the library* HEY! Are you talking about me??

Me:  Yes, because your behavior was rude, demanding, and uncalled for! I was helping another patron on the phone and I could not help you until I was done.

Patron #2:  Yeah, I had to go get help like you suggested! But it should have been you to help me because it’s your area!

Me: I could not stop helping the other patron, as they asked for help first and I did not know how long fixing your problem would take. Because you were in a hurry, I gave an alternative suggestion that you accepted and got the help you needed.

Patron #2: But it’s YOUR area! It’s ridiculous that you couldn’t help me!!

Me: Ok, what do you think should I have done instead? Hang up on the other patron?

Patron #2: (silent for a minute) I’m just a simple student that needed help, but I guess I will know better next time! (Turns to leave)

Me: If you are in such a hurry, why did you take the time to come back in to yell at me?  (Patron #2 pauses, looks back over his shoulder, glares at me again, and leaves. I walk back to the reference desk, and noticed that a USB drive was plugged into the computer Patron #2 had been using. Lost USB drives are common, and we try to find out who they belong to and get it back to the owner. I pull it, note the name, and Patron #3 sits at the same computer Patron #2 was using.  Next thing I know…. )

Patron #2 (addressing patron #3): Hey, I’m missing a USB drive, have you seen it? (They begin to look, I am sorely tempted to not say anything, but…)

Me (holding up the USB drive and using a neutral tone): Is this what you’re looking for?

Patron #2 (looking barely embarrassed): Uh, yes. Uhm, I’m sorry about my behavior. I’ve been here since 10am and I’m really tired, and um I should know better than to take my frustrations out on other people.

Me: Appreciated.  (Patron #2 starts to leave, again.)

Patron #3: YOU’RE FORGIVEN!!

Unfiltered Story #127614

, , | Unfiltered | November 24, 2018

While working on a cable television issue with this customer, I discover she has a poor signal that a field technician would be required to fix. It’s very busy at this time of year, so we’re 3 days out. After providing her the times available, she responds with “Well who’s gonna watch my kids?!” Apparently she forgot that SHE was the parent, not the TV.

Unfiltered Story #127585

, , | Unfiltered | November 23, 2018

Customer calls in having trouble ordering a new movie on Video On Demand for the children she’s watching at her daycare. When it’s revealed that her account balance is preventing her from ordering more, I inquired as to which movie she was watching as there may be another option that she may be able to use. She was trying to order “American Reunion” for children to watch.

Unfiltered Story #124472

, , , | Unfiltered | October 24, 2018

(I worked as an expediter at a famous chain restaurant. Guests can request fries to be salt-free if they have an allergy.)

Server: Hey I need you guys to make this pound of fries no-salt. She says she has allergies.

Me: Can you find out what her allergy is?

(Server leaves then returns smirking)

Server: She says the doctor disgnosed her with SEASONAL allergies. So no seasoning on any of her food.

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