In Great Loss There Can Be Great Kindness

, , , , , | Hopeless | December 5, 2018

(Three weeks after the sudden loss of my daughter, I decide it’s time to take off the plastic hospital bracelet that matched hers, and have it replaced with an engraved bracelet. I find a store that carries jewelry, keepsakes, photo albums, dishware, awards, meaningful gifts, etc., that can all be engraved or personalized. I find a very nice silver bracelet and take it up to the counter to ask about having it engraved. There are two women, and the older one gestures to the younger one to help me while she’s with another customer. The younger woman comes over to me.)

Woman: *brightly* “Hi. How are you? What can I do for you today?”

Me: “Hi. I was hoping to get this bracelet engraved, and I’m wondering if there’s a character limit here.”

(The young woman turns to her coworker, and the coworker hands her a catalogue inventory book. The woman turns back to me.)

Woman: *flipping through book* “Thank you so much for your patience. Today is my first day. Okay, what did you want to have put on it?”

Me: “[Daughter’s Full Name], and I was wondering if I’d be able to get a couple of dates on the charm?”

(In addition to the main part of the bracelet, there is a small, heart-shaped charm near the clasp.)

Woman: “Of course!” *pulling out an order form and starts writing* “Okay, so, it was [Daughter’s Full Name]. And then on the charm…”

Me: *gives daughter’s birthdate*

Woman: *writing, pause* “You said a couple. Was there another date?”

Me: *deep breath* “Yes. To [date a few months later].”

(The young woman stops. She looks at me. I can feel my eyes starting to water.)

Woman: *quietly* “Was this your baby?”

(I nod, struggling to hold back tears. She steps forward and wraps her arms around me, giving me a warm hug.)

Woman: *stepping back* “My sister lost her baby. It’s been fourteen years; it’s still hard. But you will get through this.”

(I pulled myself together, and we finished placing the order and agreed to pick up in about an hour. When I returned, the young woman recognized me as I walked in and had everything ready by the time I got to the counter. Everything looked absolutely beautiful. It may have been her first day, but I think she will do very well in this particular shop. Her warmth and kindness gives me hope.)

About As Useful As Some Passed Gas

, , , , , | Working | November 8, 2018

(We have one coworker at the theater who is a deadweight. He always comes in late and does very little work. I’m in the lobby when I notice one of the auditoriums is letting out.)

Me: *to the manager* “Hey, I’m going to go clean the auditorium.”

Manager: “Okay, then. Hey, [Coworker]! You go in and help him.

Me: *under my breath* “G**d*** it!”

(We both go into the auditorium, and instead of picking up trash or sweeping, my coworker just follows me around making farting noises.)

Coworker: *makes a farting sound* “Ew, [My Name]! You’re nasty.”

Me: “Really? You’re doing this? How old are you? Twenty or ten?”

Coworker: “What are you talking about? I’m not doing anything.” *makes another farting sound* “Dude! What did you eat?”

Me: *sigh*

(This goes on the entire time. I finally get done with the auditorium, and then I go up to the manager.)

Me: “The next time you want to send [Coworker] to help me clean auditoriums, please do me a favor and don’t.”

(He eventually left to work at a grocery store around the corner. I heard he only lasted a couple of months.)

The Hardest Workout Is Getting A Refund

, , , , , | Working | November 4, 2018

(I move back to my hometown. Wanting to get into something new, and in an effort to try to boost my self esteem a little, I decide to join a gym. I go to the local gym just a mile away and end up talking to one of their trainers. He’s a very nice guy, and obviously knows what he’s doing. I’m 19 and shy and naive, and we end up discussing a package plan with personal training sessions. Not really knowing how to say no to him, I explain that I don’t have the money for the down payment — about $200 — about half the cost of the package. The trainer explains that we can work out a slightly different plan, with cheaper payments, more often. I end up agreeing, and pay just less than a third of the total cost of the package. After all, I want to get in shape and feel better about myself, and having no idea where to start, I think that maybe he’s right, and this is a good way to go about it. I sign a contract, which states that I have a window of three days if I decide not to go through with it, and I can get a full refund, no questions asked. This is also discussed with the trainer and manager before I leave. However, the next day, my car suddenly breaks down. Now I won’t have the money to make any future payments, and I will just barely have the money to get my car fixed… if I don’t eat until my next payday. So, three days since I signed up, I go back in to explain the situation, just as they open.)

Manager: “[My Name]! Great to see you! How are you?”

Me: “Not so great. I’ve run into a couple of issues, and I won’t be able to afford the plan that I signed up for. My car broke down yesterday, and I need to fix it. I’m so sorry, and I really wanted to be able to do this, but I just can’t afford it.”

Manager: *suddenly looking a bit on edge* “What?! But you’ve already paid for half of it!”

Me: “No, I’ve paid for about a third of it. But I was hoping to find out how much it would cost for just a membership, with no trainer or special perks or anything.”

Manager: “Well, a basic membership is about $145, but you should really talk to [Trainer] about this.”

Me: *disappointed because I still can’t afford the membership* “Unfortunately, he told me that he wouldn’t be in this morning. And I’m sorry to say, I still can’t afford a membership here at this time. Can I request a refund?

Manager: *sputtering* “B-but, you’ve already paid! This is for your health! Isn’t that important?”

Me: “Yes, it is, but I also need to be able to eat for the next couple weeks. I need to pay rent and fix my car. This is the newest cost I’ve added to my life, but unfortunately, I made a mistake and cannot hold up my end of the bargain. I’d like to ask for my money back. As discussed before I left the other day, I had three days to change my mind.”

Manager: *with a facial expression that clearly states that she does not plan to refund me* “I’ll have to get the district manager involved. He won’t be in until [two days from now, clearly out of the three-day window]. But I don’t understand; you’ve already paid half! Just one more payment, and you’ll be golden!”

Me: “Ma’am, again. I only paid about a third of the cost. You approved it. And I won’t be able to make any future payments at this time.” *pulls out my copy of the contract* “Here, it states that I have three days to change my mind. Today is the third day. If you cannot do the refund until the district manager gets in, then I’d like something that explains that I requested a refund within the approved window. This also states how much I have paid so far. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but my circumstances have changed, and I have not even been able to come in and use the gym. But my request is within the contract’s guidelines. It has been less than 72 hours since I signed this.”

Manager: *looking kind of angry* “Nobody ever reads the contract! But fine. I’ll give you your refund.”

Me: *ignoring her hostile tone* “Thank you. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience.”

(I got the refund; however, it took three days to clear back onto my card. After this experience, I decided that if I ever wanted to join a gym again, it would NOT be this one.)

Unfiltered Story #125631

, , , | Unfiltered | October 31, 2018

(In Atlanta, there is an extremely popular and famous haunted house. The lines can easily get into four or five hours long, not to mention that this sort of place attracts every type of person. I used to work for it and know mostly everyone who works on the floor and security as they all are players at a LARP I attend. I am going on the night before Halloween and it is absolutely packed. My husband and I decide to wait in line despite getting discounted tickets to skip the line, since there are exhibits and cool things to look at. Please note that we are both a tad overweight and I, the wife, have very short hair and a large bruise and bloody eyebrow, as I just got done with an sparring weekend in a full-contact event. Basically, I got slammed in the face. With that, I look a bit ugly or possibly like a guy. Behind us in the line the entire time, there is a group of sorority sisters or high school girls being whiny the entire time.)

Husband: “Can I get a kiss?”

(I’m very against PDAs, so I hesitate and agree. My husband lightly pecks me on the cheek and smiles. He asks to hold my hand and we stand there looking at some of the exhibits. Shortly after, while he holds my hand, a feel a painful punch on my back shoulder. I winch and turn around.)

Bitchy girl 1: Can you fatasses not do that please? I’m going to vomit.

Bitchy girl 2: Yeah seriously, we can here to be scared on purpose.

Bitchy girl 3: Yeah please just turn around too. You look like you get beat for fun.

At this point, I’m in tears. I am extremely ashamed of my somewhat male face and my husband knows it. He continues to hold my hand tight and we just turn around. About five minutes later, one of the girls pulls aside a security officer and says that we are trying to make out and have sex in line. The officer, one the best makeup artists for the LARP and an ex-marine, knows me by looks because he was there when I hurt my face.

Security Officer: Ma’am, sir, please come with me.

At this point, the bitches start laughing and pointing, but we know what is up. Our friend escorts us up front, but first we stop by the “gatekeeper” who separates out the line into groups so it is easier to get through the house. He’s another guy from the LARP, but doesn’t look it all since he is built and very intimidating.

Security Officer: Seems to be three sorority sisters, all wearing (local college) sweatshirts. Can you make sure if they do anything, you kick them out or at least send them back in the line? One of them punched (my name).

Gatekeeper: Oh, I’ve got a better idea. Can (Husband’s name) and (my name) stay with me for a moment?

My husband and I look at each other and nod. The security officer sighs and says sure, why not.

About twenty minutes of talking with our friend, the girls show up. They are laughing their asses off at us at this point and call me all sorts of vulgar things. They seem to think we are being held to be arrested or something similar. Our friend puts his arm across the hallway and asks them to stop.

Gatekeeper: Ladies, it seems our cameras caught you hitting this poor girl here. You have two options. You can leave immediately or I can call (Security Officer) over and he can escort you to the local police station to explain why you hit a girl in public.

All of them starting screaming and calling me obscenities. I look down and try not to cry, but at this point, two more security officers come by and escort them out of line. At this point, I’m about to just leave, but one of the girls from the ticket booth, another from our LARP, stops by.

Ticket Booth Girl: God, that felt good to see. Here (my name), sorry for the trouble. (Gatekeeper’s name), can you make sure they’re in the next group in?

She handed us two free tickets for Halloween and just asked me to come by after the haunted house to explain the situation to the head security officer.

I usually just let bullies be, but seeing a lot of friends, some of which I had only met once or twice, help out really helped me keep faith in people. At the end of the house, we found the girls in a police car after having kicked the security officer and trying to run. All of them were crying and call my husband and I some of the worst things. I didn’t press charges for the assault since they were so young, but I still hope they learned something.

Our Deepest Condolences

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 29, 2018

I have been a part of the Not Always Right community for a few years now. This past year, three of my submitted stories have been published: “With A Mother Like That, Pain Tolerance Is Through The Roof,” “Already Has A Big Baby To Look After,” and “Not The Formula For A Successful Doctor.” For those that aren’t familiar, I went into labor at 29 weeks, and gave birth to a beautiful little girl.

My daughter spent 70 days in the NICU. She was released to come home mid-September, with no extra care other than a multivitamin. She was happy, healthy, and so fiercely loved.

After a month of being home, I woke up at about six in the morning with a sinking feeling. I immediately checked on her in her crib, and she was gasping, struggling to breathe. I woke up my partner, and we were going to rush her to the urgent care down the road. As I was getting in the car with her, she stopped breathing completely and went limp. Her father began performing CPR as the NICU had taught us. I called 911.

A firetruck and couple of cops arrived, and paramedics got out and took over. My partner and I were pulled away and gave statements. After a few minutes, an ambulance showed up, and my baby was loaded in and taken away. One of the paramedics offered me a ride to the hospital, and I took it.

When I arrived at the same hospital where she was born, they had managed to restart her heart. They allowed me to watch and touch her while they hooked her up to machinery, and another nurse kept her breathing with a squeeze bag.

They flew my daughter to Children’s Health Care, one of the best hospitals in the nation; think Ronald McDonald house.

My partner picked me up from the local hospital, and we drove an hour to see her at Children’s. We waited for three hours before a couple of doctors pulled us away into a private room.

They told us that she was stable; however, CPR had been performed for more than 20 minutes before she came back. Without oxygen to the brain for three or four minutes, brain cells begin to die and swell. Our daughter was unresponsive, and the doctor predicted that her heart would stop again, and told us that the merciful thing would be to refuse resuscitation. He gave it a day, maybe hours. We asked for resuscitation, anyway; if there was any chance at all, we’d take it.

My daughter made it through the day, and even through the night. Her heart was beating, but she was on max medication, and a ventilator was breathing for her. She was still unresponsive, but the nurses continued to take care of her — and us. We spent the night on the couch in her room. The nurses were absolutely wonderful.

The next morning, the doctor sat down with us and stated that he believed our 14-week-old baby’s brain was non-functional; she was brain dead.

Later that afternoon, he performed what is called a brain dead test, basically dotting Is and crossing Ts on paperwork. While still supplying oxygen, they turned off the ventilator to watch for a breath; her brain should have sent this signal. Ten minutes went by. She didn’t breathe.

At this point, she couldn’t tolerate the test, and they tried to turn the ventilator back on. Her vitals were too out of whack.

Three months after she entered this world so suddenly, she passed away peacefully in our arms.

We are so thankful to every nurse and paramedic, and everyone that helped to take care of our little girl — and us — through this impossible ordeal. These people are angels sent from heaven. My baby girl will never be forgotten.

We love you, River Madeline. You will always be in our hearts.

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