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A Textbook Case Of Kindness

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | July 3, 2018

I am a 19-year-old female working part-time at a 24-hour fast food restaurant while at university. During my semester break, I decide to take on extra shifts as I have the time. I am also essentially broke, as for two subjects in my upcoming semester I am required to have latest edition textbooks. Unable to go for secondhand, I was forced to pay full price for both, which left me with barely enough for my next meal. Therefore, I agree to take on a Saturday late shift from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am, then another the next day from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, ensuring I get paid overtime.

What I forgot, however, is that the Saturday late shift is by far the worst of them all. Over the eight hours, we deal with more bottom-of-the-barrel, deadbeat customers than I have ever dealt with in a whole year of working there. Long story short, we endure lewd, misogynistic comments from drunk men old enough to be our fathers, multiple women stoned out of their minds who holler, “WHY IS THE CAFE AREA NOT OPEN?” before hurling their handbags at us, and I spend forty minutes scraping pickles and cheese slices off the ceiling and heading to my break half an hour late. That is just part of what I deal with on this shift.

Every rush gets longer and busier to the point where, in my last hour, we have a never-ending angry mob chanting for their food like a cult.

To top it off, this is one of the hottest nights on record, and our air-conditioning is broken; we have nothing but a tiny fan in the corner that barely reaches the closest register. I am sweating from under my cap, constantly fanning myself with my hands, and eagerly counting down the last fifteen minutes.

It is while I am desperately trying to match orders to receipts that I feel a tap on my shoulder from a coworker. She points to a young female customer, and says she wants to talk to me. I do not recognise the customer; however, she appears to be one or two years older than me, dressed for a night out in the city, and very clearly sober. Given my past experiences, I still immediately assume the worst and approach the register timidly, prepared for a berating.

However, to my surprise, the girl gives me a soft smile. She says that she has been watching me struggle with the immense amount of orders while still remaining calm and collected and ignoring the constant stream insults. She also notes how often I was fanning myself and that I never failed to smile at any customer when handing them their food, regardless of their attitude towards me. She says that I have been doing an amazing job handling everything and then holds out a $20 note. As tipping is not a standard in Australia, I am not sure if I am allowed to accept it, so I politely turn her down. She insists and I still decline; however, I thank her profusely for her kind comments before returning to my station, this time with a warmed heart and genuine smile.

Fifteen minutes later, I am leaving the work area when I notice the girl has waited around. She walks over to me and asks if my shift has ended. Before I finish telling her yes, she takes my hand and presses the $20 note into it, then wraps me into a hug and tells me I deserve it. When she pulls away, she presses me on how I am getting home and I assure her I have a ride. She then offers me one last smile, wishes me the best, and leaves with a boy who has been standing not too far away.

What that girl will never know is that her generosity is the sole reason I was able to eat breakfast the next day and afford a taxi home after my next late shift. My paycheck came in later that week, and soon I was stable enough to spend money on more than just groceries, but I will never forget that girl’s good heart and kindness towards a person she did not know, and it is still one of the most heart-warming things anyone has ever done for me.

Mom Has No Reservations On Who To Blame

, , , , , , | Related | June 23, 2018

(My family decides to visit me for the weekend at university. The suburbs in this area are populated primarily by students like me who are away from home, so many of the shops and cafes are targeted at young adults and have “hipster” traits; i.e. the menus are on blackboards, you are required to go up to the counter to order and get a table number, and reservations aren’t taken. One Saturday, my mum, dad, younger sister, and I are in the car together when my mum suggests we do brunch the next day.)

Mum: “[My Name], what’s a good place to eat?”

Me: “Ooh, there’s this really nice cafe called [Cafe]! The food and coffee is amazing. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s definitely worth it, and it’s only walking distance from [Hotel where parents are staying]!”

(My sister looks up the cafe on a popular social media app and shows my family. It is rather homey with indoor plants and wooden tables, while the food is presented artistically for the purpose of photo-taking so, immediately, they’re all sold.)

Sister: “Wow, this place looks amazing! Let’s go!”

Me: “Yes! But it’s really, really popular, especially on Sundays for brunch. We’d have to go a bit early if we want to get a seat, maybe around 9:30 am.”

Mum: “Oh, I was hoping to sleep in a bit tomorrow. Can’t you just make a reservation?”

Me: *laughs* “No, it’s not that kind of a place. They only allow walk-ins, but I promise it’s worth it.”

Mum: “Are you sure? You can’t just call them up and ask?”

Me: “No, Mum. It doesn’t work like that. None of the cafes in this area do reservations, just the restaurants.”

(There’s a few minutes of silence, then:)

Mum: “Can’t you give them a call?”

Me: *knowing fully well that I would get laughed at if I tried* “Mum, even if I wanted to, they closed at three pm. It’s well past four o’clock now.”

Mum: “What about on their website? Surely you can reserve a table on there!”

Me: “It’s a small local cafe; they don’t have a website, just the [Social Media] page.”

Mum: “That’s ridiculous! What kind of business doesn’t have a website?”

Dad: “Some places that are targeted at younger people just work like that, dear. Look at what [Sister] did before; she didn’t even consider searching for a website and went straight to the cafe’s [Social Media]! It’s just how the kids think.”

(About half an hour later:)

Mum: “[Sister]! Can you look up the cafe’s phone number and give them a call? Maybe we can book a table for around ten am.”

(My sister, my dad, and I all groan.)

Sister: “Mum! [My Name] told you, they don’t do reservations, and they’re closed right now!”

Mum: “She doesn’t know that for sure! [My Name], have you even tried?”

Me: “No, I haven’t, but I’ve been there multiple times, Mum! I’ve been to so many of these cafes; all of them only do walk-ins! I guarantee they don’t even have those metal ‘reserved’ placement cards you see at restaurants! It’s just how these places work!”

Mum: “Okay, okay, fine! We’ll see.”

(The next day, my family ends up waking up later than expected and take far too long to get ready, so we don’t end up getting to the cafe until 10:30 am — prime brunch time. As we approach, we can see the place is packed and there is a massive line of people stretching around the corner of the building. I talk to a waitress, who informs me there’s a 45-minute wait to be seated. Too hungry to stand in line for that long, we accept defeat and decide to find another place.)

Sister: “It’s a shame; their food looked so good.”

Mum: *throwing her arms in the air* “Well, this wouldn’t have happened if we had just made a reservation!”

(We did eventually go to another great cafe that I knew of. As we were seated, my mum made a point of asking them — you guessed it — if they allowed for reservations. As expected, they said no.)

The Complaint Has Been Logged

, , , , , , | Working | April 27, 2018

I work in a large building with a number of different divisions who share meeting rooms, with bookings made through a shared calendar. One of our meeting rooms has a computer that is quite slow to boot up, so when I have a presentation, I book the room for an additional 15 minutes prior to the meeting to get the AV set up.

About five minutes before everyone was due to arrive at this particular meeting, I had successfully logged in and had the first slide of the presentation up on the screen ready to go. I put my papers on the table and left to get a glass of water from the kitchen next door. When I came back, a different group of people had let themselves in to the room and logged me out of the computer to display their own presentation!

I advised them I had the room booked for the next two hours. They said they didn’t see anyone, so they just decided to log me out of the computer and start their own meeting.

By the time they had left and I had logged back into the computer, my meeting had arrived and I was chastised for not getting ready earlier.

An Eggs-cruciating Waste Of Time

, , , , , , | Right | April 1, 2018

(It’s Easter time and all of our Easter-themed chocolate has a buy-two-get-one-free special on, and, as usual, the cheapest item in each group of three is the one that becomes free. This is also clearly explained on the sign, which states the special.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Customer: “Hi, I just bought this chocolate a second ago, and it costs more than what it should.”

(I look at the receipt to see if the special has been accounted for, which it has, and the cheaper eggs are marked down as they should be.)

Me: “Sir, your receipt clearly states that you have gotten every third egg free. It is part of the special that the cheapest is marked down.”

Customer: “But they way that it has been done is wrong! I demand to have my money back!”

Me: “Sir, the only way you can change the way the sale that has been put through is to refund all of your items and repurchase them in separate transactions. You have over $100 worth of chocolate and you would only be getting around two to four dollars back, so I don’t recommend it.”

(Despite my warning, the man demanded I refund all of his items and resell them in separate transactions. The worst thing is, this happened twice more within the hour. I managed to persuade the third customer that it wasn’t worth it.)


Be The Extra Change You Want To See In The World

, , , , | Right | March 23, 2018

(I’ve just started work in a coffee shop. A group of teenagers walk in and order, and I think that’s the end of them, until one of the girls walks up while I’m taking the next customer’s order.)

Me: “I’m sorry. You’ll have to join the line—”

Girl: “Yeah, I know, I’m sorry. But I counted our change and you gave us an extra $20.”

(She holds out a $20 note for me. Stunned, I let it stay there for a second, before finally processing that someone had just complained about being given too much change.)

Me: “Oh! Thank you.”

Girl: “It’s rush hour and you’re the only one in here; I can’t blame you. Have a nice day, all right?” *walks away*

(It was the best day I’d had in a long time!)