Paying It Forward: Birthday Special

, , , , | Right | December 15, 2019

(One of our regulars usually stops in with a friend on Monday nights for our special. He’s a college kid on a budget tight enough to only get one meal a day, but he’s always upbeat and fun to talk to, even if he can only tip around 10% most of the time.)

Me: “Same burger as usual?”

Customer: “Nope. It’s my birthday, and I just got a gift card, so we get to splurge a little bit tonight. Just no singing, please.”

Me: *chuckle* “You got it.”

(For splurging, the two of them stay pretty frugal, and the bill comes to just under twenty dollars.)

Customer: “Thanks, and hey, can you do me a favor? Next time someone gets caught without their wallet, or you see someone who’s had a bad day or something, can you have them use this for me?”

Me: “Sure.”

(To my astonishment, he not only left me a 25% tip, but there were still 25 dollars left on the card. We managed to cheer up a couple of break-up victims a couple of weeks later, and though he doesn’t know it, he hasn’t been charged for a drink since.)

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The Power Of Politeness  

, , , , , | Right | December 12, 2019

(I work a summer internship at a local electric cooperative. One afternoon, I’m working the front desk when several of our power lines go down. This leads to about an hour of people calling to report outages and ask how long they’ll be out of power. It’s busy enough that every time we finish a call, the phone immediately rings again. Sometime in the middle, I get a call from an older gentleman. I give the standard greeting.)

Customer: “Hello, how are you?”

(I’m surprised enough that it takes me a couple of seconds to respond.)

Me: “I’m doing all right, how are you?”

Customer: “Good, thank you.”

(He reported his outage, staying pleasant even when I told him I didn’t know how long power would be out. It’s been over a year, and I still smile thinking about it. A little politeness can go a long way!)

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Looking After Those Who Look Over  

, , , | Hopeless | December 6, 2019

(I’ve had possibly the worst six months of my life, but recently everything is finally looking up. This week, I paid off a hefty loan and flew my sister from another state for brain surgery, completely out of my own pocket as my mother is extremely poor. A regular of mine comes in while I’m working and starts chatting away. My phone buzzes in the drawer next to me.)

Me: “I’m sorry, that’s the hospital calling again. My partner is there, though; I’m sure everything is fine.”

Customer: “Oh, doesn’t he work nights? He should be asleep! And why are you here? You should be there.”

Me: “Well, I wasn’t going to let a three-year-old go blind because she couldn’t get treatment, and medical bills are expensive. You know what [Customer’s Husband]’s bills are like. [My Partner] and I have been switching staying with her, so we can both work and she’ll have someone to wake up to.”

Customer: “Oh… you did all that for her? You’re not getting anything back, either, are you?”

Me: “Family isn’t expendable; money is. We both work. We’ll be fine. I just want her to open her eyes.”

Customer: “That’s so kind of you.”

Me: “It’s not; it’s human decency. How’s your husband doing? And the kids?”

(We continue talking through the hefty transaction, and as I hand her receipt to her, she takes my hand and pushes paper into my palm.)

Customer: “You look after me, and everyone else it seems. Make sure you’re okay, too. Put that in your pocket and don’t lose it.”

(I thanked her and continued my shift. When I got to finally see what it was, I realised she’d handed me cash. I unashamedly cried. The next day, my sister opened her eyes to see — for the first time — a teddy bear the size of her, which is now the customer’s namesake.)


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Will Not Espresso The Way You Expect It To

, , , , | Right | December 6, 2019

(Sundays are notorious for being bad days; this one is no different. Not only am I working with two new hires, but it is very busy and customers have been extremely rude. I’ve just had several customers yell at me when I’m at my breaking point.)

Customer: “Miss, did you make my cappuccino?”

Me: *expecting to get yelled at* “I believe I did. Is there something wrong?”

Customer: “No, not at all! I just wanted to tell you that it was made perfectly! Thank you very much!”

(Customers like that make my day! Remember to thank your baristas; that small compliment made me forget about the rude customers.)

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Don’t Anger Grandma, Even After She’s Gone  

, , , , | Right | December 5, 2019

(I’ve just gotten out of the hospital after an unexpected heart issue and all I want in life is a salad from a famous fast food place. I know how that sounds, but priorities… I am in line behind a white SUV with my preteen daughter in the passenger seat. As we watch, the man in the SUV is leaning out his window, screaming at the worker. We hear something about not wanting cheese on his burger. He throws the burger and bag back through the window at her, and she spends the next several minutes with the window closed, presumably processing a refund for him.)

Me: “I want you to remember something, [Daughter].”

Daughter: “Don’t be that guy?” *points to the SUV*

Me: “Exactly.” *as recent hospital stay is making me emotional and profound* “There are plenty of real problems going on in the world. Save your energy for being upset at those things. No matter what happens in life, it’s never okay to be rude to anyone who is responsible for giving you food. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or they’re wrong. If you wouldn’t say it to your Grandma as you’re sitting at her table to eat dinner, don’t say it to anyone providing you any goods or services… especially food.”  

(While we are talking, the worker hands Mr. SUV back his money. This doesn’t seem to satisfy him, as he’s still screaming at her about how stupid she has to be to not be able to get him a simple burger. He throws the money back in the window at her.) 

Me: *loudly and with the window open* “And just because his grandma isn’t around right now to turn him over her knee doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t.”

(Mr. SUV swivels his head around to glare at me. I smile sweetly back at him. The worker shoves a bag at him and slams the window closed. He leaves without another word. I can see the worker is fuming red and near tears when I pull up.) 

Me: “Ma’am, I’d just like to apologize to you on behalf of the people in the world like that guy.”  

(She was clearly too upset to talk right then, so she closed the window and walked away. A few minutes later, someone else brought me a bag with my salad… and a free large fry. Case in point.)

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