We’re Not On The Same Page

, , , , , , | | Right | May 3, 2019

(My coworker is in her last half-hour of her last day at the bookstore, and she’s ready for revenge. All summer long, we’ve had the mandatory summer reading section set up. Of course, 90% of the students come in with Mom and Dad two days before school starts to get their books. A sixteen-year-old boy comes in with his parents.)

Coworker: “May I find something for you?”

Boy: “I need a summer reading book.”

Coworker: “Okay. What’s it called?”

Boy: “I dunno, but it has 186 pages.”

Coworker: *to the boy and his parents* “Do you have your list?”

Boy & Parents: *blank faces*

Boy: “It has 186 pages.”

(There are easily 100 books on the summer reading shelves. I see it coming and I don’t believe she’s really going to do it…)

Coworker: *pointing to the rack* “In this section are all the books under 100 pages. Over here are all the books from 100 to 250 pages.” *walks away*

A Dinner To Celebrate The Anniversary Dinner

, , , , | Working | May 1, 2019

(My husband and I go to a local restaurant for our anniversary, which falls on a Wednesday. The restaurant is surprisingly busy and by the frazzled faces of the workers, they weren’t expecting the rush, either. We are sat in a booth with high walls so it feels rather secluded, but we often hear a lot of muffled raised voices trailing over the wall between the booths. Between gaps of what sounds like a heated discussion, we periodically see our waiter rush past, looking more and more frazzled. However, every time he comes to our table he is absolutely fantastic and nothing but cheerful and polite. He is obviously in a hurry and rushed off his feet, but he takes the time to ask how our day has been and if we are celebrating anything and so on. All the while, the other tables around us seem to all be cranky with whatever first-world problems they are dealing with. This is what happens when we have finished our meals.)

Waiter: “How was everything?”

Me: “Fantastic, thanks.”

Husband: “Definitely great.”

Waiter: “Great! Can I get you anything else? Dessert menu, maybe?”

Me: “Oh, no, thanks. We are both incredibly full.”

Waiter: “I am glad to hear it. Sorry for the bit of delay. We’re a little short staffed, but I hope that you enjoyed your anniversary regardless.”

Me: “Oh, we absolutely have. And we were just saying what a great job you’re doing. It’s pretty busy tonight, but we really haven’t had to wait long at all.”

Husband: “Yeah. We could hear people getting a little worked up.”

Waiter: “Gosh, I am sorry about that. I hope they didn’t bother you.”

Husband: “No, it’s fine. But sorry you have to deal with that. You’re obviously working as fast as you can.”

Waiter: “Thank you very much; that means a lot. Actually, in truth, I am a manager and usually spend my time on the books, so I am a little rusty out here. I don’t know how the others do it. But I appreciate the compliments.”

Husband: “No worries! Can we please have these leftovers for takeaway?” *gestures at plates*

Waiter: “Sure, no problem. Do you want all of these or just these?” *gesturing to different configurations*

Me: “Oh, just surprise us. We just need one serve for [Husband]’s lunch tomorrow.”

Waiter: “Surprise you? Haha, okay, I will.”

(He left with the plates and came back with a bag. We thanked him, paid, and headed home. The next day, my husband got the box out of the bag for his lunch and found underneath it a voucher for $30 at the restaurant. That was more than we’d even spent on our anniversary dinner! My husband was so excited he took a photo and send it to me, and then called me. On the voucher where it had a space for the name of the manager that approved it, it also said “Surprise!” I immediately called the restaurant and spoke to the manager on duty who passed along my thanks and compliments to the manager that had served us, as well as the owner. We went back a week later for a secondary anniversary dinner, which was just as fantastic, and we gave the waiter/manager that served us a box of chocolates since they weren’t allowed tips. It honestly does pay to be kind.)

You Give Me Butterflies

, , , | Hopeless | April 27, 2019

(The hotel I work in is right next to the ocean, and we have beach chairs spread out along it.  One day while I’m monitoring the beach, I notice a girl, about 14, fast asleep on a chair. She looks pretty sickly, big bags under her eyes and all.  Her dad is sitting watching her, looking worried.)

Me: “Sir? Is… everything all right?”

Father: *distracted* “Yes, yes, fine. Thank you.”

Me: “Sir, I can’t help but notice that you look upset.  Is something wrong?”

Father: *quietly* “Actually… yes. My daughter. She… She’s a very smart girl, and a hard worker.  A little too hard working. She’s been quite busy lately. Very busy. She’s been pulling all-nighters to get all her work done, and if she does sleep, it’s about two or three hours. She bites off so much more than she can chew, but she gets it all done somehow. For some reason, she’s still crazy insecure. I… I found out recently that she’s been bullied at school recently, and she’s developed social anxiety, making her even more insecure. She passed out in the halls a week ago, and the doctors recommended that I try to get her away for a bit, so she can de-stress. I’m worried about her. I want this vacation to be nothing but fun for her, to relax. She can’t relax properly, though, and I don’t know how to help. Her mother’s gone, and I can’t ask. What makes a girl tick?”

Me: *pauses to think for a moment* “Sir? What room are you guys staying in?”

Father: “[Number], why?”

Me: “That’s one of my rooms. Tell you what. In my experience, chocolate always seems to help.  I hope she likes ice cream!”

(We chat a bit more, and then I leave. I come up to their room later with a small chocolate sundae. I’ve added little chocolate swirls and decorations and made it as fancy as I could. The girl answers the door, surprised.)

Me: “Hello. I believe you need a sundae?”

Customer: “Um… well… I’ll go grab some money.”

Me: “Don’t worry about it. This is on the house. You look like you could really use it.” *smiles and hands it to her*

Customer: “T-thanks… Thank you! Thank you so much!”

(She beams at me before closing the door.  A few days later, when they leave, I go into their rooms to clear up.  I find a note.)

Note: “Thank you so much for taking care of us, and especially for the sundae! I’ve had a somewhat stressful time at school, and it really made me feel better that somebody noticed and cared.  A little chocolate goes a long way! You are really the best staff member I could have hoped for. The butterflies are for you!”

(Next to the note, I find $15 in one dollar bills, each folded into a butterfly shape. It’s really nice to think that in the midst of her own troubles, she took the time and trouble to make my day special. To the girl, thank YOU!)

Wheelchairs, Trains, And Automobiles

, , , , | Hopeless | April 26, 2019

My parents came to visit me in Japan. On the second day of us all being together, we were walking through the hotel garden and my mom hurt her foot. She iced it as soon as we got back to our room, but an hour later she couldn’t put any weight on it. The hotel we were staying at organized a taxi for us to a local hospital that had an ER open at midnight. We got there and the doc and nurse that cared for my mom spoke English. It was midnight and they had English-speaking staff on duty!

When they wheeled my mom into the ER from the waiting room, she had an anxiety attack, so back to the empty waiting room we went for the rest of her care. In the end, she had broken her foot — her big toe really. There was nothing that could be done for that but for her to stay off it.

Yeah, right. Day two of a two-week vacation in Japan? Ha! We rented crutches for the next two weeks and borrowed the hotel wheelchairs wherever we stayed.

After getting back to the hotel, the staff there were able to organize a rental wheelchair for us for our week in Kyoto.

Before Kyoto was Hiroshima. Our hotel was basically connected to the train station by a long walkway. Dad contacted the hotel, and two employees met us at the ticket gates with a luggage trolley and a wheelchair. At the end of our stay, one pushed Mom to the station as Dad and I had the luggage. Dad used the wheelchair to get Mom up to the shinkansen waiting room and returned the empty chair to the hotel staff member.

In Kyoto, the rental company delivered the wheelchair to the door of our B&B and collected it from Kyoto station, after we wheeled Mom up to the shinkansen platform.

After returning to Tokyo from Kyoto, Mom made her way to a waiting room. I went from ticket gate to ticket gate to get a wheelchair to get her from the shinkansen waiting room to the local train line. The employee wheeled her from the waiting line to the ticket transfer gate where two local line employees met us. One pushed Mom and the other lead the way, breaking traffic. It was over 700m to get to our train and Mom would never have made it on her crutches.

At the train, Mom was asked to sit on the train seat and the ladies took the wheelchair. At our exit, another employee was there with a wheelchair. She took us to the Tokyo Monorail line where we had another employee and chair. He got Mom onto the monorail where yet again there was an employee waiting with a chair for Mom.

Japan is nowhere near as wheelchair friendly as the US. People here have smaller personal bubbles and got too close to my mom for her comfort, but the level of care my mom got from train and hotel employees was amazing.

This Is A Tall Tale… From A Lobster

, , , , | Right | April 23, 2019

(My family goes out to eat at a higher-end and expensive chain restaurant known for fondue. About halfway through the meal, the server comes up to us.)

Server: “Is there anything else I can bring you?”

Dad: *jokingly* “How about a free lobster tail?”

(The server just laughed, but a few minutes later, she returned… with a free lobster tail! Turns out that she’d made an extra for another table by mistake and was just going to throw it out if not for my dad’s silly request.)


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