Needs To Step Down

, , , , , , | Right | September 26, 2017

(It is a slow day on my shift. There is just one customer, sitting at a table with his food and laptop, when a slightly annoyed-looking man comes in with his two teenage daughters.)

Me: “Hello, welcome to [Donut Shop]. What can I get for you?”

Customer: “I’ll have a medium hot coffee with cream and sugar.”

Daughter #1: *rather timidly* “I’ll have a maple-frosted donut.”

Daughter #2: “Hmm…”

(She takes some time, about half a minute, looking at the donuts behind me.)

Customer: *turns to [Daughter #2]* “Stop taking so long! You’re wasting the cashier’s time. Make up your mind.” *turning to me* “Sorry it’s taking so long. My daughters can be so problematic.”

(I just stand there and smile, not really knowing what to say.)

Customer: *speaking loudly* “They’ve been nothing but trouble to me and my wife. Always doing bad things behind our backs. You know they almost got us in trouble with the police once?”

(Both girls are now looking nervous and casting their eyes down on the floor. The first one looks scared and second one looks frustrated. I find his statement hard to believe, because they seem like the “good-girl” types, but I say nothing because it’s obvious that he’s annoyed. The customer with the laptop is raising his eyes up to look at them.)

Customer: “Just a bunch of good-for-nothings. So, spit it out, what do you want?” *cuts her off before she can speak* “You know what? She’ll just have a coffee roll, like last time.”

(I ring them up for their purchases. The man pays with his card, I get the donut and coffee roll in a bag and give it to them, but I tell them they’ll have to wait a bit for the hot coffee. The man and second daughter leave to wait in the car, leaving the first daughter to pick up the coffee after it’s finished.)

Me: “Okay, here you go.” *hands her the coffee*

Daughter #1: *takes it, speaks solemnly* “Thanks. Oh, and by the way… he’s my stepfather.”

Me: *in total shock* “Oh…”

(The customer on his laptop perks his head up real fast at this, and we both stare after her as she leaves the shop, wiping roughly at one eye. My coworker comes up from the kitchen, shaking her head.)

Laptop Customer: “I’m gonna bet the ‘police trouble’ they had was either one of the daughters trying to report his sorry a**. I’m only sorry it didn’t work.”

Coworker: “I’m just more appalled that this is the man their mother chose to marry!”

(Whether the man really was their stepfather or not, I have something to say to him: “You are a d*****-bag, and verbally abusing anyone is not cool.”)

Trying To Put The Finger On The Problem Child

, , , , , | Learning | September 19, 2017

(The school I work at has a great program in the summer, where international students come to Canada and check out the school. During their time, they experience Canadian culture and practice their English skills. We do have some young students come as well, and I work with a group of 7-11’s. Before class starts, I notice that there is some bullying happening. Since they’re the younger group, often when I speak to them, I use a lot of visuals or hand signs to communicate. I decide to address the issues I have seen.)

Me: “Morning, everybody. Before we get started, I just wanted to remind everybody about the rules we decided on for the class. One was treating each other with respect, and I did not see that this morning. Remember: in this classroom, we only say positive things. So only this:” *gives thumbs up* “None of this:” *gives thumbs down*

Student: “Or this.” *gives me the middle finger*

(I had a moment of shock, and then told the student to wait outside while I called the supervisor to come talk to him. However, I was really thinking about what a good segue that was, and how I couldn’t admit I was impressed.)

Christophe-Hand Bullying

, , , , , | Learning | September 4, 2017

(We are lucky enough to have an actual French woman teach us French. The only problem is that she and I clash over my name. The French equivalent of my name is Christophe. The teacher, being “authentic,” calls out my name this way when taking register. Despite me asking her to call me Chris, she refuses.)

Teacher: “Christophe.”

Me: *I just stare blankly at her refusing to answer*

Teacher: “Christophe.”

(We stare at one another as she repeats the name twice more.)

Teacher: “Okay, Christophe, if you don’t respond to your name, I will take you to the head teacher!”

Me: “I’ll respond when you say MY NAME!”

Teacher: “This is the French way of saying your name!”

Me: “That’s great; were my parents French, they would have called me that. However, they are English and they called me Christopher! You call every other student in this room by the name they have asked you to. Yet I have repeatedly asked you not to call me that, and you have refused. This is bullying, and if you want to go to the head teacher, I’ll go with you, and we can tell him how you have singled me out and refuse to call me by a name which I like and is appropriate.”

(There is a sort of stunned silence while everyone takes in what I just said.)

Teacher: “Okay, then, I’m marking you as present, but we shall discuss this after class with the head of the language department.”

(After class we both went to see the head of the language department, who took her side. When I got home later, it turned out my parents had been phoned. Thankfully, they backed me up fully saying that it was bullying and unfair to use a name I had repeatedly asked not to be called. I later got an actual apology letter from the teacher, and the remaining months of lessons with her were very pleasant – even if I only BARELY passed French.)

It Can Be Damaging To Wait So Long

, , , | Friendly Learning | June 16, 2017

(A vaguely familiar man comes up to my counter. I have no idea what his name is, but I assume he’s probably a former classmate. Not sure when exactly we were in school together, but then…)

Customer: “Hi! How are you?”

Me: “I’m good today! What can I get you tonight?”

Customer: “Oh, I’m fine! I just wanted to apologize for the way I treated you in school. I’m really very sorry about all that.”

Me: “Um… okay?”

Customer: “I was such a jerk. I can’t believe I made you cry that much in Miss [My Sixth Grade Teacher]’s class. I’m so sorry.”

Me: “Um, sure. That’s nice of you. I’m afraid I can’t remember your name?”

(Nor can I remember the specific incident he’s referring to. It happened a lot in sixth grade.)

Customer: “I just wanted to make things right. Are you okay now?”

Me: “Yeah, I mean, I’ve got two degrees and I’m working here to kill time before I ship out with the Peace Corps in a couple months.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s great! I was afraid I really damaged you!”

(I never did figure out who he was, but I got a kick out of the apology — fourteen years late!)

We’re Above Such Crap

, , , | IN, USA | Hopeless | April 15, 2016

(I live in a suburban neighborhood with lots of other families of elementary aged children. I’m walking my daughter to the bus stop in the middle of winter when a young boy comes running past us, crying hysterically.)

Man: “Zach, come over here, dude. What happened?!”

Boy: “I fell!”

(I then notice the boy is smeared in dog mess from head to toe.)

Man: “Well, it’s too late for me to walk you home to get changed. You’ll miss the bus.”

(The man proceeds to take off his coat and shirt, puts his coat back on and uses his shirt to clean the poor kid up.)

Man: “There you go, kiddo. The bus is here, but I’ll make sure you have clean pants at school before I get to work.”

(Our kids all get on the bus, and we waive them off. I approach the man as he is throwing his shirt in a nearby trash bin.)

Me: “I’m so sorry that happened to your son, but great quick thinking in a pinch!”

Man: “Oh, thanks, but that’s not my son. Honestly, I can’t stand that kid. The only reason I know his name is because I always hear his mom grumping at him for picking on the other kids at the bus stop, but I’m not going to let a crying crap-covered kid get on the bus even if he is a total jerk.”