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Unpacking This Flat-Pack Story Results In Something Beautiful

, , , , , | Right Working | June 6, 2019

I took my elementary-aged son and his two hungry friends to a cafeteria within a store for lunch after church, because it’s really affordable and we are not all that comfortable financially.

How awful to load up our trays, get up to the register, and then find out my wallet was missing! Yet the cashier empathized with the situation and helped me think through some ideas for alternate payment.

I stood to the side to download a mobile payment app to my phone and get it set up, but it’s an old phone and there were tech problems. The cashier then offered to pay for the meal and have me reimburse her via a different payment app. So, I stood to the side again to download it, but because of my old phone and spotty data connection, this was taking a very long time.

I came so very close to panicking. Everything was loud, it got so hot in there, I was dizzy… The boys were jumping around and freaking me out, so I sent them on various “errands” to keep them busy. And then I remembered to breathe.

After several minutes of me working the app situation, the cashier called me back over to the register and handed me a receipt, telling me, “Here you go. It’s paid for. It’s on me. Enjoy your meal.” I was stunned by the generosity and sincerely thanked her! Reading the receipt, it looked like she actually paid for the meal personally vs. using a discount code or comping it.

The part of the story the cashier didn’t know is that my son’s two friends come from an insecure food situation at home. I try to invite them over for snacks and meals as often as possible. They hadn’t eaten yet, and this cafeteria meal with us was likely to be their only one today. My gratefulness for this cashier’s generosity went deeper than her simply saving me the embarrassment of a missing wallet. Her kindness ensured these boys had food for the day — literally.

After our meal, I went back to the registers to thank her again and find out if I could reimburse her now, as I’d finally gotten the app working on my phone. But she was gone, and the other workers weren’t sure of her name because she was new. I made sure to write to the company with everything I’ve shared here and tell them how awesome their cashier was to us.

The Nut Cake Is A Lie

, , , , , , | Working | April 4, 2019

(We’re in the office cafeteria. There are over a dozen people there around one large table. It is one coworker’s birthday and a manager bought a cake. We’re all enjoying it and having fun.)

Director: “Are there… nuts in that cake?”

Manager: “Why? Are you allergic?”

Director: “Well, I have an intolerance to nuts.”

Manager: “Oh, darn! I didn’t know. I would have chosen a nut-free cake, having known.”

Director: “No sweat. I just won’t eat it.” *looks at his piece of cake from all possible angles*

(A coworker looks at the label.)

Coworker: “Yes, according to the label, there are nuts in it.”

Director: “Ah. Okay, then.”

(The director then takes a forkful of cake, shoves it in his mouth, and gets up. We all look on in disbelief.)

Manager: “Did… did he just take a mouthful of a cake he’s allergic to?”

Director: *walks to the nearest trash can and spits the cake out* “I didn’t swallow it; I just put it in my mouth to taste it.”

(He then leaves the cafeteria as if everything is normal, leaving us all dumbfounded.)

Coworker: “Anyone have an epi-pen nearby? Just in case?”

(We never heard of that manager feeling bad or anything.)

Winning That Race

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 11, 2019

(Some coworkers and I are having our break in a lunchroom. It’s quiet in the lunchroom with some music softly playing. We’ve had a stressful, hectic morning, so we’re fine just eating our food and relaxing. Two women and a six- or seven-year-old boy come in and sit down at a table on the other end of the lunchroom. Within a minute, the boy gets up and starts running up and down the lunchroom with his arms spread, making noises like he’s a jet fighter. With every turn he makes he increases his volume to the point where he is screaming. The two women don’t notice this because they are completely absorbed in their phones. My Indian coworker grabs the boy by the arm as he passes our table again screaming at the top of his voice. In a quiet voice, my coworker tells the boy to sit down and shut up or he’ll take him to the toilets and flush him. The boy starts crying and one of the women comes storming at our table. When she’s near enough to hear him, my Indian coworker says:)

Coworker: “And that, my boy, is the reason why it is not nice to call people like me a brown ape.”

(The woman’s face turns red, she pulls the boy away from my coworker, and she leaves the place with her friend in a hurry. My coworker smiles and just says:)

Coworker: “Ah, peace. The most precious thing in our society.”

Grandma Been Raisin Some Crazy Grandkids

, , , , | Right | March 1, 2019

(I’m waiting in line for food at the office cafeteria, making chit-chat with one of the chefs, when an angry woman walks up and cuts in front of me.)

Woman: “Can I get some raisin sauce?”

Chef: “Raisin sauce?”

Woman: “Yes, I want some raisin sauce to go with my turkey.”

Chef: “You mean cranberry sauce?”


(This continues for some time.)

Chef: “We don’t have raisin sauce and I have no idea what it is.”

Woman: *now slamming her food tray on the counter* “THE RAISIN SAUCE! YOU KNOW?! LIKE GRANDMA USED TO MAKE!”

(My department now asks for the “Raisin Sauce” on the regular to keep the kitchen staff laughing through the lunch rush.)

Some People Should Not Work With Children

, , , , , , | Learning | February 24, 2019

I work with kindergarten students with special needs. A majority of the students I work with are on the autism spectrum, and because this school is small, every staff member who has been around for a long while knows my students. The cafeteria staff is also well aware, and knows most of the students by name, especially kindergarteners.

I was in line with one of my girls on the spectrum, who normally is very self-sufficient and doesn’t need me one-on-one very often. I just happened to be with her for lunch due to my other students being out of school, or not in lunch at that time.

Lunch was hot dogs, with optional chili and optional cheese. Unbeknownst to me, students weren’t allowed to get cheese unless they had chili. My student only wanted cheese, so she poured some melted cheese onto the hotdog, just in time for the lunch lady to yell at her from across the room, “No chili, no cheese!”

My student started bawling for fear of being in trouble.

The lunch lady then took the hotdog off her plate and placed a plain one on it, mumbling about students not paying attention and wasting food.

I had another member of cafeteria staff make fun of one of my boys on the spectrum, who is self-sufficient and will get his own items, even if it means returning items an adult placed on his tray. When I mentioned that he had OCD, the staff member rolled her eyes and proceeded to mock him.

Both students were six years old at the time of these stories.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself that prison orange is not my color and that these students need me more.