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Making A Garbage Job A Bit Less Garbage

, , , , , , , , , | Friendly | September 18, 2023

In my very late teens, I was asked to pet-sit for my minister and his family while they were away to visit relatives. As their cat was easily stressed out, they wanted to keep him — and therefore their other pets — at home and have someone stop by for a few hours each day to take care of them. It sounded like an easy gig for a teenager on summer holidays.

Two days before they were set to go away, his wife met with me after the church service to provide me with a list of things they’d want me to do. All of it was reasonable, except for one item on the list that read: “Juice boxes for Andy and Phil on Thursday”.

It turned out that when their son was a toddler, he loved trucks. Therefore, he loved to see the garbage truck come by every week, and in the summer, he was very worried that the garbage men would get too hot in their truck.

In the spirit of encouraging kindness and generosity, his mother allowed him to go and give the garbage men juice boxes when they came by so that they’d have something to drink.

And then they just kept doing it, giving their local garbage crew juice every week without fail. It was now a tradition that multiple garbage crews had lived through and passed onto the next. 

Yes, Andy and Phil got their juice boxes. After fifteen years, I wasn’t going to be the one to break their streak!

As Long As No One Was A T-Rex

, , , , , , | Right | September 7, 2023

We have a girl around eleven or twelve who comes in with her mother twice a week. She is on the autism spectrum but is very conversational and social thanks to encouragement from her mother and the fact that this girl associates us with her routine.

Today as she’s helping her mother around the store, she’s carrying a book on dinosaurs. It should be noted that I am quite short, and I am usually seen going around the shelves looking for items close to their expiry dates. The girl approaches me while the mother picks out cereal.

Girl: “I’m assigning you the name Compsognathus since you’re small but fast.”

Me: “Oh, thanks! I’ve always wondered what dinosaur I am!”

Manager: *Who is passing by* “What am I?”

Girl: “You’re Pachycephalosaurus.”

Manager: “Why?”

Girl: “Because you have a big head.”

My very bald, very shiny-headed manager lets out a huge belly laugh.

Manager: “I love it!”

When I went to my break in the staff breakroom, I saw a list had been put up on the whiteboard with the names of everyone on shift and their associated dinosaur. Those without a dinosaur assigned were doing “extra rounds” on the shop floor to try to… “assist” the mother and child customers further. 

She was back the next week with a visual encyclopedia of birds under her arm, and it started all over again!

Totally Lovestruck

, , , , , , , , | Romantic | September 5, 2023

The way my mum and dad got together was like something out of a cheesy romance movie. Mum was eighteen and Dad was nineteen when they met at a house for a party. At the time, my mum had a boyfriend, but after talking to her, my dad could not get her out of his head. He then spent a month searching for her, only knowing her first name. He found her boyfriend, who was now her ex, but he told my dad that he had no idea who he was talking about.

At the beginning of the next month, my dad was out on a date at a pizza parlor… where he saw my mum on a date, as well. They all decided to sit together. Halfway through, my mum’s date ditched her, so my dad decided to take both girls home. He dropped off his date first so he could talk to my mum for a little longer.

They came to a stoplight, and the radio was playing a song called “Little Arrows”, which is about Cupid shooting arrows at random people so they’ll fall in love. My dad leaned over the steering wheel and looked up at the sky.

Mum: “Um… what are you doing?”

Dad: “Lookin’ for arrows.”

Mum tells me that she knew right then that this was the man she would marry. Two weeks later, Dad proposed. They were together for almost thirty years before Dad passed away.

If More Customers Were Like This Kid, Our Website Would Go Under!

, , , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: flameoguy | September 1, 2023

During a lull in activity, a little boy comes up to the register with two pieces of candy. He is being quiet and pacing back and forth, making me think he is waiting for someone.

Little Boy: “Hold on, let me go get something.”

He turns around to grab a Slim Jim from the counter behind him. I have never heard someone excuse themselves to get an impulse item, so for a brief moment, I wait for him to go back into the aisles as he fidgets back and forth.

Then, I notice that he doesn’t have a mask on (this is 2021) and is awkwardly trying to cover his mouth with his coat. I reach into the cashier’s drawer and pull out a disposable mask.

Me: “Hey, kid, take this.”

I scan his three items.

Me: “Would you like a bag?”

Little Boy: “No.”

Me: “Okay, that’ll be [total].”

Little Boy: “Do you have change for a twenty?”

I do, and I give him his change. He turns to leave, takes a few steps, and then comes back to the register with the five-dollar bill I gave him.

Little Boy: “Here. Have a tip.”

I gotta say, that little guy is gonna be a favorite customer someday.

A Pleasing Quantity Of Pleases

, , , , , , , | Learning | August 17, 2023

As a teenager, I used to volunteer as an assistant for our youngest kids’ church, ages three to six. I’ll admit that this was more out of a love for kids than faith, but I still enjoyed my weekly time with the munchkins.

I did a number of things during the class, but one of them was to help hand out snacks during our mid-class break — usually nothing more than a handful of goldfish, pretzels, or similarly convenient snack foods. The kids always clamored for them, but I insisted that no one got their snack until they said please.

It usually took a quick prompting from me to get my pleases, but on the off chance a child said please without prompting, I always made a big deal out of how polite they were. I not only gave them their snack first but made sure to tell them I was giving them extra for being so polite. This didn’t mean much — any kid could get seconds if they asked, anyway, and most did — but to a little kid, it still felt like something special.

Despite coming to my class for years, most of the kids didn’t pick up on this pattern, and pleases were usually dragged out of them. However, one young girl figured it out quickly. It took about a month before it clicked, but once it did, she would always make sure to toss out a please before I’d even finished approaching the table. She seemed to be doing it only because she knew it meant she got her snacks sooner, along with some praise, but I didn’t mind; she was still a good role model for the rest of her table.

Several months later, the church was having an outdoor potluck. I was in line not far behind this girl and her mother. I heard more than one please from the young girl as she asked for the food she wanted to be plated.

Churchgoer: “Oh, aren’t you the sweetest? You’re very polite.”

Mother: “Oh, yes. She’s gotten very good about saying please in the last few months. She’s a great girl.”

I watched the girl beaming up with the same eagerness for praise she got every time she got her compliment and first dibs on snacks in our classroom, and all I could think was, “Mission Accomplished!”