Differences Are Celebrated

, , , | IL, USA | Hopeless | April 17, 2017

(I grew up in a fairly small town, and all through high school, I worked at a local farm, selling produce at farmer’s markets and roadside stands. It’s only a few days before I leave for college in a much larger city, and I’m worrying about how much it’ll cost to live there, when one of my favorite customers comes up. I suspect he has some sort of developmental delay or had an accident or something, since his speech patterns tend to be very halting and he has trouble focusing his eyes, but he’s always polite and lovely and a pleasure to talk to, so I don’t think much of it. We’re chatting as he chooses what he wants, about $10 worth of produce, and he hands me a twenty-dollar bill.)

Customer: “Do you have singles?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no; it was a busy day today. Are two fives okay?”

Customer: *grinning* “Two fives are fine.”

(I give him his change, and he immediately hands one of the fives back to me.)

Customer: “This is for you. You’re always so friendly and polite when I come here. You don’t make me feel bad, or try to hurry me through what I’m saying. I know you’re leaving soon, and this is my way of saying thank you.”

Me: “You really don’t have to. You’re always so nice; I enjoy it when you come by!”

Customer: “Please, take it. I love coming here; you never make me feel different, or bad. Have a great time at college, and thank you!”

(I’m almost in tears by this point, and I can hardly get out a ‘thank you’ as he collects his vegetables and gives me one last smile. I’ve only seen him a couple times since then, but his kindness made a stressful time so much better!)

You Co-Sign Like A Girl

, , , | Toledo, OH, USA | Working | April 12, 2017

It is approximately 15 years ago and I am in the market for a new car. I have decided on an SUV from a now defunct manufacturer. They made awesome cars and this would be my second car from them. Mind you, I’m a woman in my 30s at this point and a legal secretary at a law office plus run my own side business. I have good credit and make more than enough money to afford this car.

I pick out and actually order the SUV I want, because I want a specific color with a few extra options such as a 6 CD changer and moon roof. I’m using the same salesman that sold me my original car from this dealership. He’s great – answers my questions without acting like I’m an idiot. We get the paperwork ready and hand it over to his financial team, at which point I am told it can take up a bit to process the paperwork as there are a lot of people there buying cars. My salesman needs to speak to his manager, so I start to walk over to get a drink of water when I hear my name being called – it hasn’t even been 5 minutes. I say “over here” and the man simply turns to me and doesn’t move towards me. So I wave at him and start to walk towards him when he proceeds to tell me very loudly from 10 feet away that I will need a co-signer. I immediately know he hasn’t looked past “female” on my paperwork nor done a credit check because I haven’t needed a co-signer since I bought my first car at 16.

So I stop walking towards him and from 10 feet away I very loudly reply “Please go back to your office and get me a list of the banks you called that say I needed a co-signer and I’ll go back to my office and subpoena their records because I guarantee you that they have sold this very car to a man who makes less money and hasn’t worked as long as I have, and without a co-signer.” It is at this point I see the guy who was helping me purchase my car with a big grin on his face and what I assume was his manager next to him scowling. I did not see that man again but I had the paperwork and a date my car would be delivered not 10 minutes after he disappeared.

I was and still am a huge fan of this particular car manufacturer. I went back to them for all of my oil changes, etc. And I never once saw that financial guy again. My salesman did however tell me that he thought it was awesome how I didn’t even miss a beat telling that guy off and loved that I did it in front of everyone. Apparently they had been having problems with him and losing sales over his sexism since he was hired and my response brought it to attention of a lot of higher ups that this kind of behavior was an open door to a lawsuit.

Chocolate-Covered Anything Can Cure Everything

, , | FL, USA | Hopeless | April 11, 2017

(I’m swinging by the supermarket to pick up just one thing… a bottle of Midol. All I want to do is get home and relax. I’ve paid and am actually about to climb in my car when I hear someone shouting, and turn to see the cashier, a young girl, running after me.)

Cashier: “This is for you.” *she hands me a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels*

Me: “Oh… uh, I didn’t buy these. They must belong to someone else.”

Cashier: “No, I know. I got them for you. I always crave these on my period and they make me feel better, so I thought they might do the same for you.”

Me: *shocked* “Oh… wow! That’s so sweet of you! Thank you!”

Cashier: “You’re welcome. Feel better.” *smiles, turns, and trots off*

(It was a really minor thing, but it was such a sweet gesture for a complete stranger to try and make my day brighter when she saw I was hurting and it meant a lot. I wrote into the supermarket company office about what an amazing employee she is, and I hope she never loses that wonderful spark of thoughtfulness and kindness.)

Won’t Be Test-Driving That Bad Attitude Anytime Soon

, , , | MI, USA | Working | April 10, 2017

Several years ago I was in the market for a pickup truck. I notice a shiny red 4×4 on the front line of our town’s local dealership and pull in for a closer look. It’s doors are locked, and although I could see several salesmen glued to the front window of the building, looking for customers, nobody comes out to help.

I decide to go in and make myself known. To my surprise, nobody will even look at me, much less greet me. They aren’t exactly busy either. Eventually I get tired of being ignored and approach one of the offices. The salesman inside looks bored. He has his head propped on his hand and is scrolling through something on the computer. I stand there politely, waiting for him to see me. Finally I say “Hello!” quite audibly. After a moment’s pause, I get an “Mmmph” response. I tell him I’d like to have a look inside the red 4×4 in the front row. All he can muster is a “Yeah” and begrudgingly gets up and locates a set of keys.

I lead him across the lot to the truck. He unlocks the door and I sit inside. When I get out he quickly closes the door and locks it, then starts heading back into the building. Bewildered, I ask, “Can we go for a test drive?” to which he says, “Nope. We get lots of kids in here looking at vehicles. We waste time getting plates and going for a ride, then we never see them again. If you want to go for a ride we need to do the financing first.” He then turns and goes back inside without saying another word.

I get back in my car and leave. I go to a dealer of the same brand in another town and promptly buy a truck from them. On my way home I can’t resist. I stop at the first dealer and park right in front of the building. I go inside and ask to see the sales manager. I go inside his office, take my paperwork out, and put it on his desk. “I came in here yesterday ready to buy that red 4×4 from you guys. I like to keep my money local, but I was made to feel like I was wasting your time because I’m a ‘kid.’ Incidentally, I’m 29 if that makes any difference. Instead, I went to your competitor in [Neighboring Town] and actually bought this more expensive truck from them,” I said, putting my finger under the price on the sheet. “You guys must be doing exceptionally well to be able to turn customers away like that. Your buddy’s–” *motioning towards the salesman who had given me the brush* “–attitude towards younger customers has cost you my business.”

A few days later I saw the same red 4×4, wearing dealer plates, broken down on the side of the highway ramp. Had I been allowed to go, the ‘test drive’ would have been an interesting one!

Everyone Gets Home This Time

, | Scranton, PA, USA | Hopeless | March 28, 2017

(This happens on my second business trip to Scranton, PA. I have to switch planes in Chicago, and thanks to various delays and cancellations, I don’t get to Scranton until hours past the time that I had originally been due. It was 2:00 am when I finally land at the Wilkes-Barre airport. It is almost completely deserted.)

Airport Employee: “You finally made it, huh?”

Me: *exhausted* “Yeah. And I have no idea how I’m going to get to my hotel.” *I knew from past experience that there are very few taxis available at that airport, even during peak hours*

Airport Employee: “Didn’t you rent a car?”

Me: “Well, sure, but the car rental counter must have closed ages ago.”

Airport Employee: “Nope.” *points to counter, where a very tired looking car rental employee is waiting*

Me: “Oh, my God! Have you been waiting for me all this time?”

Car Rental Employee: *gives weary smile* “Yup. But now you’re here, so we can both leave!”

Me: “I can’t believe it. Thank you!”

Car Rental Employee: “Just part of the service.”

(I made sure to send a nice letter to corporate to tell them how impressed I was. I hope she got a raise as a result.)

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