Making A Limp Apology

, , , , , | Working | June 20, 2019

I lost my lower left leg in a car accident years ago and now use a prosthetic. Even though I have a disabled plate and placard, I don’t always need to park in a handicap spot. I only use those spots on my bad days when I experience ghost pains or pain in the area of the amputation and have trouble walking or standing on that leg for a prolonged length of time. However, when you see me, unless I’m wearing shorts or a dress, you can’t tell I have a prosthetic leg and I may look “normal” to people. On those bad days, the only tell-tale sign may be a little limp at most but nothing too obvious.

On one bad day that I needed to use a handicap spot, an employee who was taking a smoking break outside the store took it upon herself to confront me in the parking lot after I got out of my car. She accused me of not being handicapped and said that I didn’t deserve to park in that spot, that I should be ashamed because I was abusing the system, and that I was just being lazy. She even threatened to call the police and said someone on disability couldn’t afford the kind of car I had.

Just because someone is disabled doesn’t automatically mean they’re on disability or can’t work.

By now, people were watching her ranting and some actually agreed with her or just watched. I tried to explain that just because I don’t look handicapped, it doesn’t mean I’m not, but nothing helped. Now, I’m not embarrassed of my injury, but I am a little self-conscious of it when it becomes the center of attention. So, even though I didn’t have to, I raised my pants leg to show the prosthetic.

I have never seen a group of idiots shut up so fast. The employee who started it all just said, “Whatever! Not my fault!” and walked back into the store without even apologising. Most of the small crowd of people who were agreeing with her walked away, too, most without saying a word; others just laughed it off like it was a joke. Only one person had the decency to say sorry for assuming.

Situations like this have happened a handful of times over the years and, normally, I would have just let it go, because the accuser usually apologises and gets a lesson on not judging a book by its cover, etc., but not this time — not after what she said about it not being her fault. Whether she meant she wasn’t at fault for accusing me of not being handicapped or not at fault for my injury, I wasn’t going to just let it go this time.

I went into the store and to the service desk and reported her, and they sent for the manager. I explained again to him what happened and he called the employee up to the service desk. When she saw me, before the manager even said a word, she started defending herself, yelling something like, “It’s not my fault she doesn’t look like a gimp!” Yes, she said, “gimp.” “I didn’t know! Look at her! She doesn’t even need a wheelchair or nothing! She doesn’t even look it! Why should she park there?! Why is everyone mad at me?!”

After she finally finished her tirade, the manager had her go to his office and said they would “talk about her behavior.” He turned to me, apologised profusely, and ended up giving me a $50 gift certificate for the store. I did tell him I wasn’t blaming the store but would appreciate it if he could train the employees about those of us who are disabled, about hidden disabilities, and about not just assuming things. Whether or not the manager did that, I don’t know, but he did seem genuinely concerned that one of his employees would say such things and told me that he would look into it.

I’m not one for being that customer who’s always looking for freebies — I used to work in retail and I understand — but I didn’t mind getting that $50 gift certificate.

I don’t know what happened to that employee, but since that day I’ve never seen her there again and it’s been over a year.

1 Thumbs

Putting Out Non-Existent Fires

, , , , , , | Working | June 20, 2019

(I am at the head office today. We manage an outlying clinic, open two days a week, that is due for a fire safety check. It’s late in the afternoon when I answer the phone.)

Fire Safety Rep: “Yeah, I’m at your clinic to do the check and no one’s here!”

Me: “I’m sorry, where are you calling from?”

Fire Safety Rep: “I’m here at your clinic to do your fire safety check and there’s no one here! Our office was told you’d be here on Tuesdays and Thursdays, your sign at the front says you are open Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I’m here waiting and ready and there’s no one here!

Me: “Today’s Wednesday.”

Fire Safety Rep: “Oh, s***!” *hangs up*

1 Thumbs

Throw Yourself Out

, , , , | Working | June 20, 2019

(It’s between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and, as this restaurant is basically on campus, it’s almost empty. I receive my food and head to a small, secluded area around a corner when I see an employee with cleaning supplies sitting there playing with her phone.)

Me: “Did you already clean here? I could go sit somewhere else, then.”

(Rather than answering, she just gives me a dirty look. I like that spot and it doesn’t appear recently cleaned, so I sit down nevertheless, take off my winter clothes, and start eating. I notice her clearing her throat.)

Employee: “You need to eat somewhere else. I’m cleaning here right now.”

Me: “I’m sorry? I’m certainly not going to stack my food back on the tray and balance it to another table with my winter clothes in my arms while my burger falls apart. That’s why I asked you before sitting down.”

Employee: *calling around the corner* “[Manager]?”

Manager: *comes around the corner shortly afterward* “Yes?”

Employee: “This customer ignored me when I told him that I’m currently cleaning here! Can you throw him out?”

(I’m just about to respond when the manager interrupts me.)

Manager: *to employee* “Firstly, we don’t throw customers out just because they are sitting somewhere we want to clean, and we most certainly don’t call a manager to discuss such an option in front of the customer. But as we’re already here: cut the crap. Everyone here knows you’re sitting around the corner your whole shift, playing with your phone, and pretending you’re cleaning. Honestly, we only let you get away with it because the only thing worse for business than you doing nothing all day is – evidently – you dealing with customers. We were just waiting for you to do something stupid which, I’m happy to say, you just did. You can go home now. We’ll call you tomorrow about your termination.” *to me* “I’m sorry about all that. When you’re finished, you can come to the counter and get a free dessert or a hot coffee if you like.”

1 Thumbs

Good-Looking People Get Whistled At

, , , , , | Working | June 19, 2019

(I am entering the train station to take a train home after a long day of work. As I step onto the platform, I see the train is already there and about to depart. I start running, but the train whistle sounds and all the doors but one close. I sprint towards the open door and manage to get onto the train. Inside I find two female conductors: a young woman and a middle-aged woman.)

Older Conductor: *to the younger* “If you keep doing this, no one will learn the rule that they shouldn’t try to get onto a train after the whistle has sounded.”

Younger Conductor: “Yes, I know, but I just couldn’t bear to close the door in his handsome face.”

Older Conductor: *looking me up and down* “Yeah, I can understand that.”

Me: *turns a bright shade of red and shuffles off to find a seat*

1 Thumbs

They Probably Think You’re Drunk On Power

, , , , , , | Working | June 19, 2019

(I have just started a front desk job at a hotel. I’m working with a senior front desk associate and a maintenance man who is meant to double as security. Late one night, I hear screaming coming from around the corner and there are sounds of violence. My coworker is positioned to see around the corner, and when the noises stop she turns to me.)

Coworker: *wide-eyed* “That lady just threw her phone at her husband and started clawing him in the face before full-on decking him. Right in front of her four-year-old kid! No wonder they cut her off at the bar, if she’s that kind of drunk.”

Me: “Shouldn’t we do something about that? Like call security or something? I mean, if they have a little kid with them, the kid could be in danger.”

Coworker: “I mean, if you want to get involved, you can. Security probably won’t care since they’re in their room now.”

(I decide to call security out of concern for the child.)

Security: “If they’re in their room, there’s nothing I can do.”

Me: “Can’t you go up there and see if everything’s all right?”

Security: “If you’re really that concerned, you can call the police, but it’s not my problem.”

(I call up my supervisor who tells me to go ahead and call the police. The police arrive quickly, go up to the room, and almost instantly come back with the woman in handcuffs. It turns out the dad was visibly wounded and the child was wailing in a corner. The next day, I get a call from the hotel manager.)

Manager: “I heard you called the police on a guest last night?”

Me: “Yes, I did.” *explains story*

Manager: “Well, in the future, I would like you to call security or a supervisor first. The woman who was arrested does very good business with us and left a very good review. We need that kind of repeat guest.”

Me: “I asked my coworker, I called security, and I called a supervisor. My coworker and security wouldn’t help, and my supervisor said to call the police! She was abusing her husband in front of their child!”

Manager: “Your coworker, security, and the supervisor all say they were not involved in the situation. Besides, she was just drunk. She just needed to work it out and everything would have been fine.”

(I didn’t stay there long. I am still fuming as I write this years later. I don’t care how good of a customer someone is; that does not excuse abuse!)

1 Thumbs