My Soul For A Steam-Iron

, , | Toronto, ON, Canada | Hopeless | April 27, 2016

(I’m selling $250 steam irons and working on straight commission. A customer chats with me for 10 minutes, growing progressively more interested in the machine. I need this sale to make quota for the day, so start to hope when he says “I’m going to go find my wife and bring her to see this!” A few minutes after, while I’m scanning the aisles hoping to see him come back – 75% of the time these “Be backs” never return – a three-year-old boy comes up to my booth.)

Little Boy: “I’m lost. Can you help me find my mommy?”

Me: “Absolutely!”

(I’m a traveling demonstrator and don’t work for the store, so have no idea policy about lost children, but figure I’ll walk him to the managers. I take him up front, but forget to put out my “Be back in five minutes” sign. After I get him into the hands of the floor manager, I head back to my booth, gone less than five minutes. Shortly, the customer returns.)

Customer: “You just lost a sale! I came back with my wife and you were gone! We weren’t going to wait around for hours for you; she’s gone to check out. Guess you weren’t really interested in a sale!”

Me: “I’m sorry sir, but a little boy was lost and asked me for help finding his mommy. He was scared and I took him to the manager.”

Customer: “Too bad for you! That’s not your job. You’re here to sell!”

(Customer storms off just as the manager walks by with the little boy, bringing him to the mom who happens to be near my booth and is starting to panic.)

Manager: “This brave little boy knew what to do when he realized he was lost. He went right to a staff member in a badge—” *pointing to me* “—and asked for help. Always go to a person in authority and we’ll take care of you!”

Mother: *looking at me* “Oh, my god! Thank you so much! I’ve worked these kinds of booths; I hope being away didn’t cost you a sale?”

Me: “Not helping would have cost me my soul.”

One Day It Will Be ‘Nothing Out Of The Ordinary’

, , , | FL, USA | Hopeless | April 27, 2016

(I am a soldier in the Army. I work in an administration section for the post. One day, two men come into the office: one a soldier, the other a civilian. Both are the same age. The soldier takes a seat while the civilian comes up with paperwork. My lieutenant is at the desk.)

Civilian: “Hello. I need an ID card.”

Lieutenant: “I can help with that. Please fill out this form.”

(It’s a very quick write-up, so he just stands at the desk and fills it out. He tries to hand it to the lieutenant, but she can’t take it.)

Lieutenant: “Sir, I need you to put the code for your relationship with the sponsor.”

Civilian: “Uh…” *glances at the soldier*

(At this point, I realize they didn’t simply come in at the same time, but are together. The civilian turns back to the lieutenant, with the soldier also looking, both nervous. The other soldiers working in the office also catch on, and look towards her as well.)

Civilian: “I’m his husband.”

Lieutenant: *not batting an eye* “For spouses, use [designation] as the code. You’ll be asked that in the future, so don’t forget it.”

Civilian: “Oh, okay.”

(He finished filling it out, and they both left with the paperwork for the new ID card. The lieutenant simply continued with her work as if nothing out of the ordinary happened, and we followed her example.)

If You Tire On It Gets Better

, , , , | Kissimmee, FL, USA | Hopeless | April 26, 2016

(My fiancé and I bought our car last summer. It’s a 20 year old SUV and the tires are almost completely shot. However, we can’t afford to replace them because not long after we bought it and moved into our new place, my fiancé lost his job. On our way home, the front left tire zippers, thankfully right as I am pulling into the parking lot behind our building, so we have to put the very old spare on it. After that, things just keep popping up that prevent us from being able to afford the tires, like hours getting cut at work, or a sudden bill that has to be paid immediately. We decide that we we’re going to replace them when we get our tax returns this year. This happens when we are coming home from meeting with a caterer we are considering for our wedding (which my parents are helping pay for). He is the one driving and he feels something strange in the car’s pull, so he pulls over and looks at the tires before getting back in the car.)

Fiancé: “We need to stop at the tire shop before going home.”

(We decide to try and see if we can get the tires on credit. We’d stopped at this shop once before, as it was recommended to us by the guy at the Auto Zone, but we didn’t have the money.)

Tire Guy: *is running my fiance’s credit, since we already know that mine isn’t good enough* “Yeah, you were declined… Are you guys sure you don’t have any way to pay? You need them today, and I don’t feel comfortable letting you guys leave with those tires.”

Me: *about to cry* “We don’t have anything; I have about $2 in the bank.”

Fiancé: “And all I have is the money for our rent.” *looks at me* “I don’t know what to do.”

Other Tire Guy: *tapping away at the other computer and looks at the guy helping us* “Wait, what about [Name]’s tires?”

Tire Guy: “That’s true… We could ask him.”

Fiancé: “Wait, what?”

Tire Guy: “One of our coworkers, [Name], just got a new car. When we get new cars, we all usually swap out the tires for better ones. Our boss lets us sell them here if we want to.”

Me: *just stares*

Tire Guy: *goes into the maintenance bay to talk to the other guy, who turns out to be the man who had talked to us the last time we stopped in, and who remembers us. Comes back a couple minutes later* “Okay, so he said he wants to give you guys the tires. No charge.”

Me: *just starts crying*

Fiancé: “Are you serious?”

Tire Guy: “Yep! So we’ll install them and make sure everything’s okay.”

Me: “Can I give him a hug?”

(They installed the tires and picked the best of our four old ones to replace the spare. They also disposed of the old tires for us, including the one that had blown out which was in the back of our car. All at no charge. We still can’t believe this happened. Amazingly, it was the first thing in a number of good things that started happening for us, including his hours at work stabilizing and me getting a promotion and a raise.)

Coffee For The Monkeys

, , , , | Milwaukie, OR, USA | Hopeless | April 25, 2016

(My daughter has an unusual name, and even when we write the pronunciation beside the spelling on forms or other documents, people still always mispronounce it. She is eight years old. We are at a coffee shop and each person in our family is getting a drink.)

Husband: “Flat white.”

Barista: “Name?”

Husband: “[Husband].”

Me: “They would each like a caramel frappuccino with whipped cream.”

Barista: *to my older daughter* “Your name?”

Older Daughter: “[Older Daughter].”

Barista: *to my younger daughter* “Your name?”

(I can see my daughter hesitating to say her name because it is never a simple process, even if you say it, then spell it immediately, people always comment on it.)

Me: *to her* “You can give any name you want. It doesn’t have to be YOUR name.”

Younger Daughter: *to barista* “Monkey Face!”

Barista: *laughing* “Okay, Monkey Face!” *to the drink-maker* “Here is a cup for Monkey Face.” *they both laugh and my daughter is happy*

Me: “And I’d like [my order], please.”

Barista: “You must be Mom?”

Me: “Yes. You can just put ‘Mom’ on mine.”

(When we picked up our drinks, I saw she had actually written “SuperMom!” on my cup. I “awww”ed and thanked her. Very sweet.)

An Anti-Depressing Turn Of Events

, , , | IN, USA | Hopeless | April 22, 2016

(This happened during what was one of the worst times in my life. I’ve just transferred to a new college and it is a rough transition. I am lonely, self-conscious, have about a million doubts about myself and my life. My anxiety has gotten so bad that I am literally sobbing in the doctor’s office just by attempting to discuss it with him. This man has been my whole family’s doctor for most of my life.)

Doctor: “I know you’re reluctant to try medication, a lot of people are, but sometimes it’s just brain chemistry. And seeing you here like this, hearing that you’ve already tried therapy, I just want to help you find something that will help you.”

Me: “I just don’t want that to mean that there’s something wrong with me.”

Doctor: “That’s not what this means. It means that you’re doing what you need to do in order to live a happy, healthy life. And if it doesn’t work for you, you can stop whenever you want. Look, there’s this new anti-depressant that’s still in trial stages but it’s doing really well and has minimal side effects. How about I give you some of the free samples and you just try it out?”

(I eventually, reluctantly, agreed to this. As I left, I was handed a cardboard box, definitely bigger than I’d anticipated for just a few free samples. It turned out that my doctor had given me ten bottles of the stuff, all free samples, so that I would have enough that I could take back to college with me if I decided to use it, plus some free samples of an allergy spray that he knew I sometimes had trouble affording, and a prescription for another anti-depressant just in case this one didn’t work for me. This doctor honestly saved me. I took those anti-depressants for just about a year and they worked. I don’t take them anymore; I’ve changed enough in mind and body and lifestyle that I don’t need them now. But I never would have gotten to this point without them. My doctor took the time and effort to think of me as a person as well as a patient and went the extra mile to make sure I’d be ok. THANK YOU. This, to me, is what all doctors should strive to be.)

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