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

, , , | 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.)

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If You Tire On It Gets Better

, , , , | 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.)

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Coffee For The Monkeys

, , , , | 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.)

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Food For Thoughtfulness

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 22, 2016

(A group of friends and I travel to New Hampshire to campaign for a political candidate. We are sleeping on the floor of a community center in a tiny town with very few food options, and since we’ve traveled with a group from our school, none of us have access to a car. After a long day of knocking on doors in the snow, we desperately try to find a restaurant that delivers, to no avail. We set out to the nearest place we can find, which is about a 20-minute walk. We get there at least a few minutes before the stated closing time, but there is already a woman sweeping the front entrance, so I know they are done for the night. Since I work in food service and hate people who demand complicated meals right before we close, I told my friends we should just go home. Then, the woman opens the door and motions us in, out of the cold.)

Woman: “What can I do for you all?”

Me: “I’m really sorry; I know you’re trying to close. We were just looking for a place to get something to eat.”

Woman: “I’m afraid our kitchen is closed, but I can get you guys some drinks from the bar while you warm up.”

Me: “You’re very kind, but we’re really hungry, and since we’re all under 21 I don’t want to get you in trouble.”

Woman: “Most of the places in town are closed, but there’s a Mexican place about a 10-minute drive from here that’s open for another hour. Do you have a car?”

Me: “No, but thanks for the suggestion. We can walk or take a cab.”

Woman: “Don’t be silly; I’ll give you guys a lift.”

(Before we can say anything, she takes her apron off, runs to the kitchen, and comes back with her purse and keys. She ends up driving us to the restaurant in her minivan. During the conversation that follows, we find out that she owns the restaurant, while also working as a nurse because she doesn’t make enough from the restaurant to pay the bills. She also has a daughter in college, about our age. During the ride, we all pool our cash and try to pay her for her time and gas.)

Woman: “Absolutely not. You kids just make sure to pay it forward someday.”

(I will probably never see this woman again, but I think of her all the time and the kindness she showed us.)

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An Anti-Depressing Turn Of Events

, , , | 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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