A Pretty Nice Turn Of Events

, , | Cedar Rapids, IA, USA | Hopeless | June 12, 2016

(A woman comes in accompanied by her teenage daughter to get flowers for her parents’ 50th anniversary. It takes a little while for us to figure out what to do about the centerpiece, but she’s very nice and I eventually take their order. Right before they leave, her daughter approaches the counter.)

Teenage Girl: “Um… just… um…” *all in one breath* “You’re really pretty okay bye!”

(She dashes back to her mother.)

Me: “Wha– Oh! Thank you! That’s so sweet!”

Mom: *to her daughter* “What? What did you say to her?”

Teenage Girl: “Nothing! It’s nothing! Let’s goooo!”

(She drags her mother away, blushing furiously. It was adorable and I was smiling for the rest of my shift.)

Field (Trip) Of Dreams

, , | MD, USA | Hopeless | June 7, 2016

(I work in an urban elementary school. Several families in the school are homeless, or come from difficult circumstances. It’s that time of year for field trips. One of the sweetest, quietest little girls has not been able to attend earlier field trips because of financial difficulties, so I tell her mom she can come free of charge. But then this happens:)

Parent #2: “I wanted to know if I could sponsor any kids who couldn’t afford to go on the field trip.”

Me: “Really? I’ll talk to some people and let you know if there is anyone.”

(She ended up paying for all four field trips for this little girl. I made sure to let the mother know, and she wrote a wonderful letter to the family to thank them for their generosity. Every day when she picks up her daughter she has a huge smile, calls me beautiful, and thanks me for what I did.)

Bob’s Your Uncle

, , , | GA, USA | Hopeless | May 27, 2016

(One of the local grocers offers jobs to mentally handicapped residents of a local group home. One of these gentlemen has worked there for years, and he is a very conscientious bagger – everything is packaged just so. He is a very nice man, but his social filters aren’t always quite “there.” Just before my due date, I was stocking up the pantry in preparation for an expected child, and three others at home, and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to just jump in the car to pick up some cereal. After bagging my purchases – two large carts piled up – Bob looks at the trolleys, and then looks at my belly.)

Bob: “Wow! You must be really hungry!”

(The manager who was running the till gave poor Bob a look that makes me think he had to listen to another lecture on how to interact with customers, but I thought it was hilarious! Laughed all the way home. He didn’t get fired. That baby is now four years old, and she adores Mister Bob at the store. We always have to buy a pack of Starburst so she can give him the orange ones – his favorite.)

An Appetite To Do The Right Thing

, , , , , | Orlando, FL, USA | Hopeless | May 24, 2016

(I’ve just graduated high school and my family decides to eat at a nice restaurant after the ceremony. A lot of my extended family has made a considerable drive to be there. Since it is pretty late, we ask the hostess when they close and if we should try somewhere else but we found out they still had an hour to close. We order some appetizers and our meals, those of age order alcoholic beverages too. All in all eight people have meals consisting of $30-50 dollars. The appetizers never came out but we figured they were close to closing so it wasn’t important and we would rather just have them waived from our bill. Upon telling our waitress this, she fetches the manager.)

Manager: “I’m very sorry to hear that your appetizers never arrived. I’m going to comp you for them and still give them to you if you don’t mind waiting 5 or 10 minutes.”

Stepfather: “Sounds good to us. We are just talking and catching up.”

(The manager leaves to presumably oversee appetizers before coming back not three minutes later.)

Manager: “Okay, guys, I found out what happened to the appetizers. Apparently the fry cook decided he would call it a night early and shut off the fryer and refuse orders for the last hour of opening. He is currently restarting the fryer now.”

Stepfather: “Well, I know it was late when we came in; it really isn’t that big of a deal.”

(The manager goes to leave but stops and regards me for a second. I’m still dressed in my cap and gown from the ceremony.)

Manager: “Wait, did you just graduate?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

Manager: “So that makes this your graduation dinner?”

Me: “Yes, sir…”

(He mutters under his breath and double times it to the kitchen where we can hear him yelling in the now quiet and closed restaurant. He returns shortly with our check.)

Manager: “I got to thinking about how you just graduated and this was supposed to be a special meal for you and my employees couldn’t even fulfill our basic menu items. It left a very bad taste in my mouth. So in addition to your appetizers, I’ve decided to comp your entire meal. I’m very sorry for the level of service.”

Stepfather: *dumbfounded while he stares at the bill that has been comped to the tune of over $200* “I…. we appreciate you being straightforward with us and we really appreciate the gesture of comping our bill!”

(The manager just wishes us a good night and returns to the back, presumably to continue reprimanding his kitchen. As I grew up and got jobs in retail, I never forgot how honest and dedicated to the customer that manager was. He could’ve given us the run around but he decided that the truth, even though it made him and the restaurant look incompetent, was more important. He was so ready to take the blame himself and I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to write off a $200 bill.)

Earned Their Humanity Badges That Day

, , | Boston, MA, USA | Hopeless | May 16, 2016

(I volunteer as a Scout leader. Our Cub Scout pack has several boys in it who live at a nearby residential school for kids with emotional and learning disabilities. Many are there because their parents have lost custody due to their inability to give these kids the help they need. When we first accepted these kids into the pack, we were a little concerned about how they would fit in with the ‘typical’ kids. One of the kids from the special school is going to be going back home to live with his parents, which is a huge deal. We give him a goodbye card and wish him luck. Unfortunately, he is back at the school a month later due to his loser-parents not doing their job. There is a pack event, and this kid shows up with the rest of the kids from the school. He is hanging in the back, looking a bit down when the rest of the den he had been in sees him.)

Scout #1: “[Kid]! You’re here!”

Scout #2: “We thought you left!”

Scout #1: “We need you for our team! Come on!”

(The kid burst into a huge smile and joined the others like he had never been away. 10- and 11-year-old boys can be a trial some days, but my Scouts gave this kid a better welcome than his own family, and his teacher said it was the first time he had smiled in about a week. The next generation of humanity is doing all right.)

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