Being Trilingual Is Such A Burden Sometimes

, , , , | Right | February 12, 2021

I am the somewhat stupid customer here. It’s a Sunday morning and I’m browsing a baked goods stall for breakfast. I’m on this island unexpectedly because there were rough seas and our ship had to divert to a different port, so I’m still adjusting.

Me: “I’d like twelve of the beignets with cheese.”

Merchant: “The beignets. You want twelve for six Euros?”

Me: *Suddenly in Italian* “Yes, for six.”

Merchant: *In French* “Pardon?”

Me: *Laughing, speaking in French* “I’m sorry. I just arrived from Italy and still think in their language.”

Merchant: *Laughing* “I thought you were American.”

Me: “Oh, I am. I’m just very confused today.”

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Fluent In Python And Kindness

, , , , | Friendly | February 12, 2021

I’m a programmer from France, and at the beginning of this story I am living in the UK. One day, my mom, who works in the town hall of a little village in France, tells me about a man who posted an announcement for a “web admin who can use [Technology].” My grandparents and mother know him; he is in charge of the local movie association. The village is too little to have his own movie theater, so this man decided to display movies in the church once or twice a week. He is in his fifties or something and lost his son to cancer last year.

I’ve never used [Technology], but I think I could give it a try, and I call the man.

Man: “Hi, thanks for helping me. You know, it’s my son that created the website, but now, I need to add something to it, and obviously, I can’t do it on my own.”

He gives me the technical details, and I work on it over the weekend. It’s not really hard to do, but I’ve never worked with this and I’m picking up work from someone else. The son did leave some documentation on the website. Yes, programmer folks, he left documentation for his side project.

I manage to do it and call the man back. He thanks me profusely.

Man: “You know, this website, that’s kind of the last thing I got from my son. I would have been so sad to let it go and not update it. Thanks again. We’re going to open a bottle of champagne with my wife!”

It’s clear that he has tears in his eyes, and I have some, too, of course. 

Me: “Yes, it was not a big deal, really. I was happy to help!”

Two days later, my mom sends me a picture of a 100€ bill.

Mom: “He came by the town hall this morning and left that for you. I told him it was too much but he insisted.”

I was not expecting any payment at all, so that was really nice of him!

Fast forward six months. I come back to France, and the man asks for my help another time, which I gladly accept. I invite him to come to my grandparents’ house so we can finally meet in person. Before coming, he sends me a text.

Man: “Hi! Sorry if it seems inappropriate, but what is your birth year?”

I answered, and he and his wife arrived at our home a few hours later with a bottle of wine dated from my birth year! We talked, I helped him, and it was really nice to meet them both.

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Catch Train 22

, , , , , , | Working | February 5, 2021

My town goes into curfew at 6:00 pm because of the health crisis, and our station decides that this is a good time to cut back on trains. In my job, only [Coworker #1] lives far enough away to have to take the train every night, and when he gets out at 5:00 pm, there is no train for him.

I can hear his supervisor talking to the boss.

Supervisor: “But he leaves at 4:30?”

Boss: “Yes! Temporarily; we are trying to find solutions.”

Supervisor: “Everyone is grumbling because he’s leaving early!”

Boss: “It’s taken off of his days off.”

Supervisor: “But even so, it’s not normal for someone to leave early.”

Boss: “If he goes out on time, he doesn’t have any more trains, and I wouldn’t make him sleep outside, and if we leave him in the offices, we have to have someone to watch over him. Do you agree to stay here tonight?”

The supervisor left and agreed to let him go at 4:30 pm.

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So Much For Reliable Transportation

, , , , | Working | February 3, 2021

[Coworker #1] has a disability. Because of this, she is a part-time employee and a transportation service for disabled people drops her off in the morning and picks her up during the lunch break. 

One day, it is 12:40 pm when [Coworker #2] in the parking lot calls out to me.

Coworker #2: “Did you see [Coworker #1]? Her transport is here.”

Me: “Yes, I just spoke to her. I’ll get her.”

I run to the break room where [Coworker #1] is eating her yogurt. 

Me: “Your transport is here.”

[Coworker #1] starts finishing her yoghurt quickly.

Coworker #1: “They told me they were arriving at 1:10 pm.”

When [Coworker #1] gets outside:

Driver: “Ah, we waited for you!”

Coworker #1: “Uh, yes. I was told you were coming at 1:10 pm and I didn’t get a text message saying you’d be here earlier.”

Driver: “Yes, I forgot to take your number, but if you stay outside, there will be no problem.”

Coworker #1: “I should stay for an hour eating in the rain in case you’re early?”

Driver: “And if you answer me back, we’ll leave you here until 5:00 pm next time.”

The rest of us usually finish at five.

On another occasion, the receptionist receives a phone call from [Coworker #1]. 

Coworker #1: “I can’t come to work today. My transport just called me and they took someone in my place.”

[Coworker #1] is reliable, but the receptionist, with the advice of the executive secretary, decides to call the transportation service for disabled people to be sure.

Transport Employee: “Yes, we had an out-of-time registration, but it was someone important, and then we would have had to find a third driver and a third vehicle just to pick up one person. We had to refuse someone else, instead.”

Because of this, [Coworker #1] lost a day off. 

Unfortunately, that is the only company that offers this service in our city and [Coworker #1] has to make do with it. And having seen the reviews, she is not the only one to have problems with this company.

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Not Bready For This Level Of Cheapness

, , , | Right | December 28, 2020

I am visiting Paris with my family and we’re eating in a little café. At the front of the café, they have bread samples.

As we’re eating, an old lady runs up to the sample tray and stuffs all of the bread into her purse.

Worker: “Why did you do that?!”

Old Lady: *In broken English* “It is free so I can take as much as I want!”

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