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Simon Says…

, , , , , , | Right | November 12, 2021

This happened back in the 1990s. For a couple of years, during the summer, I did residential voluntary work at a charity holiday home for the elderly and disabled, until the charity sadly had to sell the property. It was the opportunity for couples and individuals to go away for two weeks and have other people help look after them.

There were a lot of volunteers, and we were each assigned to one or two guests to provide as much help as they needed throughout the day and night. We were also expected to help other guests if their volunteers were not available. There was always at least one fully trained nurse or doctor on the premises at all times.

It was hard work, but I loved every minute of it… except possibly that time I was woken up at 2:00 am by the nurse to help change my guest’s sheets, as they were urine-soaked. He’d not wet the bed, but the idiot who emptied his catheter the evening before had forgotten to close the tap. But before anyone says the nurse should have woken up the idiot and gotten him to clear up the mess, I can assure you she did. Let’s just say that half-asleep me soon woke up and was very apologetic. Both the guest and his wife were all right about it; it wasn’t the first time that had happened to them, and I made certain I didn’t do that again!

To say this next thing was an annoyance would be a massive overstatement. It was more a mild frustration that quickly become a bit of a running joke: no one could remember my name. We all had name badges — those plastic types with a removable card. Mine clearly said, “Stephen”, but I was always called “Simon”. Everyone else was called by the right name, but for some reason, no one could remember mine.

I didn’t get cross, nor did I blame anyone. It could be because of their eyesight or memory; that’s hardly their fault. I did always politely correct them, which worked briefly, but by the next time they saw me, I had reverted back to being Simon. One of the biggest “offenders” was a lovely gentleman who was recovering from a stroke. It was all taken in good humour, but I really did want people to stop calling me Simon.

So, after a day or two of this, I removed the card, turned it over, and wrote, “NOT SIMON”. And it worked! They stopped calling me Simon!

Everyone — the staff, the volunteers, and the guests (especially Lovely Recovering Stroke Chap) — happily called me “Not Simon” instead. Ah, well.

And as an epilogue, LRS Chap improved incredibly well over the course of his holiday. He was wheelchair-bound at the start, but after every meal, he would try walking a few steps. He went from only managing three or four steps at the start of the holiday to managing over one hundred unassisted steps by the end!

Sounds Like Sunshine, On A Cloudy Day

, , , , , | Right | November 10, 2021

Me: “You have reached [Hotel]. My name is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Caller: “Hi, I’m trying to get in touch with my girl. Can you put me through?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I will need to know the guest’s name in order to forward your call.”

Caller: “I just told you, my girl.”

Me: “I apologize again but I will need to know your girl’s name if you would like to reach her room.”

Caller: “Her? Girl? What?… I’m trying to reach Mike Earl. Michael Earl!”

Don’t Blame Her; Blame Her Husband!

, , , , , , | Working | November 5, 2021

I used to work at the front desk of a private university. There was one other person in my position and we would swap off on morning and evening shifts. There were about two and a half hours where our shifts would overlap and it was around that time that the mail arrived.

My first coworker had a very long last name that wasn’t easy to spell, so when our delivery guy found out my last name was only five letters, he would just use my name to confirm delivery.

When that coworker left for another job, the new coworker had an equally long — but somehow harder to spell — last name, so the delivery guy continued using my name for confirmation while the three of us joked about it.

Fast forward a few months. I’d just gotten married and I was back in the office for the first time since when the delivery guy came by.

Delivery Guy: “Hey, you’ve been gone a while. It’s [Maiden Name], right?”

Me: “Actually, I just got married. It’s now [Longer Name that’s hard to spell].”

The guy looked up from his tablet, distraught.

Delivery Guy: “Why would you do that to me?!”

They Must Be A Joy At A Comedy Club

, , , , | Right | November 3, 2021

I work at a call center that works directly with a specialty physician’s office. We’re basically here so that the people who work in that office aren’t overloaded with checking patients in and out, taking and making calls, dealing with insurances, and refilling medications.

I always try to keep a cheery disposition because the stuff our patients deal with is not easy and often leads to chronic pains along with being immunocompromised. Most patients really love this, as it helps cheer them up and helps me build rapport.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Specialty]. This is [My Name]; how can I help you today?”

Caller: “[Wrong Pronunciation Of My Name]?”

Me: “Actually, it’s [My Name].”

Caller: “[Second Wrong Pronunciation]?”

This isn’t unusual. My name is often confused with others due to the spelling and pronunciation so it’s often misheard and I just try to accept it to move on.

Me: *Chuckling* “Ha, don’t worry about it. You can just call me [Easy-To-Pronounce Nickname].”

Caller: *In a mocking tone* “F****** h***, quit your laughing. You’re at work, for Christ’s sake.”

Me: *Taken aback* “I-I, err, sor—”

Caller: “You know what? F*** this. I’ll just f****** call back later.”

With that, she hung up. I was left wondering the rest of the day where it was that I went wrong. Can’t win them all, I guess.

You Forgot “Master And Commander”

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: nategolon | October 21, 2021

Years ago, I worked at a busy, corporate sit-down burger restaurant. One day, I’m hustling through the lunch rush, and I have six college guys sit down. One guy flags me over right away.

Customer: *Loudly* “We’re ready to order!”

Me: “What are you guys having?”

Customer: *Smirking* “Guys? Guys? That doesn’t sound like a very professional greeting to me. I work at a restaurant, too, and if I walked up to a table and asked, ‘What are you guys having?’ my manager would definitely let me know that was inappropriate.”

The other guys at the table look kind of uncomfortable at this exchange and just silently sit there. The main guy looks around at all of them and keeps going.

Customer: “Why don’t you come up to us again and do it right?”

I’m looking around at my massive section of tables and getting the distinct feeling I’m going to be at this table forever. I’m trying not to lose my cool, so I smile.

Me: “Sure.”

I take several steps back and walk up again.

Me: “Gentlemen, how are you all doing? Ready to order?”

The main guy smirks and nods. I look directly at him.

Me: “How about you, chief? What are you having today?”

Some of the other guys laugh. He looks angrily at me but orders his burger and a drink. I get everyone’s order and hustle off.

I return with drinks a little while later. I set everyone’s drinks down and do the main guy last.

Me: “Here you go, boss.”

I leave before he can say anything. Through the course of their meal, I call him a different nickname every time.

Me: “You need a refill, pal?”

Me: “How’s your burger, buddy?”

Me: “Need more ketchup, bro?”

Me: “Can I get that plate out of your way, dude?”

Me: “Any dessert for you, amigo?”

Me: “Need me to split your check, brother?”

Me: “Make sure to leave me one signed copy, muchacho.”

By this time, this guy is boiling. His friends are loving it, though. As time has gone on, the rest of them keep looking at me expectantly. What nickname next?

Finally, they all get up to leave. The lunch rush has ended and I’m chilling at this point. I casually walk up to them.

Me: “Thank you, gentlemen, for coming in.”

The rest of the group is smiling. I look at the main guy.

Me: “And you… you have a fantastic day… hoss.”

The rest of the guys cheered. They all headed out. I grabbed all their receipts on the table. Surprise, surprise, the main guy left me zero for a tip. I didn’t care. It was all worth it.