Volunteering, Can’t Believe What You’re Hearing

| Boulder, CO, USA | Working | December 25, 2015

(I’m the lead at a warming shelter on Christmas Day. We serve over 100 people with snacks, a warm place to rest, movies, and fellowship. Mid-day, I notice we’re low on cream cheese for the bagels, and cookies, so I dart out to the only grocery store in town open on Christmas.)

Me: *checking out* “I am so glad you’re open today! But I’m also really sorry you have to work today.”

Cashier: “Don’t worry about it, lady! I volunteered! I’m getting 42 bucks an hour!”

Likes Dem Apples Very Much

| Cedar Rapids, IA, USA | Right | December 23, 2015

(I work in a Midwest grocery store chain, known for helpful smiles. One of our regulars, a single mother of four, has come to my register with a large amount of groceries.)

Me: “Hello, how are you doing today?”

Regular: “Oh, we’re good. Celebrating [Youngest Son]’s birthday tomorrow.”

Me: “Oh, is that what this awesome birthday cake is for?”

(She nods, then chats idly with the young man in line behind her, who is a college student. After loading everything onto the belt, she looks at her oldest son and gives him her EBT card, as well as some cash while she runs to check on something. After she’s left the register, the man behind her speaks up.)

Male Customer: *to me* “Miss? I’d like to cover these folk’s groceries today.”

(I pause, as this has never happened before.)

Me: “I’m sorry; can you repeat that, sir?”

Customer: “I’d like to get this family’s groceries for them today. But on the down low. Anonymously, you know?”

(I nod, and he turns to the children.)

Customer: “Hey, don’t tell your mom, okay? I’m gonna cover your groceries for you today. Merry Christmas!”

(All four children are rather shocked, as am I, as the bill continues to grow larger. Once I ring everything up, I give him the total.)

Me: “All right. Well, sir, since you said you were going to cover it, it’s going to be $85 and change today.”

Customer: *nods, then adds his bag of apples before turning to the oldest child* “Here, I heard you say you wanted some apples, but your mom said you couldn’t get them today.”

(I add them to the total, and he slides his card only moments before the mother returns. This has all happened in less than two minutes.)

Me: “All right, here’s your receipt, ma’am, and have a Merry Christmas. And have a Happy Birthday, [Youngest Son].”

(My regular nods, smiles, glances between me and the male customer for a moment, then her children, then walks off. I start to ring up the male customer’s groceries, telling him how kind and generous I think he’s been when the mother comes back.)

Regular: “Wait, what just happened?”

Customer: *explains to the mother, whose eyes get wider as he speaks* “So, have a Merry Christmas, miss, and tell your son I said Happy Birthday.”

Regular: “Seriously? I mean, you really did that?”

(Customer nods.)

Regular: “Oh, my lord. Thank you. You don’t know what this means to my family. Thank you so much, and Merry Christmas to you, too!”

(She heads back to her children, on the verge of tears as she slowly walks out the door, shaking her head in amazement.)

Me: “Sir, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a kind thing in my life. Can I just say how amazing that was, and what a generous person you are?”

Customer: “Hey, it’s Christmas time. I’ve got the cash, and if I can help someone out, then I’ll do it. Those smiles lit up my day.” *pauses, then chuckles* “Of course, now I’ll have to get more apples. But that’s another day’s concern!”

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Not The Grapest Thief

| SC, USA | Friendly | December 22, 2015

(I am in a department store when I hear chewing noises. As I round the corner I find a very small boy standing at the display stand. He is two at the oldest. He looks up at me with a blank expression, cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk. His little arm is still buried to the wrist in an opened bag of grapes. I’m standing there in shock, because this tiny child is very clearly alone and is shoving the grapes into his mouth with this confused look, like he isn’t sure why I looked surprised. A woman comes up the aisle with her cart and catches sight of the teensy grape thief. She leans back, hand over her heart, and laughs hysterically.)

Woman: “I did that when I was a kid, back when you could walk to the store! Ooh, my mother would get so mad!”

(Then she strolled away, still laughing, leaving me standing there with the grape-eating baby. I just kind of stood there open-mouthed until someone I really really hope was the boy’s mother came over from two aisles away to put him in the cart and leave. Apparently the laughing woman thought that a baby stealing from a grocery store was funny. Wonder if the toddler’s mother felt the same way?)

Shred Away The Romance

| Scottsdale, AZ, USA | Romantic | December 22, 2015

(A friend and I are shopping for dinner when we ask an employee for help.)

Me: “Excuse me, where is the shredded parmesan cheese?”

Employee: “Right this way. If the two of you are planning a romantic wine and cheese night may I suggest a bottle of wine?”

Me: “Um, no, thanks.”

Friend: “I think he thought we were a couple.”

Me: “I’m more concerned he thought our wine and cheese night would be centered on shredded parmesan.”

Bah Humbug Gets Earlier Every Year

| UT, USA | Working | December 21, 2015

(The grocery store that I go to puts up its Christmas decorations (and all holiday decorations) even EARLIER than most, as it’s the pilot store. This means that it is the store that tries out all sorts of decoration configurations and ways to promote holiday products, to see what is most successful. I know that they get a lot of bad comments about their Christmas decorations; they even put up signs saying, “Don’t worry, we know it’s still Halloween…” explaining the situation. So, I decide to give them some kind words.)

Me: *to store associate* “You probably get a lot of flack for your Christmas decorations, so I’ll just say, I whole-heartedly approve. It looks great!”

Store Associate: “Well, good. I hate Christmas.”

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