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Courting Friendships

, | Learning | July 17, 2013

(I am in 9th grade. Most of the people in my gym class are also in 9th grade, making us all roughly the same age. There is one boy who is several years older than us, and in a special needs class. A few bullies in the class like to make fun of him for being mostly blind and mentally challenged. I’ve been his friend for about five years.)

Me: “Hey, [boy’s name]. Want to play basketball with me?”

Bully #1: “Why the f*** would you ask HIM to play?”

Bully #2: “He probably can’t even throw the f****** ball!”

(The boy has been quietly standing off to the side, pretending he can’t hear them.)

Boy: “Sure, I love playing basketball! Can I be on your team?”

Me: “Well, I don’t know how to actually play, but we can throw the ball and try to make baskets. Here, catch!”

(I toss the ball gently to the boy, who catches it with no problem.)

Me: “I’ll let you throw first. Can you make a basket from over there?”

(The boy walks over to the line that I point at, which is pretty far away from the basket. By now, most of the class is watching.)

Bully #2: “Dude, he’s gonna f*** it up. Just watch him f*** this up.”

(The boy stands there for a minute, looking back and forth between the spot where he’s standing and the basket. Then he launches the ball and it goes straight through the hoop without even bouncing off the rim. The whole class starts applauding and cheering, and the bullies are both shocked.)

Boy: “How was that? Just like when we play at church, right?”

Me: “Yeah, it is! That was really great!”

(I give him a hug. The bullies shuffle over, looking sheepish.)

Bully #1: “Hey, man… can we play, too? I want to be on YOUR team.”

(Everybody stopped making fun of the boy after that; the bullies even started to defend him!)

Courting Friendships

, | Friendly | July 17, 2013

(I am in 9th grade. Most of the people in my gym class are also in 9th grade, making us all roughly the same age. There is one boy who is several years older than us, and in a special needs class. A few bullies in the class like to make fun of him for being mostly blind and mentally challenged. I’ve been his friend for about five years.)

Me: “Hey, [boy’s name]. Want to play basketball with me?”

Bully #1: “Why the f*** would you ask HIM to play?”

Bully #2: “He probably can’t even throw the f****** ball!”

(The boy has been quietly standing off to the side, pretending he can’t hear them.)

Boy: “Sure, I love playing basketball! Can I be on your team?”

Me: “Well, I don’t know how to actually play, but we can throw the ball and try to make baskets. Here, catch!”

(I toss the ball gently to the boy, who catches it with no problem.)

Me: “I’ll let you throw first. Can you make a basket from over there?”

(The boy walks over to the line that I point at, which is pretty far away from the basket. By now, most of the class is watching.)

Bully #2: “Dude, he’s gonna f*** it up. Just watch him f*** this up.”

(The boy stands there for a minute, looking back and forth between the spot where he’s standing and the basket. Then he launches the ball and it goes straight through the hoop without even bouncing off the rim. The whole class starts applauding and cheering, and the bullies are both shocked.)

Boy: “How was that? Just like when we play at church, right?”

Me: “Yeah, it is! That was really great!”

(I give him a hug. The bullies shuffle over, looking sheepish.)

Bully #1: “Hey, man… can we play, too? I want to be on YOUR team.”

(Everybody stopped making fun of the boy after that; the bullies even started to defend him!)

Revenge Is Sweat

, | Learning | June 14, 2013

(I am overweight, but have been losing weight through the Zumba dance program. I have been doing half-hour classes and feel ready to start on the hour-long classes on top of those. My Zumba teacher is delighted, but this one particular newcomer… not so much.)

Newcomer: *to me* “Oh my GOD! You should not be here! The class hasn’t even started and you’re sweating like a pig! Do us all a favor and get out of here before you kill us with your stink!”

Me: “Excuse me, but I just finished the half-hour class that just ended. If I weren’t sweating, I would be worried.”

Newcomer: “Liar! You probably can’t even dance! You’ll just drag everyone down, so get out of here!”

(The instructor hears this and comes over.)

Instructor: “In this gym, we accept any and all who want to live a more fit life. Whether you think she can dance or keep up is a moot point. She is just as welcome as you are. Now get in line. Class is about to begin.”

(Since I have been doing this program for months, I dance like a madwoman and push to the very end. The newcomer struggles with one of the faster routines and sits out after only fifteen minutes of working out. After everyone else finishes…)

Instructor: “Very good, everyone. You all did a great job, whether you lasted for fifteen minutes, half the class, or the full hour… or if you were a bada** like [my name] and did both the half-hour and the hour-long classes! She kicked some major butt today, even though some people thought she was going to waste our time! Would you like to say anything to the class, [my name]?”

Me: “Yes. I am a fata**, but I can honestly say that I am bettering myself and I WORK for my sweat. I may go home looking disgusting, but I can at least say that today I worked out six times longer than a person half my weight who decided at the beginning of class that I couldn’t dance!”

(Everyone applauded and the newcomer grabbed her gear and slinked out. She never came back.)

To Give Credit Where It Is Due

| Right | June 6, 2013

(A gym member comes to the front sales desk and speaks with my coworker.)

Member: “I received a notice in the mail that there was an issue with my monthly billing. Could you help me figure this out?”

Coworker: “No problem.”

(My coworker proceeds to look over the member’s record in the computer.)

Coworker: “Ma’am, it appears that the credit card on file is no longer valid. That has caused your payments to be rejected.”

Member: “I don’t understand how that’s possible. Is this the card you have on file?”

(The member hands my coworker her credit card.)

Coworker: “No, ma’am. We have a different card number on file. Did you recently receive a new card from your credit card company?”

Member: “Yes, this is it. I don’t understand why they always have to change the card number and screw up all my bills like this.”

Coworker: “I know it can be quite frustrating, but don’t worry. I will take care of this for you, and have you back to normal in no time.”

(My coworker enters her new card number into the computer, takes the member’s past due payment, and hands her a receipt. The member then gathers her belongings and exits the building. No more than two minutes later, I see the same member coming back to the front desk with her receipt in hand. From previous experience, I know that this generally means the customer is upset about what they see on the receipt, and wants to yell at us.)

Me: “Uh oh, she’s back; brace yourself.”

(The member walks up to my coworker, and I wait for her to begin complaining.)

Coworker: “Hello again, ma’am. Is there something else I can help you with?”

Member: “Oh no, dear. I was half way to my car, when I realized I forgot to say thank you for all your help. So thank you, and I am so sorry for my lack of manners.”

Coworker: “It was my pleasure, ma’am. Have a wonderful day.”

Me: *dumbfounded*

The Mother Of All Answers

, | Learning | April 25, 2013

(I am about 12 years old and in seventh grade. I have some mental illnesses that earned me an IEP, or “independent educational plan” throughout my schooling. There is a specific teacher who deals with IEPs and is called into class if we “act out.”)

PE Teacher: “Why aren’t you wearing your PE shoes? I know you have issues changing out, but you NEED your shoes!”

Me: “We just got back from winter break and I grew. My PE shoes are too small.”

PE Teacher: “You need to put on your PE shoes.”

Me: “I can’t. They’re too small and hurt my feet.”

PE Teacher: “PUT THEM ON RIGHT NOW!”

Me: “Why can’t I just wear the shoes I have now? They’re also sneakers. Besides, you let [non-IEP student] wear her sneakers.”

PE Teacher: “She’s different than you! You need to put on your PE shoes RIGHT NOW or I’m calling [IEP Teacher]!”

(I do as she asks, begrudgingly. As expected, the shoes are too small and my feet begin to ache horribly. The above back and forth goes on for a while, until the PE Teacher decides to call my IEP teacher, insisting I’m just being difficult.)

IEP Teacher: “Why won’t you put on your PE shoes?”

Me: “They’re too small. We just got back from winter break, and I grew. They hurt my feet. Why can’t I just wear my other sneakers?”

IEP Teacher: “You need to wear your PE shoes.”

Me: “No. I won’t!”

IEP Teacher: “Fine. Come with me.”

(We leave class, but I’m only a little relieved; this IEP teacher is new and I don’t like her.)

IEP Teacher: “So, why wouldn’t you put on your PE shoes?”

Me: “They’re. TOO. SMALL. Please — I’ve been saying this for the last 45 minutes. The shoes I’m wearing are fine and if [non-IEP student] is allowed to wear her regular sneakers, why can’t I until I get new PE shoes?”

IEP Teacher: “No, you’re just being difficult.”

Me: *speechless*

IEP Teacher: “I’m going to call your mom, and she can come pick you up and take you to a shoe store to get you new PE shoes. Then you can come back here and finish the class.”

Me: “Let me get this straight… you’re going to call my mom while she’s at work, pull me out of school during class, and take me to get new shoes, and then COME BACK to FINISH the class? All in 20 minutes?”

IEP Teacher: “Yes, exactly!”

Me: “That’s f****** bull****.”

(I head back to PE class and, to my surprise, am not punished for my language. I later learn the following occurred seconds after I left when the IEP teacher still called my mom.)

IEP Teacher: “Your child cursed at me! She said an order I gave her was [curse].”

My Mom: “That’s odd. She wouldn’t curse like that unless she was given a reason. What did you tell her?”

(The IEP Teacher repeats her shoe shopping idea to my mom.)

My Mom: “Wait… so you want me to take time off work in the middle of the day, pick up my kid, take her to a shoe store so she can get some new PE shoes, and then somehow bring her back to school and sign her in in time to finish the class that, at now, only has 15 minutes left?”

IEP Teacher: “Yes, that’s all I asked!”

My Mom: “That’s f****** bull****.” *hangs up*