It Was A Humbling Time For All Of Us

, , , , , , | Right | March 2, 2020

(I’m working at a coffee shop in Manhattan. Today is September 11, 2001, and it is about 20 minutes before the first reports of a plane hitting World Trade Center 1.)

Customer: “Can you hurry up? What is taking so d*** long to make my coffees?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. Usually, we have a large staff to take big orders but today most of the staff are out.”

Customer: *irritated* “Well, how is this my fault? You should be ready to take any orders that I give you! I have a big meeting at 9:00 at the World Trade Center! That makes me important and I should be the top priority!”

(I ignore him and continue making his drinks.)

Me: “Here you go, sir, your order of [ten different coffees] ready to go. Your total is [total].”

Customer: “About f****** time!”

(He rushes out, and then ten minutes later, the news stations start talking about that first plane. The whole ordeal of 9/11 happens. Then, about a week later, the same customer comes in with presumably his wife and daughter.)

Me: “Hello, sir, what is your order today?”

Customer: “Yeah, I’m not actually ordering anything, I just wanted to thank you.”

Me: “For what, sir?”

Customer: “I’m the jerk from last week yelling about his important meeting in Tower 1. The time it took for you to make my coffee made me just late enough that I was walking up to the building when the plane hit it.”

Me: *tearing up* “Oh, my God!”

Customer: “But that’s not important. You saved me from that horrible attack and I am still here for my wife and daughter.”

Customer’s Wife: *starts sobbing on her husband’s shoulder*

Customer’s Daughter: “Can I give you a hug?”

(I happily gave her a hug through my tears. Still to this day, knowing that I was able to save one family from those terrible attacks warms my heart.)

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Uknark, Uknark, Wherefore Art Thou Uknark?

, , , , | Learning | January 28, 2020

(We are reading a Shakespeare play in class. One of my classmates is a little bit dense.)

Teacher: “So, what time period is Shakespeare from?”

Everyone: “Elizabethan.”

Student: *completely serious* “The Stone Age.”

(The worst part is that that was the fourth Shakespeare play she had read.)

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Giving History The Finger

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 19, 2019

(My parents are visiting the nation’s capitol and I live nearby, so I meet up with them to tour the Smithsonian Museum of American History. At one of the exhibits is a statue of a colonial period woman holding her arm bent upwards with her palm facing towards her and her index finger pointing upwards. My dad and I are near this exhibit, as are a couple of girls who look to be around 14 or 15.)

Me: *jokingly to my dad* “Oh look, back then they used to flip each other off with this finger.”

Teenage Girl: *seriously* “Wow, really?”

Me: “No, that’s a joke.”

Teenage Girl: “Oh.”

Dad & Me: *silently cracking up as we walk away*

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One More Thing The Nazis Ruined

, , , , , | Related | November 21, 2019

(My parents are from India. My uncle is visiting and my mom is talking to him about a trip she took recently to the West Coast.)

Mom: “In the city, it was very segregated, you know! I stayed in the Chinese section, and everything was covered in Chinese lanterns and letters and all and the people were Chinese, and then I went to the Jewish section and everyone was wearing the black caps and the buildings all had Jewish symbols–”

Aunt: “Jewish symbols?”

Uncle: “Ah, like the blue star or the Swastika or something.”

Mom: “No! Not the Swastika! That is the symbol of the Nazis.”

Uncle: “Oh! See, I knew the westerners had corrupted that symbol and I knew that it was associated with the Jew.”

(To be fair, there are many Indians who wish the Allies should have lost the war because they know much more about the Bengal famine happening to Bengalis in India and other British atrocities in India than they know about the Holocaust happening to some faraway religion in some faraway place. However, my uncle represents the European and African foreign relations for his company that purchases and sells to people in Europe and Africa, making me wonder how many deals he’s lost in the past due to Nazis.)

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Cinco De Nono 

, , , , , | Right | November 20, 2019

(On Cinco de Mayo, we naturally receive a lot of customers; mysteriously, most of them tend to be obviously not of Hispanic descent. This occurs about two hours into what turns out to be a six-hour constant string of customers, what we term a “rush.” A customer rolls into the drive-thru and the order proceeds normally. At the end, she wishes me a happy Cinco de Mayo. I am not Hispanic but I politely respond as that is what is expected. The next occurs when we finally manage to get them to the window after everyone in front of them has gotten their food.)

Me: “Hello, your total is—”

Customer: *handing over money* “Happy Cinco de Mayo. You didn’t respond like you should.”

(I give back change and ask if they want sauce.)  

Me: “Ma’am, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican Holiday; all my ancestors are European. I honestly have no reason to celebrate it.”

Customer: “But you should! I mean, it was important to the outcome of the American Civil War!”

(My face is very screwed up as history has always been something I love.)

Me: “Ma’am, Cinco de Mayo was just the date of an important battle in the Mexican war for independence.”

Customer: “Yeah, it helped win the battle of Gettysburg.”

Me: “No, ma’am, it did not.”

Customer: “Yes, it did, and you’re wrong; when I get home I’m checking Wikipedia to prove it.”

Me: “Ma’am, you do know that anyone can edit Wikipedia and put whatever they want on it, regardless of its authenticity.”

Customer: “No, they can’t!”  

(At this point, we had her food, so I handed it out and she left.)

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