Hunting For Kindness — And Finding It!

, , , , , , , , | Learning | April 26, 2020

I’m in my final year of high school. Partly because it’s an optional subject, there are only nine people in my chemistry class, and as a result, we’re quite a tight-knit class who get on well with the teacher. I’m sat between two friends, talking as we work.

Friend #1: “So, what are you both doing for Easter?”

Friend #2: “We might organise an Easter egg hunt for our cousins.”

Friend #1: “Ooh, that sounds fun. I wonder if I can convince my brother that we should do an Easter egg hunt. I haven’t done one for ages. How about you, [My Name]? Are you also going to do an Easter egg hunt?”

Me: “I don’t think I’ve ever done one, so probably not.”

There is silence as my friends stare at me.

Me: “What?”

Friend #1: “You’ve never done an Easter egg hunt?”

Me: “No?”

Friend #2: “But not even in primary school?”

Me: “Don’t think so.”

The teacher comes over to us.

Teacher: “Girls, I hope you’re talking about chemistry.”

Friend #1: “Miss, [My Name] has never done an Easter egg hunt before.”

Teacher: “Okay?”

Friend #1: “I really think this should be rectified.”

Teacher: “Do you want to do an Easter egg hunt, [My Name]?”

Me: “Uh. I mean, I wouldn’t say no to one but I don’t think my life has been worse off for it.”

Friend #2: “Miss, maybe [Friend #1] and I could set one up for her next lesson!”

Me: “What? Send me to hunt one egg? We could do that outside.”

Teacher: “All right, girls. Focus on your work. You can make plans later.”

We focus on our work and the topic is forgotten. Fast forward a few days to our next chemistry lesson.

Teacher: “Okay, everyone. We’re going to end the lesson a little early today. I’ll explain more later.”

We’re all curious but she won’t explain. We get our work done in the shorter timeframe and then put our books away, as requested.

Teacher: “All right. Now, I understand [My Name] has never done an Easter egg hunt. [Friends #1 and #2] feel strongly about this, so, in the spirit of Easter, I have hidden nine mini crème eggs around the room. You have until the bell rings to find them. Enjoy!”

We proceeded to spend the next ten minutes looking for the crème eggs, with a few lower school kids who had been sent in for bad behaviour even helping out. I asked my friends later but they said they had nothing to do with it. It’s been eleven years but I’m still a little touched that the teacher decided to do that for us, and I’ve never forgotten my first ever Easter egg hunt.

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This Opportunity Passed Them Over

, , , , , | Working | April 12, 2020

(It’s two days before Passover, so I head to the local supermarket to pick up supplies. It’s not the Jewish part of town, so I’m used to there not being much, but they’ve been solid in past years about having stuff even if the display tends to move around the store randomly. This year it’s wall-to-wall Easter candy and nothing else.)

Me: “Excuse me. Do you have the Passover supplies out yet?”

Clerk: “I know we got them in, they should be here somewhere. Hey [manager], where’s the Passover stuff?”

Manager: “Those aren’t going out until after Easter weekend.”

Me: “…as in this weekend.”

Manager: “Yes, they’ll be out on Monday.”

Me: “Passover starts on Friday. If you don’t put them out until Monday, the big meals with specialty treats will be over, everyone will have already stocked up on matzos, and you’re only going to sell to folks who need one more box mid-week.”

Manager: “I don’t know what to say; the display doesn’t go up until Monday. There are some matzos in the aisle with the other kosher foods.”

Me: “The ones with ‘not for Passover’ written on the box in big letters?”

Manager: “Oh, they’re not? Sorry, nothing else I can do.”

(I went across the street to the competitor, where they had plenty. I look forward to next year when that first store’s stock gets cut because of “low demand.”)

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They’re Some Bad Eggs

, , , , , | Friendly | April 12, 2020

When I am around five or six years old, my family decides they want to do something nice for the neighborhood, so they buy a great deal of candy and plastic eggs for a community Easter Egg Hunt. Easter morning arrives and a bunch of kids have already started hunting for eggs when two other kids from down the street arrive and ask to join.

Now, these kids aren’t exactly known for being the nicest children on the block, but my parents shrug and figure that everyone should have a chance. My dad speaks as he’s handing the kids their Easter baskets.

Dad:  “Okay, try to let the little kids get some eggs, too, guys! And please don’t roughhouse with anyone; we’re all just here for fun!”

Rowdy Kids: “Don’t worry; we’ll be good!”

They immediately run off, and the second the adults’ eyes are off of them, they start pushing kids over and taking eggs from their baskets. My dad pulls them aside after hearing the yelling and tells them off, informing them that if it happens again, they’ll be kicked out. I suppose he should kick them out right then, but he wants to be nice to everyone.

All seems well after that, aside from the bigger kids outrunning the toddlers and hoarding all of the eggs to themselves, so once all of the eggs are found, my dad announces:

Dad: “Okay, guys, since the little ones didn’t get the chance to get as much candy as everyone else, we’re going to redistribute it so everyone gets a fair share!”

The rowdy kids take off running before my dad even finishes his sentence. My parents look at each other in irritation and dismay, deciding just to have a discussion with their parents after the event is done. After the candy is given out and the cleanup is done, my parents go over to the kids’ house and explain the situation.

Rowdy Kid’s Mom: “Well, how is that my problem? Serves you right for letting them in!” *Shuts the door*

Yeah, my parents never did anything for the neighborhood after that. We always felt really badly for those kids, though, having parents like that. I hope they’re doing well now.

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A Good Job On A Bad Good Friday

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 10, 2020

Easter is a four-day weekend in the UK, Friday to Monday. It’s Good Friday morning, and we are on the Eurostar heading to Brussels for a weekend break. Most of the other travellers will be doing the same, or heading back home after working in London. The train stops unexpectedly in the countryside. An announcement explains that there has been some sort of accident ahead, a pole has been hit, and there are live electrical cables across the tunnel entrance. We spend several boring hours as the buffet car sells out of everything. Eventually, we start moving again, with a brief unscheduled stop to pick up bottles of water. None of the passengers can get off, because we have been through emigration and are not legally in the UK anymore.  

All in all, it’s a frustrating start to the weekend.

When we finally reach the tunnel, we can see the workers who fixed the problem sitting near the tracks with a cuppa and maybe a smoke. It’s a well-earned rest for them after they were presumably called away from their families on a day off, and have spent the morning working hard under pressure as trains backed up across the French and English countrysides.  

One of my fellow passengers rolls her eyes and says, “Look at them, just sitting there doing nothing!”

I point out they are doing nothing because they have finished the job!

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On April First, Trust No One

, , , , , , , | Healthy | April 1, 2020

My wife was in labor for about twenty hours before deciding to do a cesarean section. I am 6’8″ tall and about 300 pounds. During our visits through the pregnancy, I regularly joked around with the doctor. Even in the Lamaze classes, I would joke around, typically embarrassing my beautiful wife.

My oldest son was born via C-Section at 11:50 PM on March 31st. I was there, I watched, and I was exhausted. It was gruesome and awesome at the same time. 

I was extremely emotional —  had a son! I was crying tears of joy. 

After he was extracted from his nine-month sentence inside of my wife, he was swaddled appropriately by the nurses in the operating room. We were both then whisked away: him to the nursery to get de-munged, and me to see my large family — brothers, parents, 

Godparents, etc. — all of whom were at the hospital waiting in anticipation of the big event. 

So, there I was, telling my family that we had a beautiful boy, and that everyone was okay. I was blubbering as tears were still streaming.

All of a sudden, in an over-the-top manner, a nurse came running around the corner and said, “Mr. [My Name], Mr. [My Name]! They need you back in the operating room! The second one just came out!”

Huh, what? What? WHAT?! Oh, my God! I started running down the hall to go back to the operating room. I’ve never been considered graceful, and it really wasn’t pretty to see me lumbering down the hall.

I heard the nurse call out again, “MR. [MY NAME]!”

My response was dramatic and immediate as I spun to look at her. “WHAT?” I exclaimed. 

With a very calm demeanor and a twinkle in her eye, she said, very matter-of-factly, “April Fools.”

I could have been knocked over with a feather. I stammered and stammered. Meanwhile, my family, who witnessed the event, were in stitches enjoying the whole scene as it played out in front of them. 

In the operating room, my wife was laughing (while being stitched back together). All of this was the doctor’s idea, II suppose a little of my own medicine after enduring me throughout the pregnancy.  

It’s a story that I tell often, not only for the humor in it, but also because it was one of the greatest days of my life: the day I met a great person, my wonderful son.

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