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Positive, feel-good stories

Sikh-ing To Help

, , , , , | Right | September 19, 2021

A customer calls in with an address in an area with a strong Indian community. His name is Punjabi, as are most Sikhs’ names.

Me: “Thank you for calling. Can I have your name, please?”

Caller: “[First Name] Singh. I need [describes problem].”

That is his real surname, which is pertinent to the story.

Me: “I can help with that. Your security question is, ‘What is your mother’s maiden name?’.”

Caller: “Kaur.”

This is also relevant. I handle his query… and then I go off-script.

Me: “Mr. Singh, may I ask a personal question?”

Caller: “Yes?”

Me: “Are you a Sikh?”

Caller: “Yes… is this relevant?”

Me: “Well, I’m slightly concerned about the security on your account. Sikhism requires its believers to take a certain surname. Singh for men and Kaur for women?”

Caller: “Yes…?”

Me: “Well, if I wanted to hack into your account, guessing your mother’s maiden name would be very easy. If you are Mr. Singh or you wear a turban, your mother is like Mrs. Kaur. Your first name is also Punjabi.”

Caller: “Oh… oh! Can I change that?”

Me: “Yes, sir. You can change it to anything you like. For example, your first school or just a made-up password.”

He changes his password to something else.

Caller: “Out of interest, is that in your training?”

Me: “No, I’ve just had a few Sikh friends. I used to be able to name the 5 Ks.”  

Caller: “Kesh, kara, kanga, kaccha, and kirpan!”

Me: “Yes, the five things you must keep on you at all times. I’m glad to have been able to help you today, Mr. Singh!”

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So Happy That You Missed A Payment

, , , , , , | Right | September 16, 2021

I received a phone call in mid-January from a credit card company. With the craziness of the holidays, I had managed to miss a payment. The agent I spoke with was understanding and we actually chatted about life and motherhood and the craziness it can cause in one’s life.

All in all, the total phone call was probably only about forty-five minutes, including making a payment.

A few days later, as I’m walking out to check the mail, I notice a box on the porch from an online flower delivery company. My first thought is, “Oh, no, someone misdelivered a package to my house.” I pick it up to see if the address is close so I can drop it off and, to my surprise, it not only has my address but my name!

I take it inside, and I’m not gonna lie here, I’m already teary-eyed. When I open the box, there are two dozen yellow roses in a beautiful white and blue vase. I find the card and the surprises just keep coming. Not only have I got flowers, but they are from a complete stranger located in a different state!

The agent has sent me flowers with a note of encouragement from one mom to another. I sit down on my kitchen floor and cry like a baby. I’m so touched that not only a stranger but someone I only talked to for less than an hour took the time to send me some encouragement and flowers!

I call the card company. The nice man who answers the phone tells me I can’t be transferred to a specific agent, so I ask for a manager. When I get one, I tell her the whole story and, while starting to cry again, ask if she can please pass on my thanks and let the agent’s supervisor know what an amazing person they have working for them.

To that agent, wherever you are, I hope you know you made my day, week, and possibly year. It is things like this that remind me that while there is trouble, anger, and hate in the world, there is also kindness, generosity, and love for our fellow man.

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A Quarter A Tray Brings Kindness To Stay

, , , , , , , , | Learning | September 14, 2021

In 1998, I was in my junior year of high school. School lunches were broken up into four periods, each lasting thirty minutes, to accommodate the nearly 1,600 students in my school.

Some kids brought lunch, and for those of us that purchased lunch at school, we were given trays to carry our food on. The use of a tray incurred a $0.25 deposit in your total. If you purchased $5.00 worth of food, you’d actually be charged $5.25 with that extra 25 cents for the tray. The idea here was to encourage students to clean up after themselves, bus their garbage to a nearby trash can, and then return the tray to the Quarter Lady. I don’t know if any of us actually knew her real name; she was just referred to as the Quarter Lady because she’d take the empty and clean tray — couldn’t have gobs of food stuck to it or garbage on it — and then hand you a quarter for returning the tray to her.

During the lunch period, some students either didn’t have much money or found it was easy to earn a few extra bucks by going from table to table and offering to return people’s trays and clearing their garbage for them. Most other students didn’t mind if they ran trays back to earn a few bucks to buy lunch.

A few weeks into the school year, [Student], who normally came by to ask for trays from time to time, started asking everyone if he could bus their trays. We didn’t know why. No one really made any noise about the situation he was trying to help out with, not at least until a few days later.

Word had been getting around that the Quarter Lady — an older lady, maybe in her late sixties or early seventies — had been diagnosed with some sort of cancer and students had been wondering why we hadn’t seen her at the tray return location to hand out quarters.

It seems that [Student] had been running all the trays he could so he could start a donation for the Quarter Lady. All the quarters he gathered, he would give back to the other lunch staff. Pretty soon, all the students were donating their quarters and other change in a donation bin set up at the tray return.

For the life of me, I cannot remember what happened with the Quarter Lady, but I do remember that the students raised almost $15,000 by the end of the school year.

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There’s “Thank You” And Then There’s Literally Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: RealPokesatsu | September 11, 2021

I work at a grocery store where, as a bagger and stocker, sometimes I help people take groceries to their cars. I don’t mind doing so because I like taking a breather before going back to work. I never expected anything in return.

A few days ago, a woman I’ve helped a few times stopped me before I went back inside. She gave me $20.

I told her I couldn’t accept it because I didn’t do that much to help her, and she might need it for something later on. She looked a bit sad.

Customer: “Honey, I’ve been shopping here every Thursday afternoon since this store opened. I’ve met so many employees over the past few years, but none… none… have offered to help me load groceries into my car. The cashier usually asks, and then if I say yes, the bagger looks annoyed and does a rushed job. I’ve had crushed bread and broken eggs, and one even stole some sandwich meat from me. However, I’ve heard you ask every customer if they need help to their cars. Usually, they say no, but you at least offer. Take this as a thank you from us old folk and back pay tips from the past few trips. At least let me do this for you. I know this job probably doesn’t pay well right now.”

I didn’t know what to say. She stuffed the $20 in my shirt pocket, patted my chest, and walked to the front of her car. As she got in, she asked me how much the job pays and why I was here.

Me: “$8.25 an hour, but it’ll be $10 by the end of the year. I’m getting my own apartment soon, I’m saving up for a car, and my hobbies cost a pretty penny sometimes. I take every hour I can get.”

She nodded, said to have a good day, and drove off. When I got my new schedule for the next week, I was working every day but Saturday. This was odd, so I asked my manager if something went wrong or if someone quit. He said no.

Manager: “Make sure your apartment is always clean, show me your car when you get it, and if your hobbies are expensive from time to time, let me know when you need more hours to afford them.”

[Customer] asked my manager to give me more hours. I almost cried. I never expected anything in return. I just wanted to save money so I can move out of my mom’s boyfriend’s house and get my life together. Now, that might be easier.

THANK YOU, [CUSTOMER]!

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Teamwork Can Move Mountains… Or At Least Trees

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 10, 2021

One evening when I was young, the Seattle area was experiencing one of its windstorms, which can produce winds up to ninety miles an hour. My dad came home from work a bit later than usual. He explained that the road had been blocked by a tree felled by the wind. When he got to the downed tree, he was in a small line of traffic; people were honking their horns and he saw the same thing on the other side of the tree.

Dad is pragmatic. He turned on his hazard lights, shut off his engine, got out of the car, went to the driver of the stopped car in front of him, and explained a plan.

Dad: “There are at least a dozen cars blocked by this tree, meaning there are at least a dozen drivers. Surely we can lift the tree together and move it out of the way. Honking certainly isn’t going to move it, and it’s not on any power lines or anything dangerous.”

And he was right: there were enough drivers and passengers who were willing and able to pick up the tree and carry it to the side of the road. After a couple of minutes, traffic was able to pass the road as usual.

I still live in the greater Seattle area, and since getting my driver’s license, I have twice been in the same situation. Both times, I’ve done what my dad did, telling the other drivers, “A while back, this happened to my dad, and he had an idea…” And every time, we get the tree moved in a matter of minutes. Teamwork for the win!

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