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Positive, feel-good stories

Why Libraries Should Outlive Us All

, , , , , , | Right | May 10, 2022

I have been a librarian for over thirty years. We are a relatively big library in our town, and one of the more conveniently located libraries — right across from a middle school, by a major store, and near a dog park. But when the health crisis hit, we went from being in person to being only pick up in the car. Our state considered us essential. People for the most part were understanding about it, though we did have some interesting people. The absolute best patron, though, was one who remembered our names.

She would drive up, and when we came out, she would always have a smile and try and make conversation. This girl would constantly check out ten to twenty books every week and return them promptly every Monday. The odd thing was that the books were all over the place; some days it would be mysteries and sometimes it would be classics or nonfiction.

When we finally opened back up, she was there that Monday afternoon with a big plate of cookies and donuts from the local bakery with a card letting us know how much she appreciated us, especially since she knew that we had a lot of work to get out all her books. I finally asked her if she was reading all those books, because honestly, we were always curious.

Customer: *Laughing* “I read some of them, but I didn’t want the library to go under during this, so I figured if I could get as many books as I could checked out, they would see that this was a necessary thing.”

I admit my eyes were a little teary. And now, nearly six months after we have fully opened, she still checks out that many every week.

Straight Into The Deep End

, , , , , , | Working | May 10, 2022

I started a new job as a banker about a month ago. Both my manager and the other banker, who is training me, end up out on unexpected medical leave for unrelated reasons within ten days of each other. I then get slammed with a bunch of stuff that I’ve not yet been trained on.

Thankfully, the bank I work for has a support line that branch staff can call for help. I call it multiple times. I get the same representative every time. After the fifth call, which requires a long explanation…

Representative: “…but it depends on your branch, really. I’d ask your manager to see how she wants it processed. You’ve called quite a bit today. Is your manager out?”

Me: “Yep.”

Representative: “Ah. Maybe you can hold the paperwork until she gets back.”

Me: “She’s on medical, so we’re not really sure when that will be.”

Representative: “Do you have a second banker to ask?”

Me: “She’s on medical, too.”

Representative: “So, there are no other bankers at all?”

Me: “Correct. Just me and our tellers.”

Representative: “Hmm. How long have you been a banker?”

Me: “About a month.”

Representative: “Oh, honey. Talk about getting thrown in the deep end. Please call us any time!”

Me: “That’s sweet, but I’ve already bothered y’all enough today!”

Representative: “Now, I mean it. You call us as much as you need to! What branch are you at?”

After that, every time I called, every representative greeted me with a cheerful, “Hello, [My Name] from [Branch]!” They even walked me through several tricky processes, step by step! They were lifesavers during the two weeks when I was working by myself. I don’t work there anymore, but I’ll never forget how kind those representatives were. If you’re reading this, thanks, ladies!

Compliment Confidence And Watch It Grow

, , , , , | Learning | May 7, 2022

I went through some serious mental health struggles all throughout my high school years. This was further exacerbated in college because I decided to go out of state and basically lost my entire support system.

In my freshman year, I was all but forced to withdraw from my gen-ed chemistry class because, between my mental health and my natural disinterest in the subject, I didn’t have any motivation to turn in any homework or lab reports. My professor for that class was also the ONLY one to notice my struggles and to try and reach out to me, but I wasn’t really receptive to getting help at that point.

A year later, I started digging myself out of my hole, so I decided to retake the class with the same professor. On this particular day, we had an exam. I finished a bit early, handed my test to my professor, and left the room like usual for her exams. Unbeknownst to me, she actually followed me out into the hall.

Professor: “[My Name]?”

Me: “Uh, yes?”

Professor: “I just wanted to say great job on your confidence this semester. You’ve come a long way.”

Me: *Genuinely shocked* “Oh, thank you. I’m… I’m really trying.”

Even though it was just a small comment, it really hit me hard after everything. I cried the whole way back to my dorm.

Sometimes The Least You Can Do Is The Best Thing You Can Do

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | May 6, 2022

When I was fifteen, I caught the same bus every Saturday to get to my flute lesson. I usually left early so I had some time to spare. One such Saturday morning, I left even earlier than usual. It was fairly cold and there was a light rain, so I was wearing an long, red coat and had a decent-looking umbrella. I’ve been told before that this outfit made me look around eighteen, so maybe that’s why the things that happened the way they did.

I made it to my bus stop and sat down to wait. The only other person there was a girl in her twenties. She was crying and clutching a single piece of paper. I also noticed that she wasn’t wearing anything warm, despite the weather. I felt really bad for her.

Me: “Are you all right?”

She looked at me, swallowed, and said:

Girl: “I just got some bad news.

Me: *Concerned* “Do you want to talk about it?”

That seemed to be the tipping point, and she broke down in front of me. She explained through tears that she’d gone to her doctor to check a lump on her neck and that she’d just gotten the results back. It was a tumour. She didn’t know if it was malignant, but her doctor wanted her back immediately for more testing.

I sat with her for about ten minutes. She told me that her friend was picking her up to take her to the appointment, but she didn’t know how long they would be. I didn’t really know what to do, but I just wanted to make sure she was all right. Then, my bus came. The girl waved me away, trying to smile, saying that she would be fine. Feeling guilty, I got on. I was the only person on board. The bus driver looked equally worried.

I didn’t even make it a single stop before I felt bad about leaving her in the rain by herself. I asked the driver to stop early. Since I was the only person there, he let me off, telling me to make sure the girl was all right. I ran the whole way back. Luckily, the girl was still sitting there waiting. She looked shocked that I’d come back but a little glad, too.

Me: “I really don’t think you should be alone right now.”

I sat with her for another ten minutes, talking with her and trying to distract her until her friend came. When her friend’s car finally appeared, she started thanking me profusely. Her friend pulled up and leaned over from the driver’s seat, asking what was going on.

Girl’s Friend: “Thank you so much for staying with her. [Girl] called me and I came as fast as I could, but the traffic was terrible. Do you want a lift since you missed your bus?”

Me: “No, it’s all right. I was early anyway. I just hope everything turns out all right.”

Girl: *Through tears* “Thank you. It really means a lot that you did that. I’m sorry to have just dumped it all on you. Thank you so much.”

Me: “It’s fine. That’s just something you shouldn’t have to sit alone with. I only did what I thought was best.”

Girl’s Friend: “Are you sure you don’t want a lift?”

I shook my head, wished [Girl] good luck, and waved them off. They thanked me again multiple times and then slowly drove away. Even though I ended up being a few minutes late for my lesson, I’ll never forget the way [Girl] thanked me for simply sitting with her and listening. [Girl], if you’re out there, I really do hope you’re okay and that everything turned out all right in the end.

Good Samaritans Spreading Good Cheer

, , , | Right | May 3, 2022

I worked at a large retail chain, and I got to meet one of the many good Samaritans who help pay off layaway.

Good Samaritan: “I want to pay off things for kids, like bikes and such. No video games — I want to pay for things that keep kids playing.”

Then, after we went through all those tabs, they still had money left.

Me: “What’s next?”

Good Samaritan: “You decide.”

I picked tickets for customers who I knew were elderly or on a tight budget and let the person decide. That was seriously one of the best times ever. They wanted to just quietly come in, pay off useful tickets, and help others.

When I got to make the list of calls that tabs were paid off, some of the people wanted to know who did it so they could thank the person. However, the good Samaritan made me promise not to call any of them until I was done and they left the store. And to this day, I’ll never tell anyone who it was. But the joy for some of those people was amazing that I even cried with a couple when they came to get their items.