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Positive, feel-good stories

This Is Why We Need Libraries

, , , , , , , , | Right | November 26, 2022

I work in a public library. A woman comes up to our help desk with a young girl about five or six years old. It should be noted that the woman is white, but the young girl is black.

Patron: “Hello. Long story short, I am fostering this girl while her asylum application is going through the motions. Her English is limited, but she’s fluent in French. My French is okay, but I’m having trouble explaining the concept of a library.”

Me: “My coworker is fluent in French. Maybe she can explain easier?”

Patron: “Thanks, but I don’t think it’s a translation issue. I just don’t think she understands the concept.”

Me: “Hmm. I’ll call my coworker over and let’s see what we can do.”

I call my coworker over, who is originally from Martinique. After explaining the situation, he starts speaking to the little girl. What they say was translated to me after.

Coworker: *To the little girl* “So, how it works is that you look at the books. When you find one you like, you bring it to me or to my friend here, and we make a note. Then you can borrow it!”

Little Girl: “What does ‘borrow’ mean?”

Coworker: “It means that as long as you promise to bring it back when you have finished reading it, you can take it home.”

Little Girl: “But I have no money.”

Coworker: “It’s okay. You don’t need money. You just need to bring the book to me or my friend. As long as you’re with your guardian, we can sort out the rest.”

Little Girl: “So… I can read the books?”

Coworker: “Yes!”

Little Girl: *Eyes going wide, looking around the whole place* “I can read… all the books?”

Coworker: *Laughing* “Haha, yes, as fast as you can read them!”

She is simply awestruck. She slowly turns around, as if the sheer size of the place is finally dawning on her. She then tugs on the shirt of her foster mum.

Little Girl: “Let’s go find the books!”

She checked out with five books (the maximum for a child dependent on an adult library card) and she was back within days to return them and check out five more.

After a few months of this, and as her English improved unbelievably quickly (I wonder how that was happening?) she was able to get her own card, and her voracious appetite for books increased as a result.

Sixteen years later, the asylum application is a thing of the past, and this little girl is now a young woman studying for her degree in Literature. She uses our library for all her resource materials.

At the time of writing this story, she currently has the maximum number of books out on loan and has never been late in returning or extending their loans.

Thankful For That Last Call

, , , , , | Right | November 24, 2022

I work as an at-home technical support advisor for a popular electronics company. It is Thanksgiving Day, and for the first time in seven years, I get to spend it with my family. I am scheduled to clock out at 4:00 pm. At 3:20, I take a call from a very sweet, elderly woman. We resolve her issue in about fifteen minutes and we begin to just chat.

Caller: “Do they have you all working from home?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. Most of our physical locations are still closed.”

Caller: “That’s good. Do you get to have dinner with your family?”

Me: “Yes! For the first time in seven years. I’m so excited.”

Caller: “Oh, that’s lovely! What time are you off?”

Me: “I’m off at four.”

Caller: “If someone calls just before the end of your shift, do you have to take the call?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. And I won’t be able to clock out until that call has been resolved.”

Caller: “Oh. In that case…”

She asks me the most random questions. Can our earbuds hear our thoughts? Do they talk about us behind our backs while in their charging case? Why are they called smartphones when their intelligence is severely limited? It is hard not to laugh; she seems so serious. We ponder possible answers, and then…

Caller: “Well, my dear, I think it’s time we both join our families for dinner.”

It took me a moment to realize she had intentionally kept me on the phone so I wouldn’t have to take another call right before the end of my shift. It was officially 4:00 and she was clearing me to clock out on time.

My voice cracked as I practically declared my undying love for her. We wished each other happy holidays and ended the call.

I had a wonderful time with my family. I will always be incredibly grateful for that woman.

A Little Slice Of Doing The Right Thing

, , , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: MelonGodVEVO | November 23, 2022

I work for a pizza place. I’ve been delivering for about three weeks now, and tips are either really bad or pretty good.

I go to the door for a delivery and a kid answers; his mom is in the back. I hand him the order: a personal pizza.

Me: “Hi. Your total is [total].”

I’m pretty sure he is just happy to pay for something because, without hesitation, he hands me a $100 bill, claps, and runs to his mom to tell her he paid.

I don’t notice it is a hundred and think it is ten, so I walk back to my car. Then, I see that the bill he gave me has that blue line and gold 100 on it. I get really happy, but I realize that I’d feel guilty if I left.

I go back and knock on the door. The mom answers and looks really confused. I show her the bill.

Me: “Your little boy gave me this.”

Mom: “[Boy], come here, please.” *To the boy* “Where did you get this?”

Boy: “I got it from your purse!”

Mom: *To me* “I’m so glad you brought this back; it was supposed to be for our groceries this week.”

In the end, I got a $3 tip, but I didn’t mind since I’d just saved a family from going hungry for a couple of days.

This Customer Is ALWAYS Right

, , , , , , , | Right | November 17, 2022

I am sixteen, and it is my first day working at a tiny rural convenience store. My coworker is showing me the ropes.

Coworker: “Oh, since you’re here until the afternoon, you’ll get to meet Giles.”

Me: “Who is Giles?”

Coworker: “He’s the best customer ever! Can’t wait for you to meet him.”

Me: “Cool.”

My coworker is on lunch break, and I am manning the checkout. The manager of the store swings by; he’s not always there.

Manager: “Has Giles come by yet?”

Me: “I’m not actually sure.”

Manager: “Oh, you’d know if he did. He’s our favorite customer!”

Me: “So I’ve been told, but I don’t know what he looks like.”

Manager: “Trust me, you’d know. Well, I am glad I haven’t missed him. I’ll be in the office. Let me know when he comes by.”

I nod, but honestly, short of asking every customer if they happen to be Giles, I have no idea how to fulfill that request. Luckily, my coworker comes back from lunch and I get to go on mine. I come back and work until around mid-afternoon.

Suddenly, there’s a single bark from the front of the store. I see my coworker giddily rush around the checkout, rapping on the office door as he does so. Both my coworker and my manager head outside and are excitedly met by the happiest golden retriever I’ve ever seen. They give the little guy hugs and some small treats that seem to magically appear from their pockets.

My coworker then unzips a fanny pack wrapped around the dog and takes out some cash and a piece of paper. He then runs around the store, collects three or four small items, and places them into the fanny pack, zipping it back up.

After one more round of hugs and treats, the golden retriever knows it’s time to leave and happily trots off down the street.

Me: “Giles?”

Coworker & Manager: *Both beaming huge smiles* “Giles.”

It turned out that Giles’s owner was disabled and lived literally thirty seconds away, but even this was a challenge for her at times. She would send her support dog on small grocery runs on weekday afternoons while her carer made a daily visit, and then she’d come in for the bigger grocery run on the weekends.

Giles was quickly my favorite customer, too!

Grandma Says, “No Orphans Left Behind”

, , , , , | Related | November 17, 2022

I’m writing this for my grandmother, who doesn’t speak a single word of English.

Grandma has lived her whole life in rural China, in one of those really backwater villages that basically remained unchanged by time, even now. The only major highlight of the village is that it runs an orphanage for the surrounding region. It came into existence to take care of unwanted and abandoned girls due to China’s One Child Policy, and it was rather communal.

Nearly every housewife in the village chipped in to help take care of the children, and Grandma in particular was essentially the manager of the place. She basically ran the orphanage for decades, refusing to retire or close shop no matter what.

Things back then weren’t so good. Girls were rarely ever adopted, and most wound up being shipped off to the cities as trophy wives. It got better over time — fewer abandoned girls, better funding and organisation, and these days, those who aren’t adopted are sent to an actual school in the cities — but back then, it was quite horrible.

One day, I found my grandmother sobbing in a corner. At first, I was worried, but she reassured me they were happy tears.

Apparently, one of the old orphans from the “Bad Old Days” had come by. She was of the few who had been adopted, so Grandma could remember who she was. 

This particular orphan was now a Canadian citizen and had a career, and after marriage, she decided to adopt a pair of girls as her way of giving back to the community.

Imagine that. She was apparently fine with adopting from any old orphanage, but her husband had painstakingly tracked down the very same orphanage she had come from, all in order to allow his wife to come full circle. This was no small feat considering she’d been adopted a quarter of a century ago, way before anything was digital.

Grandma says that running an orphanage is a thankless job, but it’s moments like these that keep her going.