Enough To Bring A Teal To Your Eyes

, , , | Hopeless | May 1, 2016

(I volunteer for our local museum during a popular traveling Sherlock Holmes exhibit. When it is slow, I will walk along with visitors and chat. I am walking with a young mom and her four-year-old daughter. They love the exhibit, and go to the gift shop. I am on a break and stop by the gift shop to say hi to the woman working the register.)

Little Girl: “Hey! You are the lady that helped us!”

Me: “Yes, I am. Did you find anything?”

(She shows me a handful of marbles, one in every color we offered.)

Little Girl: “What is your favorite color?”

Me: “I really like the teal ones.”

(She scampers away, and I don’t think much of it as I have these conversations with kids a lot. I am talking with the mom when her daughter comes back.)

Little Girl: “Here! This is for you!”

(She hands me a teal marble.)

Me: “it’s beautiful, thank you!”

Little Girl: “It’s a friendship marble. Now we’ll always be friends!”

Mom: “[Little Girl] and I are on our own. Her dad left us when she was born and I’ve been trying to make sure she has great values.”

Me: “You’ve done an amazing job! She is a real gem; I loved talking with you today!”

(I slip the cashier money to pay for the girl’s marbles, and when she is told her marbles are free, she tears up.)

Little Girl: “Mom and I don’t have a lot of money; we saved just to come here!”

Me: “Well, in that case…”

(I refunded their admission and paid for it myself. I made sure they got two free passes for the museum for their next visit, and they came and saw me for the next exhibit. The little girl was just as pleasant as she was the first time. And the teal marble? She had it in her pocket, and since I carry mine in my purse, I had mine that day as well.)

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Ornithologically Correct

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 30, 2016

(I’m browsing in a card shop when I overhear an older lady asking for help from the young woman running the counter.)

Customer: “Hi, can you help me find an anniversary card?”

Employee: “I sure can. Our anniversary cards are right over here.” *she walks the woman over to the relevant section*

Customer: “Okay, but, see, I’m having a little problem. The card is for my neighbours, and they’re both men. A lot of these anniversary cards feature a man and a woman.”

Employee: “Hmm. That’s true… Wait, I have an idea. See this one, with the two peacocks on it?”

Customer: “Yes…”

Employee: “Well, both the birds have beautiful tails and bright plumage, right? Only male peacocks have that; peahens look different. So it’s a card with a same-sex couple on it!”

Customer: “That’s perfect! Thank you so much.”

Employee: “You’re welcome.”

(After the other customer has left and I go to be rung up.)

Me: “That was a clever solution.”

Employee: “Thanks. Good to know my degree in ornithology is helping someone!”

 

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Getting Along Like A House On Fire

, , , , | Hopeless | April 29, 2016

(This story takes place shortly after the Bastrop County Complex Fires started up on Labor Day, 2011. At the time of the story, I’m working in the grocery department of the store when I see a woman getting off of the phone and starting to cry, fearing the worst I stop stocking and approach her.)

Me: “Is something wrong, ma’am?”

Customer: “Yes, I just heard that the fire took our house.”

Me: Oh, no. That’s not good. Were you able to save anything before they evacuated you?”

(At this point, the customer starts to list of different things they were able to save before sobbing again, realizing all of the stuff they couldn’t get.)

Me: “It’s okay, ma’am. I realize that it may seem bad, but you know one very important thing you were able to save.”

Customer: *through tears* “No?”

Me: “You were able to get yourself and your family, right?”

Customer: “Y- yes.”

Me: “Well, as long as you were able to take care of that, everything else will eventually get back together. While you might not be able to recover everything you left, you still have you, your family, and your memories, right?”

Customer: *stopping her crying* “Yes, I suppose I do.”

(As she stopped crying, I decided to forgo general policies and even public normal by hugging her when she started to cry again.)

Customer: “You are right. I do have the really important things and know that He’ll help us out in the end. Thank you…”

(She let me go and started to walk off, getting on her phone again. From what I heard as I left she was talking to her family and/or friends. Fast forward about a year or two later and I’m a cashier in the express lane when the customer I’m checking out gasps. As she does, I look up and realize it is the same woman and smile. Without warning, she hugs me again and starts to cry with her husband behind her, smiling.)

Customer: “Oh, you were right! Everything did work out. Insurance pulled through, and we’ve got a new place, and we were able to recover some of the things were forgot.”

(She started to explain about what happened after the affected areas were deemed safe to return to for salvaging purposes. Eventually, they handed me a local magazine that contained a story of the fire and showed where she was interviewed, pointing out where she mentioned me in it then tried to give me some cash. However, I refused it stating they should keep it, but, as they left, I noticed they still had the money on the counter with the husband shaking his head as I tried to follow them.)

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Pizza In Multiple Languages

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 29, 2016

(I am on a long international flight from Canada by myself. It is a flight journey of over 26 hours and I have just gotten off at the Montreal Airport. There is a five hour layover there, and I realize that I have left my cards back home and I have absolutely zero cash except for some local money of the country I am travelling to. At this point, I am sitting at the boarding gate, my stomach growling because I have barely eaten, and I have a whole 4 hours more to go for my next flight. There’s an old Indian lady who is frantically trying to talk to people in Punjabi, an Indian language. I walk up to her and try to talk to her in Hindi, another Indian language which is sort of similar.)

Me: *in Hindi* “Are you okay? What do you need? You seem upset.”

Old Lady: *in Punjabi* “My son told me to go and ask for the boarding gate. I am flying to India and I don’t know who to ask. Nobody understands what I say, and I don’t understand what they say.”

(As the languages are fairly similar, we attempt to communicate through gestures and common phrases to communicate to each other.)

Me: “No problem. Let me see your boarding pass. Ah, you are headed towards Delhi.”

(I make small talk and I take her to her boarding gate.)

Old Lady: I am hungry. Could you show me vegetarian places I could buy food at?

(I take her to different food stalls and list out options. I try to make sure I show her completely vegetarian options. She settles on a pizza.)

Old Lady: “How much is that pizza?”

Me: “It should come to around 15 Canadian Dollars.”

Old Lady: “It is so expensive. I will barely have enough left. And it is so small.”

(I smile sadly at her, my own stomach growling. The lady buys the pizza and invites me to sit with her.)

Old Lady: “Won’t you have anything?”

Me: “No, thank you. I am quite full.”

Old Lady: “No, no. This won’t do. You must take some of the pizza.”

(Despite my protests, she makes me take about a quarter of her already quite small pizza.)

Old Lady: “Now we are both full. I feel happy.”

(The old lady proceeded to thank me and bless me to have a great trip ahead. We sat together and talked until she had to board. The old lady made my day so much better!)

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Don’t Put Your Foot In Your Mouth

, , , , | Hopeless | April 29, 2016

(I am travelling in Prishtina, Kosovo, when I happen to step on a broken glass bottle and my foot immediately starts to bleed profusely. Not wanting to call for an ambulance I simply head to the nearest public place, which in this case happens to be a bar, hoping they will have a first aid kit.)

Me: “Excuse me, do you have a first aid kit?”

Barkeeper: “Sorry, I speak only little English.”

Me: “Disinfect?” *pointing to my shoe, now almost entirely coloured red from the blood*

Barkeeper: “Ahh.” *he proceeds to hand me a huge bottle of very nice vodka* “This.”

(I thank him, pour some of the vodka in a glass, and go to the bathroom to disinfect the wound with the alcohol. The wound is luckily not too deep despite the massive bleeding. I use the paper towels to stop the bleeding and head back to the bar.)

Me: “Thank you so much! How much for the vodka?”

Barkeeper: “No. Vodka is free.” *he hands me the rest of the bottle* “This goes in your mouth. Keep. Present from Kosovo.”

(I am shocked, thank him again, and leave him a nice tip, which he tried very hard to refuse. Then I limp off with my almost full one-litre bottle of the best vodka in the house. The wound didn’t get infected, and healed quite nicely in a couple of days. The Kosovan hospitality is definitely not a myth!)

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