Hail To The Bus Driver, Part 5

, , , | Working | May 2, 2016

(I am having a terrible week and a particularly terrible day. I tell myself that I need to leave my apartment since I haven’t spoken to anyone in a few days and decide to go downtown by bus. The bus driver greets me very cheerfully, but gives me a worried look as a get on. I get out my book and start reading. I pull the cord to get off the next stop.)

Driver: “So, how is that book?”

Me: “It’s pretty good. I just started.”

Driver: “Yeah, I was looking at you read in my mirror and I was going to ask how it was, because through a mirror it looked like you were nearly done, but then I realized you were just starting!”

(He continued to chatter with me cheerfully for the remainder of my ride. I had a feeling that he could see that I was not feeling too happy. By the time I got off the bus I was smiling and felt better than I had in days. He greeted the next person just as cheerfully. I hope I will get on his bus again sometime.)

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A Stranger Can Be A Friend You Haven’t Made Yet

, , , , | Hopeless | May 2, 2016

(A friend that I haven’t talked to in nearly six months calls me, late at night, and tells me that she has an Internet friend who is stuck in the Twin Cities for the night before she can get a ride home to Duluth (about a three hour drive). She can’t bring the friend to her house because she still lives with her parents and they don’t trust anyone randomly met on the Internet. Although it seems really weird, my husband and I agree to let her stay with us for the night. The girl seems shy and is quiet.  We also have friends over, and after everyone leaves, we run to the store to pick up some essentials and food, and bring her with us.)

Me: “Okay, is this everything we need?”

Husband: “I think so.”

Me: *to girl* “Do you need anything, sweetie?”

Girl: *mumbles* “No.”

Me: “Okay, then let’s go home.”

(I suddenly realize the girl has started crying.)

Me: “Oh, my gosh; what’s wrong?”

Girl: *crying harder* “This whole weekend has been such a disaster! I spent all my money to fly all the way to Texas to see my boyfriend and none of his family or friends would talk to me the whole time I was there. Now that I’m back, my supposed best friend who was supposed to pick me up just calls after I land here to tell me she changed her mind and left me stranded hundreds of miles from my home with no money! But you’re letting me stay at your home and are giving me food and I don’t even know you! You’re the only people who’ve been nice to me all weekend and you’re STRANGERS!”

(After this spiel I gave her a hug and she cried into my shoulder for five minutes. I felt really bad that she’d had such a terrible weekend, but it made me feel good to know that what I saw as a simple act of kindness meant so much to her.)

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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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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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