It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Ear

, , , , , | Right | December 26, 2019

(It is December, the busiest month of the year. I love December because I love getting into the spirit of Christmas. In doing so, I wear elf ears when I work. These are just two of my favorite interactions so far:)

Customer: *as I am gathering the product I am working with for the day* “Oh, my God, I love your ears!”

Me: *turning to him with a giant smile on my face* “Thank you!”

Customer’s Wife: “Oh, those are so cute! Where did you get them?”

Me: “The renaissance festival last year. And thank you! I love wearing them in December; children love it.”

Customer’s Wife: “Well, we love them, too. They’re super cute.”

Me: “Thank you. Adults have liked them a lot this year, too. Actually, I think more adults have commented than children!”

(A few minutes later:)

Customer: *walks up sheepishly* “I’m sorry if this sounds creepy, but could I please get a photo?”

(I cosplay, so this isn’t a creepy question to me if I’m in some sort of costume.)

Me: “Not creepy at all! Let me just take off my hat and apron.”

(I do so and the man takes a quick photo.)

Customer: *while I’m putting my uniform back on* “Now that, that’s the Christmas spirit. Thank you so much. Merry Christmas!”

Me: “It’s no problem. Thank you!*as he’s walking away* “Merry Christmas!”

(When working, I wish everyone whatever holiday they wish me: “Happy Holidays,” “Merry Christmas,” “Blessed Yule,” etc. Another time, a family stops at my cart: a mom, a dad, and two daughters. [Girl #1] is the oldest and [Girl #2] is the youngest.)

Girl #1: “Your ears! Your ears!”

(I turn my head slightly to give her a better view and twitch my ears.)

Me: “What about them? Is something wrong?”

Girl #2: “She’s an elf! She’s an elf!”

(The girls are super excited.)

Girl #1: “You are an elf, right?”

Me: “Very perceptive of you, little ones. Yes, I am.”

Girl #2: “Why’re you here? Shouldn’t you be helping Santa?”

Me: *looking around like I’m about to tell them a secret* “Do you two want to know a secret?” *both nod vigorously* “Santa has thousands of us hidden around the world, mostly working in stores like this one. But in December, the Christmas magic is too strong, and we find it hard to hide our ears.”

(The girls stare at me, wide-eyed, practically bouncing.)

Girl #2: “Do you see Santa?!”

Me: “Every Wednesday!”

(At this point, the parents start to herd them away, as they ramble about my ears.)

Mom: *as she passes me she whispers* “Thank you so much.”

(It’s days like these that remind me why I love my job.)

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Your Christmas Can Become Magical Between Lunch And Dinner  

, , , , , , , , , | Right | December 25, 2019

(Unlike in the States, pretty much everything is closed on Christmas Day in the UK, with the exception of hospitals and hotels. I work in the latter, and we are putting on a special service in the restaurant for the holidays. Many families not staying at the hotel book tables months in advance to avoid cooking on Christmas Day, so we have been sold out since early November. I notice an older woman, looking a bit forlorn and tired, approaching my service stand.)

Older Woman: “I don’t suppose you’re serving Christmas Day lunch, are you?”

Me: “Yes, do you have a reservation, madam?”

Older Woman: “Oh, no. Do I need one?”

Me: “I’m afraid so, madam. We’re fully booked all day.”

Older Woman: “Oh, I see. I’m terribly sorry to be a bother.”

(Normally, I would just smile politely and say goodbye, but there is something about this woman, alone on Christmas Day, that makes me do something different.)

Me: “Excuse me, madam, are you dining alone?”

(She doesn’t say anything, but I can tell by the pained expression on her face that she is. She nods silently.)

Me: “Please excuse me a moment; I will see what we can do.”

(I go and find my manager and explain the situation.)

Me: “She’s dining on her own, and I feel bad about sending her away. We have room at the bar, if she’s willing, and I am sure one more plate isn’t going to stretch the kitchen.”

Manager: “If [Head Chef] and [Bartender] are fine with it, then it’s not a problem with me.”

(I quickly check that it’s okay with the head chef and the chief bartender, and go back to find the woman.)

Me: “Madam, if it’s okay with you, we have space available at our bar area for Christmas Day lunch?”

(She beams a huge warm smile that immediately lets me know that I have made the right decision. I get her seated comfortably and leave her with a menu. Once all our other diners are settled for the service, I check in on her to find her having an animated conversation with the bartender. Upon seeing me, the bartender pulls me aside quickly. She is fighting back tears as she is talking.)

Me: “What’s the matter?”

Bartender: “Oh, my God, that poor woman! I simply mentioned that I really liked her earrings, and then noticed they matched her wedding ring. Her husband would always buy her matching jewelry to go with her wedding ring and it sounded lovely… until she told me that he died in a car accident three months ago, and this is her first Christmas alone!”

Me: “Oh, my goodness! That’s awful!”

Bartender: “It gets worse! All the family came in for the funeral, but because they had to take time off for that, they can’t come and visit for Christmas! She’s all alone for the holidays!”

Me: “I see.”

(I come back to the bar and start talking to the woman, who, after some gentle conversational prodding, tells me the same story told to the bartender. She sounds emotional during the exchange but is able to hold back the tears. She even shows me some photographs of her late husband. It is then that I have an idea.)

Me: “Madam, what are your plans for the rest of Christmas Day?”

Older Woman: “I was just going to go home and watch the telly.”

Me: “I see. Madam, pardon me if this is too forward, but to say thank you for working on Christmas Day, my manager has allowed my family to come in for the dinner service at 6:00 pm today, when my shift is over. I will get to have my Christmas dinner with my family, and I would be honoured if you would join us.”

Older Woman: “Oh, no, I couldn’t possibly be such an imposition! I just wanted to be out of the house for lunch, which you’ve been ever so kind to organise for me, but I wouldn’t dream of being more of a bother than I already have.”

Me: “It would not be a bother, or an imposition, madam. You see, the moment you showed me the photograph of your late husband, I realized that having you join us for a family meal would be appropriate. You see, three months ago, my father attended a funeral for an old friend he used to work with many years ago, who he remembered very fondly, and even gave him a roof over his head in his younger days when he was having a rough time at home. Your husband and my father used to be friends, and I know he would love to see you for dinner tonight.”

(Her eyes narrow as if she is looking at me for the first time. Then, they widen as she says:)

Older Woman: “You’re [Father]’s little girl?”

Me: “The very same, madam.”

(She screamed happily — enough that she made a few nearby diners jump! — and gave me a huge, tearful hug. I took a little break and caught up with her, and then reminded her to be back at 6:00 pm sharp; she was welcome to stay by the bar, too, but she insisted on going home to put on a more festive outfit! She joined us for my family dinner, my father recognized her immediately, and from that moment on she became great friends with most of the family she met at Christmas dinner that day. On the years when she doesn’t spend Christmas Day with her family, she instead spends it with us.)

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Even The Cookie Monster Needs A Sandwich Sometimes

, , , , , , | Right | December 25, 2019

(I work at a sandwich store that delivers. Most of the delivery drivers are in their early 20s at the oldest and rely on the tips they get during their shifts. I hear one driver talking to a new hire about an address the new driver was going to.)

Driver: “This lady is really old and kind of spacey and she’ll probably only tip you a quarter and call you ‘sweetie’–“

New Hire: *frowns, but nods*

Driver: “–but she’ll also give you some fresh-baked cookies. They’re so good. If her daughter is there, you’ll get a cash tip.”

New Hire: *perks up* “Oooh, what kind of cookies?!”

(He came back munching on a huge chocolate chip cookie, looking quite pleased. The elderly woman bakes the shop two dozen cookies every Christmas and her daughter drops them off during our employee party. She’s a very well-loved customer!)

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Quite The Operation Santa’s Got Going

, , , , , , , | Healthy | December 25, 2019

(I work at a vet clinic that is open late night for emergencies and offers boarding. A couple of years ago, [Former Coworker] had to stop working in order to care for a disabled family member, but she left on good terms with the doctor and still has coffee with the manager regularly. Her son has been asking for a dog for quite a while now. Not just any dog, he knows the exact breed and color pattern he wants. At the staff meeting Monday, the doctor let us all know that [Former Coworker] was going to be surprising her son with a puppy for Christmas. She had found the exact dog he wanted and would be adopting it later this week and bringing it here to board with us until late Christmas Eve when she would pick it up. The morning she brings the puppy in, [Coworker] and I are working at the front desk. She is greeting people as they walk in and handling check-ins. I am checking out a family who just finished their cat’s exam. They have a little girl about six years old, too short to be seen over the counter from where [Coworker] is.)

Coworker: “Hello, how can I… Oh, hey, [Former Coworker], long time no see. So, this is the puppy Santa is bringing [Son]? He’s gonna be so thrilled; it’s exactly what he’s been asking for.”

Young Girl: *very loudly* “If Santa is bringing that puppy to someone, why is he here? Shouldn’t he be at the North Pole?”

(My coworker is clearly at a loss for words and starts sputtering.)

Former Coworker: *just hands [Coworker] the puppy and bends down to the girl* “Your parents haven’t told you? See, when Santa brings a child a pet he calls the parents first to make sure the house has everything that it needs, like food and toys and a dog bed, and space for the animal, and that the kid can take care of it. Then, if the parents say it’s okay, Santa looks all over the world to find the perfect animal, and then, because he doesn’t want the puppies and kittens to get bored in the sleigh and eat other kid’s presents, he has his helpers take them to a safe place near the kid’s house. So, Christmas Eve, Santa will come here and pick up the puppy right before coming to [Son]’s house.”

Little Girl: “Oh, so, that’s why when I got [Cat], Santa just brought her bed and food and had Mommy take me to the shelter after Christmas?”

Former Coworker: “Exactly, he knew [Cat] would be happier playing at the shelter rather than being stuck in his sleigh all night, and that she would just get into trouble with all the wrapping paper on Christmas morning.”

Mom: “That’s right; we got a call from an elf letting us know where [Cat] was.”

Former Coworker: “Yep, the elves have every parent’s phone number. Parents get calls from the elves to make sure they have the batteries and other things needed for the toys, helmets for when they get bikes, that sort of thing.”

(At this point, the girl’s family finishes paying and leaves, the little girl happily asking her parents if Santa has called them about presents this year.)

Coworker: *sighs in relief* “I can’t believe you thought of that so fast; I was so worried I’d just ruined Christmas.”

Former Coworker: *laughs* “Last year, my sister got caught by her girls setting up a playhouse, she told them that Santa was behind schedule and woke her up and asked her to put it together so it would be all ready in the morning. The girls just nodded and went back to bed, but in the morning, the oldest said it was a bit rude of Santa not to tell Mommy she would need to set it up. And we all agreed that Santa should have had an elf call first.”

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Rudolph Needs To Get Himself On Twitter

, , , , , , , | Right | December 25, 2019

(The restaurant I work at is currently selling stuffed dogs for charity. Earlier, a man bought one and asked me to give it to the first kid that came in. Later, another man shows up with a six- to seven-year-old boy. I decide to try to make things more fun.)

Me: “Hey, can you answer a question for me? If you get it right, there’s a prize!”

Kid: “Yeah!”

Me: “Okay, great! Now, what reindeer has a glowing red nose?”

Kid: “Santa’s reindeer!”

(I gave him the toy.)

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