Elton John’s Early Adventures

, , , , , | Friendly | February 15, 2020

(Two friends and I are the tender age of 18 and decide to go out clubbing for the first time. We find a club, we party, we drink… waaaaay too much. We decide to leave but can barely make it down the stairs. I have a vague recollection of someone shouting, “Call an ambulance!”, but us shooing them away saying we are fine. So, there we are, standing at the edge of the main street of the busy clubbing area, dozens of people walking past us, with no idea how to proceed as we are all too trashed to even work out how to get home. After a while, a man dressed in sparkly trousers, crazy yellow glasses, and a white furry coat, carrying a speaker and another couple of large bags, comes to talk to us.)

Man: “Are you guys heading somewhere?”

Us: “Yeah, we just need to get home.”

Man: “You look like you’ve had a big night. Where are you heading?”

Us: “[Suburb].”

Man: “Okay, well, if you don’t mind coming via [Other Suburb 15 minutes from ours], we can share a cab, and then I can drive you home.”

Us: *with, apparently, no idea about personal safety* “Oh, that would be so good. Thank you!”

Man: “It’s all good. I’m a DJ; I’ve just been playing at [Nearby Club]. I see people like you guys all the time; it’s kind of refreshing. I’m happy to help.”

(He gets us a cab, loads his stuff in the back, opens the passenger door for us and gets in the front. We try to be polite and ask about his DJ-ing, but none of us can make much coherent conversation. We get to his place and get out of the cab, which he jumps in to pay for before any of us can offer.)

Man: “If you guys just want to wait on the path, I’ll just get my gear inside and get the car.”

(He returned in five minutes with his car, we piled in the back seat and gave him the address, again trying unsuccessfully to converse, and we were soon at our destination, all of us trying not to fall asleep or vomit. We got out, the man wished us well and drove off, and we all somehow managed to get into the flat and collapse on the floor for the next ten hours. Twenty years later, my friend and I still refer to this man as “the angel.” We couldn’t remember his DJ name so we were never able to track him down and soberly thank him or pay for the cab fare. Our night could have ended horrifically. We were unbelievably lucky to have such a nice, honest, decent bloke come to our aid in our moment of need. He never even said anything to make fun of us for our predicament — which would have been totally warranted. The world needs less drunk teenage idiots and more blokes like this guy.)

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When Phoning In The Customer Service Is A Good Thing

, , , , | Right | February 10, 2020

(I visit a certain pizza place almost weekly. Most people know me by now and also know my regular orders.)

Server: “Hello, your regular order?”

Me: “Yes, please. Are there any promos going on?”

Server: “Yes, we have a 2+1 promo going on. You get three and pay for two.”

Me: “Nice, what are the conditions?”

Server: “Oh, it’s for when you call in your order or order it through the website.”

Me: “All right, too bad I’m not at home. Just my regular order, then.”

(The server puts in the order and I notice the price is a lot lower than usual.)

Me: “Eh, did you get everything?”

Server: “Yes, ma’am.”

Me: “But the price…?”

Server: “I don’t know what you mean, ma’am. I just took your phone order.”

Me: “My… phone order?”

Server: “Yes, ma’am, but you’re here very early. You just ordered by phone and you are already here! But we’ll start your order right away!”

(She smiled really brightly, letting me know what she had done. I hope she won’t get into trouble and we enjoyed our free pizza!)

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A Dollar Difference Is All It Takes

, , , , | Right | February 7, 2020

(I’ve worked at a local grocery store for two years, mainly as a cashier. I have just gone through a string of irate customers and am feeling mentally exhausted. Then, a kindly old man I recognize as a regular customer pulls up in one of the mobile carts. My smile changes from a forced one to a real one at the sight of someone friendly. He comes in late, usually, so I have plenty of time to scan him through, as well as bag his items for him, while having a pleasant conversation. He is known for pushing tips on those who help him. I’ve just finished bagging the last item and have placed it on the mobile cart.)

Me: “There you go, sir. Have a great day! I’ll send someone out to get your cart once you are finished.”

Customer: “Thank you, young lady. Here, this is for you.”

(He pulls a dollar out of his pocket and tries to hand it to me.)

Me: “Sir, you know we can’t accept tips.”

Customer: “Oh, come on. You all work really hard and deserve some extra money.”

Me: “Sir, this is really kind of you, but I must decline.”

(He then threw the bill at me — it landed on the bagging area — and drove away laughing maniacally.)

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Pizza: It Can Save Lives

, , , , , , , , , | Friendly | February 1, 2020

I had a doctor’s appointment because I have depression. My life is currently pretty bad, as I am unemployed, without a car, and am basically mooching off my parents — who have split, mind you — for money. It’s a rainy, very gray day. I’m staying at my aunt and uncle’s house, and I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast. I’m hungry but won’t eat anything just because I don’t feel like it and I think of it as imposing on my aunt and uncle.

So, I have enough money to get the bus to go to the doctor, and my stomach is feeling incredibly empty. I’m absolutely regretting having not gotten something to eat because of my own stupidity and start thinking that maybe things would be better if I was dead. In other words, I am having a major depressive episode. I signal to get off the bus, only the stop I get off at is a short walk from the one in front of the doctor’s office, the one I had wanted to get off at. I’m now walking in the rain, mentally berating myself for having screwed up, when a guy comes by on his bike.

He’s got a pizza box and asks if I’m hungry. My first instinct is to say no, but then I stop and say yes. I take one slice of pizza and eat away, turning down his offer for more out of mere politeness. He even offers me the whole box but I still say no. One slice is enough. The guy informs me that he has done his good deed for the day and says, “God bless,” before riding off on his bike.

That guy completely changed me. That one man who offered me pizza when I was starving and feeling like my life wasn’t worth living gave me something precious: hope. He cared enough to make sure someone like me got something to eat because it was the right thing to do. Even now, thinking about it, I feel like crying that anyone could care that much as to help a random stranger at a bus stop. I’ve never seen this guy again, but I will always remember Pizza Bike Guy, who might have saved my life with one selfless act.

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You Won These Rounds

, , , , , , | Working | January 30, 2020

(My wife just closed a large transaction that took the better part of a year — a year of stress and constantly being on-call evenings and weekends. She wants to celebrate by purchasing the newest video game console, which features portability as well as easy connectivity to your TV. We head to the store near our house and pick out several games; this store has been advertising a “Buy Two, Get One Free” sale on their games that we want to take advantage of. It’s Halloween evening, so the store is rather packed and busy, and every employee looks exhausted. With our console and games in hand, we head up to the electronics register and…)

Wife: “All six games scanned at full price; two of them should be scanning as free.”

(The poor kid behind the register looks like it’s his third day of his first job — a bit lost and unsure of himself — but my wife and I have both worked retail and customer service:)

Wife: *very gently* “Can we suggest that a manager would be able to help?”

(While waiting for the manager, I do some quick searching on my phone and discover that the store’s sale only applies to very select games; this is not in the fine print on the advertising or their website, as only one game is listed excluded there, but on in-store signage. It’s shady marketing to get you into the store, but definitely not the fault of the employees or store; these are the kinds of decisions corporate makes. We make polite conversation about the games to the kid — really, he can’t be older than 18 — who seems to perk up a bit despite apologizing every three seconds. When the manager arrives, she listens to the situation, and after a few minutes of checking their system, she zeroes out two of the games and we are all set! When we arrive home, I begin setting up the console while my wife unboxes the games — a couple of the most popular releases have booklets with a lot of flavor and lore, and she’s looking forward to the one regarding a particular green-tunic-wearing character.)

Wife: “There’s no cartridge.”

(I stop, because there absolutely should be a cartridge. The game was shrink-wrapped, inside a box with two circular plastic seals, inside a locked cabinet. My wife silently holds up two thick pieces of black plastic that resemble a game cartridge.)

Wife: “This was in the cartridge slot.”

(We frantically check the box and paperwork for a code, despite the fact that the game should not be a digital download. Inspecting the box reveals that one of the circular seals has been opened and replaced. Doing more online searching, we come to this conclusion:)

Me: “Someone has bought the game, opened the box, stolen the cartridge, placed plastic in there to show a black profile when looking through the plastic case, re-shrink-wrapped the box, and then returned it. Even ignoring the actual crime of theft, it screws the next customer — pretty awful stuff.”

(There was really no way of proving this to the store, but I headed back, anyway, to see if anything could be done. I explained everything that had just happened to customer service, who called over a manager to investigate further. It was the same manager as before! She spoke with the electronics kid and he vouched for us, saying that we were very polite and understanding with the wait. The manager authorized an exchange for another copy of the game, which I then opened on the counter in front of them… just in case! Thinking back over the entire evening, the manager and employees could have very easily told us “no” twice and would have been completely within the rules, but went out of their way to accommodate us. I often deal with suspicious situations in my work, where it looks obvious that people are trying to scam us. This was a good reminder that bad situations can happen to good people who can’t prove they weren’t at fault, and also to treat your retail workers kindly because they’re human beings like you!)

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