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Not Very Mellow About The Yellow

, , , , , , | Healthy | September 25, 2022

I work at a veterinarian’s office as a receptionist, usually just answering phone calls and making appointments. Today, I had a call from a woman who was in tears. 

Caller: “You have to help me! Oh, God, it’s an emergency and I don’t know what to do!”

Me: “Miss, I need you to calm down, please. Tell me what the emergency is and what kind of animal.”

Caller: “I’m babysitting my sister’s dog, and she just peed, and oh, God, it’s the wrong color! I don’t know what I did wrong!”

Me: “Ma’am, what’s wrong with the urine? Did you see blood in it? If so, you’ll need to bring the dog in immediately.”

Caller: “No, nothing like that! The dog’s pee is yellow! Oh, I don’t know what to do! My sister loves this dog!”

Me: “Yellow? I’m sorry ma’am, but that’s a normal color for urine in… well, almost any animal.”

Caller: “But you don’t understand! She has a brown dog!”

As it turned out, the caller thought that animals peed the same color as their coats, and I had to explain to her why she was wrong for ten minutes. The dog’s owner turned out to be a customer of ours, and we told her the story the next time she came in. She sighed.

Customer: “This is why my sister was never allowed to have a pet growing up; she’s not the brightest.”

A Calculated, If Ridiculous, Response

, , , , , | Right | August 19, 2022

I work in a diner, and I am finishing up with a customer who has been generally polite so far.

Me: “Would you like anything else?”

Customer: “No, all set.”

He places a $20 bill on the plate. The meal was $17.40, so I assume that the rest is a tip. He sees me place the money into my apron pocket and starts frowning when I stay still and watch him.

Customer: “No, you give me my change.”

Me: “Oh, sorry.”

He reaches out for my pocket and just about places his fingers inside, but I move away. I tell him that I will get the manager, as the customer simply picks up the menu again. I do not think anything of this, but when I start talking to the manager, I hear the sounds of plates smashing onto the floor.

My manager and I come out to see the customer casually walking toward the door, leaving a pile of food and plates from someone else’s table all over the floor.

Manager: “What’s going on here?”

Customer: “Those dishes that ended up on the floor should cost about $20, shouldn’t they? Consider this a lesson, you f****** thieves.”

I talk to the group that the customer had walked up to. It turns out that the customer had walked over to their table, holding the menu. He had looked between the menu and their food for a moment before reaching his arm out and throwing exactly $20 worth of food onto the floor.

Sometimes A Face Of Stone Hides A Heart Of Gold

, , , , , , , | Learning | August 7, 2022

When I was a child in the 1980s, I went to an all-white elementary school in Kentucky; I was one of about seven or eight black children — if that! — in the entire school of an estimated 600 children. 

I wasn’t directly mistreated or bullied by other children, but most of them were always short with me and avoided me, giving me an “I’m not supposed to talk to you” look when I said something to them. I did have a few friends here and there, but for the most part, I just learned to amuse myself alone.

Then, along came our new principal, a six-foot-five black woman with an iron face permanently cast into an angry expression. For the entire six years I was there, we only saw her laugh once, and that was after someone performed a hysterical comedy act at a talent show. She always wore a long coat and would silently make her rounds throughout the school campus, not saying anything to anyone. If she came across someone monkeying around and doing something they shouldn’t, she would stop and give this soul-piercing, heart-stopping stare that would make a hardened lifer in prison piss on himself.

We… were… terrified of this woman. Anytime she’d pass by us, voices would immediately quiet and everyone would freeze. Teachers would say to persistent class clowns:

Teacher: “Do you want me to send you to Dr. [Principal]’s office?”

Kid: “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! I’LL BE GOOD!”

On one occasion, a child started throwing a tantrum and refused to accompany the teacher to the principal’s office. After what seemed like an eternity of the brat’s screaming and yelling and “GIVE ME ONE MORE CHANCE!”, the teacher finally left the room. Moments later, the teacher reappeared with the principal.

This kid’s infantile screaming and crying immediately ceased on the spot.

Principal: *In an icy, dark tone* “Get off the floor.”

The kid complied and stood at attention.

Principal: “Pick up all those papers, books, and pencils you threw everywhere.”

The kid complied. Then, the principal pulled up a seat next to the child’s desk.

Principal: *To the teacher* “Carry on.”

And for the rest of the day, she sat next to him. When it was time to do assignments, I would hear her quietly speaking to him as he worked, saying things such as:

Principal: “What aren’t you understanding?” *Explains the task* “Okay, excellent. Now let’s move on to this assignment.”

Kid: “I can’t!”

Principal: “I’m sorry, what?” *Explains the problems more simply for him* “Correct! See? You can do it. Move to the next one.”

Meanwhile, everyone else in the classroom was working on their own assignments as if our futures depended on it.

At the end of the day, the principal said to the kid:

Principal: “Don’t make me have to come back out of my office again to deal with you… because next time, you’ll be spending the rest of the day with me in my office!”

She didn’t have to tell him twice!

One day, I was sitting with a friend outside who was telling me about someone who was picking on him.

Me: “Too bad you aren’t in LA; you could get your boys and pop a cap in his butt!”

And that was when I felt a rough tap on my shoulder. I felt my heart stop when I turned around to see… her, burning a hole through me with that fierce stare.

Principal: “First of all, nobody is popping caps anywhere. Where are you from?”

Me: *In a choked voice* “My mom lives in California. My dad came here because of his job. I lived in New York City, too.”

The principal continued her stare and then looked down at a small bag of cassette tapes in my hands, including one with music by N.W.A., a hip-hop group.

Principal: “What is this? N.W.A.?! Your dad bought this for you?!”

Me: “No, I took it out of the car. I’ll put it back.”

Principal: “But he plays it around the house where you hear it.”

Me: “Yeah?”

Principal: *With a cold stare* “Tell him he can come to pick it up from my office.” *Walks away*

I decided to just let my pissed dad think the tape had gotten lost.

A few days later, my teacher quietly informed me that the principal wanted to see me after school. Thinking I was about to be seriously punished for my foolish comment and for bringing that N.W.A. tape to school, I dragged myself to her office and walked in, shaking like a leaf.

She motioned for me to sit, but then she began asking me questions like, “How are you doing with your schoolwork?” and, “How are things at home?” and, “I notice you are usually by yourself. How are the other kids treating you?” It was much like what you’d expect from a school counselor.

The following day in the cafeteria, I was eating by myself when the principal walked over, picked up my tray, and motioned for me to come with her. She walked over to a table where several white students were sitting, sharply rapped on the surface, and ordered:

Principal: “Let him eat here!”

Kids: “Yes, ma’am!”

They scooted over to make room.

Principal: “What are you talking about over here?”

Kids: “Nintendo and stuff.”

The principal glanced at my shirt with Super Mario’s face imprinted on it.

Principal: “Seems like you have something in common with him already. Find what else you have in common!”

Kids: “Yes, ma’am!”

And just like that, I ended up with about four new friends.

Every week, I would be summoned to her office, where I would update her on everything going on with me and she would give me motivational talks about excelling in school, as well as other issues such as building stronger self-esteem, handling teasing from other kids, etc. Many of these talks would end with things like, “I expect to see no lower than an A on that science test, you hear?”

This continued every year all the way until I left for middle school.

Fast forward to ten years later when I ran into her while out and about.

Principal: “So, which is it, Harvard or Yale?”

Me: *Laughing* “We don’t have that kind of money. Just a community college. Hey, what made you pick me out of all those children to mentor all throughout grade school?”

Principal: “Many years ago, I had a son that was taken because of drugs and alcohol. He lived with my sister in Chicago and just let him have the free run of the city. He got involved with gangs and violence and ultimately lost his life at the age of eleven after being shot by a rival gang member. It was my wake-up call to get clean and devote my life to seeing that no other child goes down that road — not on my watch. I couldn’t help but see him when I saw your face, and when you were out there, first grade, talking about LA, gangs, and shooting people, and had that gangster rap tape in your hands… all I could think about was the cycle repeating. And I thought if I could save at least one child from my son’s fate, then the work I did to get myself where I was wasn’t all for nothing. And… it seems like it worked! Don’t prove me wrong.”

She passed away recently, which is what motivated me to write this. I’m eternally grateful for her caring that much to help motivate me to learn, make the right decisions, and try hard in my studies.

This story is part of our end-of-year Feel Good roundup for 2022!

Read the next Feel Good 2022 story!

Read the Feel Good 2022 roundup!

Sparking A Band Breakup

, , , , , , | Related | August 4, 2022

Back in the late 1980s, my brother and I had a band that played pop/rock music. I was the drummer. One of our annual gigs was a local fire department’s Christmas party. I got a call from my brother the afternoon before the gig.

Brother: “The fire chief just called me. He has some concerns about tonight.”

Me: “Okay, what are they?”

Brother: “Well, they’re afraid that your cymbals are a fire hazard.”

Me: “Huh?”

Brother: “Yeah, they said there’s a risk of sparks when you hit the cymbals.”

Me: “But… the sticks are wood. There’s no way.”

Brother: “Yeah, I tried to explain, but he was adamant that you can’t use cymbals tonight.”

Me: “But how is that going to work? I have to have cymbals, or it won’t sound right!”

He had me going for about another minute before cracking up and laughing his head off. Miss you, Bro.

Time For Some Employee Rehabilitation

, , , , , , , | Legal | July 30, 2022

Over the past few weeks, I have been receiving many calls from a drug rehabilitation center trying to get in contact with a person whose name isn’t even close to mine who happens to have absconded from the center. I keep telling the rehab center that they have the wrong person but they don’t believe me.

Over the past week, the calls have turned to outright harassment with the person from the rehab center stating that they will call the police, have them trace my phone, and have me arrested for refusing to return to the rehab center.

My husband and I finally get sick of this due to the fact that they have called me on my cell phone fifteen times in one day, and we decide to get the local sheriff’s department involved. I make sure to bring the four forms of government-issued photo ID that I possess to the sheriff’s office, and we talk to a very nice deputy who decides to call the rehab center. The following conversation happens when the deputy calls the rehab center.

Deputy: “Hello, this is [Deputy] from the [County] Kentucky sheriff’s office. I have just been contacted by a citizen who claims that you have been repeatedly calling her cell phone insisting that she is [Person]. Is this true?”

Rehab Employee: “Yes! She is lying about her identity, and we were about to call you to have her arrested because she has absconded from our facility!”

Deputy: “I have just looked at her four forms of government-issued photo identification, including a federal military dependent ID, a driver’s license, a passport, and a Kentucky Concealed Weapons License. She is definitely not who you are looking for, and I demand that you stop calling her, or harassment charges will be filed against you!”

Rehab Employee: “NO, I WILL NOT STOP CALLING! She probably forged those documents! I demand that you arrest her for fraud!”

Deputy: “All of her identification looks legitimate. She has also shown me her Social Security card, several credit cards, a checkbook in her name with her current address, and a Kentucky-issued hunting and fishing license. I also looked her up on Facebook, and the photos of her match up with the forms of ID she presented and what she currently looks like now. You definitely have the wrong person, so I suggest that you stop calling her!”

Rehab Employee: “But she must have forged everything! Arrest her now for fraud!”

Deputy: “If she did forge her identification, she must be a real criminal genius, because her identification 100% matches the security features put in each respective piece of ID! She is not who you are looking for! Can I speak to a supervisor, please?”

The employee begrudgingly puts a supervisor on the line. The deputy talks to the supervisor and asks for identifying details for the person that they are actually looking for and runs those details through their system. Lo and behold, a mugshot for the person that they are looking for shows that I look NOTHING like her. The deputy is very angry now.

Deputy: “How dare your employee keep calling this poor woman over and over again insisting that she is [Person]?! I ran the person who you are looking for through our system, and the mugshot that came up definitely does not match the woman who is here with me! What is your response to this?”

Rehab Supervisor: “We thought that we were calling the right person because [Person] listed this phone number on her profile shortly before she absconded. How were we to know that we were calling the wrong person?”

Deputy: “If she kept insisting that she was the wrong person, why didn’t you notify the police so we could look up who her phone number is registered to? I just checked, and her cell phone number has been registered to her for the past five years! Your client gave you a bad phone number and your employee decided to harass this woman for the past three weeks! I am going to ask her if she wants to press harassment charges on your employee!”

I did decide to press harassment charges on the employee who kept making the calls. The employee ended up being fired from the rehab and had to pay a fine for harassment AND restitution to me for blowing up my phone for those weeks. I hope that the rehab decided to give their employees better training on how to handle absconders who list a bad contact number.