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The Gobblin’ Goblin

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 29, 2023

I’m at a wedding of a dear friend in the middle of nowhere, Southern Illinois. (To be fair, most of Illinois is “middle of nowhere,” but this wedding is literally in the middle of several cornfields, on a gravel road off a tarmac road.) I’m having a grand time at the reception, occasionally making conversation with folks I really don’t know, especially the father of a young boy.

This young boy could not be older than four. This kid was an absolute GOBLIN, and his dad was taking every punch — sometimes literally! He was the calmest, nicest, most patient father you could ever meet. His son was being kind of loud and rowdy, but his dad wasn’t angry. He kept telling his kid, calmly, that it wasn’t the time for applause yet. Okay, NOW it was the time for applause. It was rather adorable.

At one point, the entire table was being accused of… something… by this child. As I said, he was a little goblin.

There were miniature cupcakes served at this wedding and, of course, the kid made a beeline and grabbed a bunch of them.

I noticed he was eating them like any kid could: frosting first, then cake. At one point, his dad chuckled and grabbed the cupcake wrapper. He showed his son how to peel the cupcake wrapper away to reveal MORE CUPCAKE.

The son was awed. Slack-jawed and goggle-eyed, he called his father a magician and proceeded to eat every crumb. The kid ended up eating a couple of cupcakes in this manner: frosting first and then the visible cake, and then his father would peel the rest and the kid would scarf every last morsel.

I decided that if this kid wanted to see a REAL magician…

I grabbed my own cupcake and a butter knife.

Me: “May I enlighten your son as to the best way to eat a cupcake?”

His dad laughed and nodded. The kid stared at me, enraptured.

Me: “Okay, what you do is you peel the wrapping off first, so you get the whole cupcake, right? Then… you cut the bottom half horizontally… and you take it apart, like this, you see? And then you flip the bottom half over, and you make yourself a frosting sandwich!

I then took a bite to show how delicious it was.

The dad was grinning, and the kid simply stared, eyes bigger than the moon, jaw on the table.

In his best goblin voice, he growl-screamed to his father:

Kid: “GET ME ANOTHER CUPCAKE!”

Father: *Laughing* “Now see what you’ve done?”

They tried it a couple of times (with varying degrees of success), and the kid was happier than a pig in muck.

I’ll probably never see that kid again, but it warmed my heart to pass on some wisdom… and to see a child go full-on GOBLIN MODE on some cupcakes.

Chipping In At The Chip-And-PIN

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: IamFromScotland | January 26, 2023

Currently, in Scotland, I work for a large national chain supermarket in one of their stores, on their checkouts. I have been doing this gig now for nearly four years, and it has its ups and downs like all jobs.

One night, I am on my usual 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm shift, checking out customers, discussing the health crisis, and just shooting the breeze like normal.

At around 9:40 pm, a man in his late fifties or early sixties comes in and purchases around £14 worth of general stuff, such as milk, bread, and some tinned soup. He taps his card on the machine, and I get an error on the screen along the lines of, “Cannot process card; make sure card is on reader.” The general fix or workaround for that is if the customer puts in their card and then their PIN when prompted, and then it goes through.

If you use contactless payment over a certain number of times per day, like five, or you haven’t used it in a while, the bank puts a little mark on the account requiring the customer to put their PIN in to make sure it’s them using the card.

The customer puts in his PIN, and I get an error saying, “Alternative Tender Required. Please Use Other Payment.” When this error appears on the screen, this normally means that the account associated with the card either has no money in it or the customer does not have enough in that account to meet the total.

Me: “Do you have another form of payment, such as cash or another card?”

Customer #1: *A bit embarrassed* “I only have £2, and I don’t have any other cards. What’s the total?”

Me: “[Total]. If you go outside and take a right at the exit, there are three cash points you can go to and check your account up. I’ll keep your stuff aside for you and you can come back to get it.”

Customer #1: “Okay. I’ll be right back; I need to get the bread, at least.”

I store the transaction and keep the stored transaction receipt with his items so I can recall it when he comes back.

A woman in her mid-forties has been behind the man the whole time (socially distanced, obviously) and has heard what happened. I scan her stuff — only about £10 worth.

Customer #2: “How much were that man’s items?”

Me: *Checking the receipt* “[Total].”

Customer #2: “I’ll pay for it. Just stick it through.”

Me: “Are you sure? You don’t have to do that.”

Customer #2: “I feel sorry for him, with his age and all. I don’t want him to go hungry, so I’ll pay for it.”

Me: “Thank you so much, on his behalf.”

She pays and leaves. She passes the man as she’s coming back, a couple of checkouts down from me, and says nothing to him.

As he approaches, I grab his stuff, give it to him, and point to the woman walking away.

Me: “That woman there with the white coat just paid for your entire shopping for you; all of your items are paid for.”

He is shocked that something like this has actually happened to him — that a stranger would be so kind to do that for anyone, let alone him. I notice a slight tear forming in his eye when he realises that he does not have to pay.

Customer #1: “I’m going to thank her!”

I watched as he quickly walked away and caught up with her at the exit.

Sometimes you need things like this to remind you of the good out there.

The Barbecue Never Tasted Sweeter!

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Sleepyyypandawuh | January 20, 2023

I was a food runner at a Korean barbecue place. I had to give some meat to this middle-aged southeast Asian couple. I was surprised because I don’t see many southeast Asians around my area, and I was happy to see a fellow Southeast Asian.

When I gave them their food, I asked them what their ethnicity was.

Lady: “We’re Vietnamese.”

Me: “No way! There aren’t many southeast Asians here! I’m Lao and Filipino.”

Lady: “Oh, my! I haven’t met a Lao person before!”

Me: “Yeah, me, either. I only see them in my hometown.”

Lady: “Your hometown? Where are you from?”

Me: “I’m from [City]! I moved here because of university.”

Lady: “Oh, wow! You go to school and you work?”

Me: *Laughing* “Yeah, gotta pay for that tuition!”

After that, I had to go back to get more food. We waved and smiled a few times.

After the lady paid for their meal, she started asking my manager where I was. I went up to her and asked if she needed anything. She proceeded to ask for my name and what I was studying, etc. — just a nice conversation, which I didn’t expect.

She took my hand and put a $100 bill into it.

Lady: “I want you to enjoy school.”

I felt I was going to cry. It was so sweet. I thanked her so much and wished her well. Her husband was smiling, admiring the scene.

If that lady reads this, I just want to say thank you so much. You made my day that day. I wish the best for you!

Kind Customers Can Make You Feel Like Royalty

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: VroomVroomTarget | January 12, 2023

I work as a waitress in a popular waterfront pub/bar. I was called in two hours early on a four-hour shift — I ended up working six hours — and it was fairly warm by UK standards.

I was on the food pass alone (which I normally am), and it was starting to get stressful. We were in the middle of the 11:00 am breakfast rush and food had a forty-five-minute wait. A ferry from France had come in, so we were very packed.

I grabbed a ticket and food, punched the ticket, and navigated through the 100-plus tables outside to this woman’s table. At first, she didn’t see me, so I made myself known with a little “Hi” and started to put her food down.

I announced the meal I had, and she smiled, stood up, and gave me a slight bow.

Customer: *In a French accent* “Thank you, ma’am!”

I put the meal down and gave her a friendly smile. As she sat down again, I asked if she needed any sauces and she asks for ketchup. When I brought it, she once again stood up and bowed slightly.

Honestly, it was such a small thing, but after dealing with rude customers all morning, it really put a smile on my face and made me enjoy the rest of my shift.

It Wasn’t Just The Power Meter You Fixed That Night

, , , , | Right | January 11, 2023

I’m an electrician and I go around to customers’ homes when they’re having power issues. I’m working into the evening on Christmas Eve, with most customers being generally horrid that they had to wait until December 24th to have someone come by, but I am doing my best to make sure as many issues are fixed as possible so our customers can enjoy their Christmases.

I am at my last customer of the day, scheduled as such as she happens to live very close to me. It’s a very old lady, who opens the door to let me in, explaining that she pays for her electricity using a top-up meter, but the meter has been faulty lately.

Customer: *As I am repairing the meter.* “Would you like a cup of tea?”

Me: “No thank you.”

Customer: “What about a mince pie? It’s Christmas and they’re making you work so late on Christmas Eve.”

Me: “It’s okay, madam. I am just happy I can fix your power issues before the big day.”

Customer: “Thank you! I was worried my Christmas Dinner in the fridge would be ruined.”

I check the fridge to make sure that it is working, and I notice the only items in there are a loaf of bread and some eggs. I try not to make a comment, but it’s obvious that I have noticed the sparse contents.

Customer: “It’s all I can really afford these days. The pension doesn’t cover as much as it used to.”

Me: “Is this all that you have to eat for Christmas?”

Customer: “No, no, I have a can of baked beans in the cupboard.”

Me: “You’re having beans on toast for Christmas?”

Customer: “And a mince pie!”

Me: “Do you have anyone bringing you food over Christmas?”

Customer: “It’s just me. All my children live abroad now.”

Me: “I… see.”

I finish the requirements of my job, making sure she has power, and I head home as soon as I can. I inform my husband of the situation as soon as possible, and he agrees we need to do something.

We drive back over together, and she is surprised to see us.

Customer: “Is there a problem with the meter?”

Me: “No… Mrs. [Customer’s Name]. This is my husband, and if it’s okay with you, we’d like to invite you to Christmas Dinner tomorrow with our family – if you didn’t have plans, that is.”

It takes a moment for what we asked to sink in for the old lady. She is a juxtaposition of being overly British and not wanting to be a bother, but also a lonely old lady who is in desperate need of some company.

Customer: “I… I… don’t know, I…”

Me: “You see, we only live five minutes down the road so we could come by and pick you up for lunch. And we could have you back to your house whenever you feel like coming back home.”

Customer: *In tears.* “I… I… I think I would like that very much.”

Me: “Wonderful! My name is [My Name] and this is [Husband’s Name]. We’ll be by tomorrow at 11?”

We agreed and the next day we came to pick her up. She had made an effort to be dressed in her Sunday finest – not necessary at all but I think she enjoyed it.

She got to meet our children, our overly-affectionate dogs, my husband’s parents, and grandmother (the two older ladies have a nice long natter all afternoon). We ate turkey, roast vegetables, and a huge Christmas Pudding, plus enough snacks and sides that half the family had mini carb-comas in the afternoon.

When it was time for gifts, we gave her a card, and inside was a voucher for the local supermarket worth £100. She tried not to accept it, but she finally did albeit with more tears.

Our new friend and neighbour ended up staying until 11 pm before we drove her home, and agreed to take her shopping with her voucher the day after Boxing Day.

In the following weeks, we now have her over to our house once a week for dinner and to play with our dogs, and we take some shopping to her now that we know her tastes and dietary requirements. We also sneakily top up her electricity meter when we are putting her shopping away so that she isn’t without power.

We’ve arranged a Sunday lunch once a month with her and my husband’s grandmother at our home also, who also appreciates the company, and it turns out that even though one is from the middle of England and the other is originally from Barbados, they have a lot in common to talk about!

We can’t wait to see what we can do for her for Easter.