So Much Pun

, , , , , | Hopeless | March 14, 2016

(I’m zoning the laundry aisle at a popular retail store. An elderly couple walks down the aisle. The husband makes a pun of every name brand he walks by.)

Customer: “CHEER up, dear. We’re in a new ERA now. We’re ALL together, and have everything to GAIN. So SNUGGLE up, but be careful. There’s a TIDE coming in, so SURF’s up!”

(Best. Old dude. Ever.)


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Man’s Best Friend, From Beginning To End

, , , , , | Right | April 1, 2013

(A family has just had their old golden retriever euthanized, due to a mix of a bad heart and bone cancer. The whole family is pretty despondent, but the youngest, a little boy, is taking it the worst. While the family is waiting for the paperwork to get finished, one of our regulars — a young Air Force lieutenant — walks in. He quickly notices the group, and approaches the desk.)

Lieutenant: “Did they just have to put someone down?”

(I nod. The lieutenant sits down right next to the boy, who is near tears.)

Lieutenant: “You okay, little guy?”

(The boy nods.)

Lieutenant: “Did you lose someone you care about?”

Boy: “Uh huh…”

Lieutenant: “Do you miss him?”

Boy: “Uh huh…”

Lieutenant: “Did you make every day of his life worth living?”

Boy: “Huh?”

Lieutenant: “I lost my little brother to cancer a few years back, and it tore me up. Had I done everything I could? What if I had done this or that differently? I just didn’t know, and it ate me up inside. Then they read us his will. It said, ‘I thank you, all of you, for making what borrowed time on Earth I had worth it, down to the second. That is all I could have asked for; know that should this cancer take me before I pen this will again, I loved each of you like no other family can, and going out with a smile worth smiling is the best way to go.'”

(The whole family is listening at this point, and the boy is completely enraptured. The lieutenant, lost in his recounting for a moment, looks back at the child.)

Lieutenant: “So, if you did your best — your VERY BEST — to make every day of his life worth living, I’m sure from wherever he is now, he’s looking back on your time together and smiling.”

(The boy runs out of his chair, up to the lieutenant, and gives him a hug. He lets loose all the tears he was fighting back. The father tries to remove the child from his iron-gripped hug, but the lieutenant stops him.)

Lieutenant: *to the father* “It really is no trouble at all…”

(As for the boy, he eventually he cried himself to sleep in the lieutenant’s lap.)


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Fuel-Good Moments

, , , , , | Right | November 8, 2012

(I am working overnight at a gas station when a lady comes in looking very stressed out.)

Me: “Hi, how are you?”

Customer: “I’ve been better. I need gas and I’m hoping my cards work.”

(She places two credit cards and a debit card on the counter.)

Me: *looking at the cards* “You had $20 on pump 3, right?”

Customer: “Yes.”

(At this point, I pull my wallet out and pay for her gas.)

Customer: *tearing up* “Why did you do that?”

Me: “I’ve been in your shoes and it sucks, so I like to help out whenever I can.”

Customer: *struggling to hold back tears* “Thank you so, so much. I promise to pay you back!”

Me: “Don’t worry about it. Please enjoy the rest of your evening!”

(A few days later, she came back in trying her hardest to repay the money, but I wouldn’t take it. She comes in every night to talk to me, so I made a new friend!)


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Random Acts Of Cuddleness

, , , , , , | Right | October 9, 2012

(I work in a bookstore downtown where there are a lot of homeless people and shelters. One day, a kind of scraggly customer comes up to me.)

Customer: “Hi, I was wondering if you have any cookbooks for soup?”

Me: “Certainly, sir. They’re just over here. We have some pretty good ones that are on sale right now. Over here, though, are our regular-priced ones.”

Customer: “I’m volunteering as a cook at a homeless shelter right now. They don’t have much funding, so a lot of the food they get is from donations. I figured soups are healthy and don’t require too much in the way of expensive ingredients, so that should be good for there. I’m a pretty good cook, but I need a refresher on soups.”

(After taking a look at the selection we have, he picks the largest, most expensive soup cookbook we have.)

Customer: “I think I’m going to go with this one. It has a picture for every recipe, which is nice. I like to see nice ways to present them, as well. These people haven’t been looked after, so I want to make something that tastes good and looks good, too.”

Me: “That’s really fantastic, sir. It’s nice that people are willing to take time out of their day to do things like this. Was there anything else I can help you with?”

Customer: “Actually, a book on sandwiches would be good, too.”

(I look in our system and we only have one book for sandwiches at the moment. It takes me a good twenty minutes to find it, but when I do, the customer has picked up a few other things, as well. He’s grabbed a simple Sudoku book, a Disney’s “Tangled” bookmark, and a little toy. I meet him back up at our cash desk.)

Me: “Here you go, sir. Sorry it took so long. It was hiding in our overstock. Find everything else you were looking for?”

Customer: “Yeah. A mother and her twelve-year-old daughter just showed up at the shelter I volunteer at the other day. I wanted to pick these up for her. A puzzle book for her and her mother to do and some other things to just take her mind off the situation. It’s difficult enough being homeless, but at that age, it’s horrible.”

Me: “That’s horrible. It’s amazing though that you’re grabbing these for her. I hope it makes her feel a little better.”

(As I’m ringing my customer’s items through, my coworker is ringing up another customer. She has overheard our conversation and goes to one of our displays, grabs the softest stuffed animal she can find, and buys that, as well. After she’s paid for her purchase, she hands the stuffed animal to my customer.)

Another Customer: “Sir, I overheard your story and I want you to give this to that little girl. Sometimes, young girls just need something to cuddle with. I think what you’re doing is amazing and the world could use more people like you.”

Customer: “I… Thank you so much, ma’am. This will probably mean the world to her.”

(My customer finished paying for his items and left. My coworker and I were speechless ourselves for a moment. This encounter made our week and brought tears to our eyes!)


This story is part of our Soup roundup! This is the last story in the roundup, but we have plenty of others you might enjoy!

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Once A Marine, Always A Marine

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 11, 2009

(I am a bookseller working toward a teaching credential. While I am not exactly poor, my pay is not stellar, and it is occasionally a stretch for me to manage loans and bills. While walking home from work, I see a middle-aged man asking for money on the corner. He appears to be a veteran. I scrounge around in my purse for change and only find a penny, but I walk up to him, anyway.)

Me: “Hey. I’m one of those jerks who doesn’t carry a lot of cash. So, this is all I have. I hope it helps.”

(I press the penny into the palm of the veteran’s hand. He looks at me. When he speaks, I can tell that he’s not all there, but he sounds genuine.)

Veteran: “You know what? If that’s all you have, then take this.”

(To my amazement, he presses a one-dollar bill into my palm. I shake my head and try to give it back to him.)

Me: “No. You need it more than I do.”

Veteran: “You know what? Take it. I was in the Marines. And my job was to protect this country. And help poor people.”

(Overcome with emotion, I impulsively salute at the veteran. He immediately snaps into a military salute in response. I thank him and start walking again, and he calls after me.)

Veteran: “Hey! Don’t you be spending that on alcohol, now!”

Me: “I won’t, sir!”

(True to my word, I converted the dollar into quarters for laundry, which I desperately needed to do. It really goes to show how some people, even in their greatest hours of need, will still go out of their way to help others out. Wherever you are now, sir, thank you – and to everyone else, please remember to support your troops, since many of them, after the fight, will need all the love they can get.)


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