Pay It Forward Meets The Never-Ending Story

, , , , , , | Hopeless | April 13, 2018

It was a few days before Christmas and I was dining at a popular barbecue restaurant with my family. We are not rich or even well-to-do, but not struggling, and I remember when, not so long ago, eating out was an oddity because we could barely afford even basic necessities. In my wallet, I had leftover spending money from a trip, and on a whim (and because it makes me feel good to be able to share) I gave $100 to the cashier and told her to use it to pay for others’ meals as they came through the line and to use her discretion about who she helped.

A few days ago, I had occasion to eat again at that restaurant and, as I was about to leave, the same cashier arrived for her shift and recognized me as the person who had left the money. She asked my name and put it on a note to the staff for a free meal, even after I protested that I had no expectations of any recognition. She said it wasn’t so much because of the original deed but because the money had lasted almost two days; nearly everyone she offered to pay for ended up paying it forward to the next person, so it snowballed, and I was the catalyst that got it all rolling!

I am humbled, as I’d not even thought of the possibility of that happening. I guess there are quite a few people who just need a little nudge to remember to share. Thank you to all the good-hearted people who participated! I’ve paid for a meal or two on occasion, paid the difference when someone was short for their groceries, etc. All I desire is to help a few people have a good day, but it seems I helped a whole lot more than I expected!

Taxiing Day At The Gym

, , , , | Right | April 9, 2018

(I work at a rather nice, members-only gym in Manhattan. I work the front welcome desk and while most of our members are polite, we do get some who are entitled and childish. One day, one of our members calls in from her cell phone.)

Me: “Thank you for calling! How may I assist you?”

Member: “Hello! I’m just calling because I’m in a cab right now on the way to the gym.”

(This isn’t an uncommon call; many people tell us this before asking for a schedule.)

Me: “Ah, how can I help you?”

Member: “Well, you see, I accidentally forgot my wallet in my apartment, and now I don’t have any cash or my card to pay for this cab!”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, miss. There are a few banks close by. If you’re a member of those, you may be able to request cash?”

Member: “No, I’m not, which is why I’m calling you! I was hoping that you could take some money from the register and give it to me, and then just charge me for what I took.”

(This has never been requested before, so I put her on hold and ask my manager if that is something we can do. He tells me we can’t do that and to tell her no.)

Me: “Sorry, miss. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to give cash out except as change in a cash-only transaction.”

Member: “Oh, d***. Can’t you? Just this once?”

Me: “Sorry, that’s just our policy.”

(Turned away, she hangs up. I think this is the end of it until the same woman comes bursting into the gym.)

Me: “Hello, miss.”

Member: “Are you the one I spoke to on the phone?”

Me: “About the cab fare? Yes, that was me. Again, I’m sorry, but—”

Member: “Listen. The cab is right outside; I just need, like, twenty bucks, and that’s all.”

Me: “Right, but like I said, I can’t give you any cash from the register.”

Member: “Okay, but do you have money?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Member: *huffs* “Do you have any money? I can pay you back!”

Me: “I’m… sorry, miss, but I don’t carry cash.”

Member: “Well, what about your card?! Give that to me! You have [Digital Wallet]? I’ll pay you back! I just need to pay this cab!”

Me: “Miss, I’m not going to give you my debit card so you can pay for your cab. You’ll just have to have them bring you back to your apartment to get your wallet.”

(There is a brief pause as she realizes that I’m not going to give her my bank card, no matter how many times she asks.)

Member: “Well, aren’t you just unhelpful?!”

(With that, she marched out the door, huffing.)

Graduated To The Final Announcement

, , , , , | Learning | April 6, 2018

(There are school-wide announcements a few times a year about paying student dues.)

Freshman Year: “Students who do not pay their dues cannot attend prom.”

Me: “Don’t care.”

Sophomore Year: “Students who do not pay their dues cannot attend prom.”

Me: “Whatever.”

Junior Year: “Students who do not pay their dues cannot attend prom.”

Me: “Pfft.”

Senior Year: *final announcement* “Students who do not pay their dues cannot graduate.”


(I wound up paying all four years of student dues at once. I have no idea why they hadn’t been saying graduation along with prom the past few years, but I hope they were informing students personally, not just relying on the announcements!)

Giving Their Two Cents On Their Two Pence

, , , , , | Right | March 30, 2018

(I am scanning two small items for an elderly man.)

Me: “Your total is £9.98, sir.”

Elderly Man: “Not a problem.”

(He gets £10 out of his wallet and hands it to me. I hand him his change and his receipt, which shows the price of each item, as well as the total.)

Me: “Your change today is two pence, and here’s your receipt. Enjoy the rest of your day!”

Elderly Man: *stares blankly at me, but doesn’t move*

Me: “Is there something else I can help you with, sir?”

Elderly Man: “Why did you give me two pence?”

Me: “That was your change. Your total was £9.98 and you gave me £10.”

Elderly Man: “No!”

Me: “No? It’s printed right there on the receipt in your hand. See? The [item] was £4.99, and your bought two.”

Elderly Man: “These [items] are too expensive! I won’t pay for them!”

Me: “Um… I’m sorry you feel that way, sir. But you did pay for them, and now you have your change.”

Elderly Man: “No! Look at these price tags!” *shows me one item’s tag, which is ever so slightly smudged, but is still very much readable as £4.99* “It looks like £1.99! I was under the impression that I was getting a good deal! They should be £1.99!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. They’re not £1.99. The correct total came up twice on the screen when I scanned the items, I told you your total, and it’s correctly printed on the receipt.”

Elderly Man: *glares at me, still unmoving*

Me: *realising I’m not going to win this one* “I can process a refund if you’d like.”

Elderly Man: “Yes, you’d better! They should be £1.99! You need to fix your price tags, every last one of them!”

(He snatched his change and stormed off toward a sweet-looking, elderly woman I hadn’t noticed before, presumably his wife. Apparently the items were for her, and he told her that she couldn’t have them because I tried to overcharge him. She left, looking incredibly disappointed. I’m sorry, lady. I tried!)

Giving Their Two Cents On Your Cent

, , , , , , | Right | March 29, 2018

(I’m a cashier at a very busy grocery store. I ring up this older guy’s items. He also has a young kid with him.)

Me: “Your total is $9.01.”

Customer: “Okay, can you just get rid of the penny, so I don’t have to break a dollar?”

Me: “I don’t have any pennies on me, and if you don’t have a penny I can put in my drawer, then, no, I can’t just ‘get rid of the penny.’”

Customer: “Are you serious? Wow, this is ridiculous. You guys do it for me all the time!”

(This makes me wonder how often he does this.)

Me: “Well, I don’t believe it’s allowed to just change the total.”

Customer: “Can’t you ask?” *rolls eyes*

Me: “Uh, no. I already know the answer. I’m sorry, but are you sure you don’t have any change?”

Customer: *angrily hands me a dollar*

Me: *gives him 99 cents back, with a big smile on my face* “Have a fantastic day, sir!”

(I know it’s just a penny, but come on, dude. Just pay your total and don’t throw a fit.)

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