The Going Rate For Kindness

, , , , , | MI, USA | Hopeless | June 6, 2016

(My parents have been residents in a condo for older adults for almost a decade when my father passes away unexpectedly. Without Dad’s income, Mom won’t be able to cover the monthly fees for the condo, and will need to move. While we are looking at other options, we get a call from the accountant at the condo facility.)

Accountant: “Mrs. [My Name], I have an option that might be of interest to your mother. From time to time, it becomes necessary for us to move residents to different rooms to make space for renovations and expansion of our facility. When we do that, we temporarily decrease the monthly charge to compensate for the inconvenience. As your parents have been in that room for quite a while, it’s overdue for renovation. So we’re going to move your mother to an identical unit two doors down until her old room is available again. The new rate will be [an amount that mom can afford comfortably].”

Me: “How long will the renovation take? I appreciate that this will buy her some time, but once she’s back in her old room and the rate goes back to normal, she’ll be in trouble again.”

Accountant: “Well, we’re actually going to be expanding the office suite into that space, so the old room will no longer be available.”

Me: “So…”

Accountant: “So she’ll continue to get the reduced rate until her old room is available again.”

Me: “Which is… never?”

Accountant: ”That’s correct. I do apologize for the inconvenience. We hope your mother will find her new room satisfactory.”

(Thanks to some clever accounting, my mother was able to stay in the community she loved at a rate she could afford, until she passed four years later.)

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A Dollar And A Smile

, , , | USA | Hopeless | May 28, 2016

(I have health issues, and frequently need medical testing to ensure everything is okay. I’m at a hospital I’ve been to before – but not for quite a while – for yet another series of tests. This time the parking garage has signs everywhere stating CASH ONLY. I have absolutely no cash on me. When I check in, I ask the receptionist if there is an ATM so I can pay for the parking garage. Towards the end of check-in, this happens:)

Receptionist: “And keep a hold of your parking ticket – the technician can stamp it for you so you only have to pay a dollar! You may not even need the ATM!”

Me: “I don’t even have a dollar. I usually carry at least a little cash, but things came up. I’ll just use the ATM.”

(The receptionist offered to give me a dollar for the parking garage and I was floored. A little thing like that can mean a lot. I gave her all the coins in my wallet in return. Thank you!)

Tipping The Scales Towards The Good

, , | Boston, MA, USA | Hopeless | May 27, 2016

(I work at an old family restaurant that has been in the area for generations. One of our regulars is a woman who has been coming here every week for a while now, since she works right down the street, and the wait staff have gotten to know her. I oversee the following between one of our waitresses and the regular, between the waitress’s trips to her tables…)

Waitress: “The usual today?”

Regular: “Yeah, same as always. You doing okay?”

Waitress: “Things are rough at home, that’s all.”

Regular: “What’s up?”

Waitress: “My husband got arrested last night. His probation was almost up. It was something really stupid. He was fine, good behavior, he’s been great…Now I’m alone with the kids, and they don’t really understand what’s going on, and they want their dad, and it’s just been hard…”

Regular: “That’s really awful. Let me know if you need anything, all right?”

Waitress: “It’ll be okay. He’s going to get off light, they say, if he behaves…It’s just a few months…”

Regular: “It’ll be okay. He’ll be home soon.”

Waitress: “Yeah.”

(Later, the waitress hands off the receipt, the regular pays with card, she hands back the receipt for signing. The regular leaves, and then this happens:)

Cashier: “Hey, [Waitress]… she left you a two hundred dollar tip.”

Waitress: “What? You mean twenty dollars. That’s ridiculous.”

Cashier: “No, look at this.”

(The tip has “$200.00” written on it, with a note of well wishes on the side. After glancing at it, the waitress flees out the door with the rest of us chuckling behind her in the entryway. She returns after a bit, out of breath.)

Waitress: “I caught up with her down the sidewalk. That’s ridiculous! She never gets to tip me again!”

(We all laughed. The regular still comes back every week. I’m glad people have each other’s backs in this world.)

Drive It Forward

, , | OK, USA | Hopeless | May 26, 2016

(Several years ago, my wife was on disability and I was unemployed, and finances were always tight. I had a contract job lined up that would pay $50, but I needed gas to get there and back. We went into a local store and started feeding all the loose change we could find into the self-checkout to load a gift card for gas.)

Person: “You know, there’s a change-trading machine over there.” *motions toward change-trading machine*

Me: “Yeah, I know, but they charge a fee, and I need every cent to go into the gas tank.”

Person: “Ah, I understand.”

(A moment or two later, she came over and pressed a $10 into my hand.)

Person: “Hope this helps!”

(I was so thankful, and I have never forgotten that. I do my best to pay it forward as much as I can.)

An Appetite To Do The Right Thing

, , , , , | Orlando, FL, USA | Hopeless | May 24, 2016

(I’ve just graduated high school and my family decides to eat at a nice restaurant after the ceremony. A lot of my extended family has made a considerable drive to be there. Since it is pretty late, we ask the hostess when they close and if we should try somewhere else but we found out they still had an hour to close. We order some appetizers and our meals, those of age order alcoholic beverages too. All in all eight people have meals consisting of $30-50 dollars. The appetizers never came out but we figured they were close to closing so it wasn’t important and we would rather just have them waived from our bill. Upon telling our waitress this, she fetches the manager.)

Manager: “I’m very sorry to hear that your appetizers never arrived. I’m going to comp you for them and still give them to you if you don’t mind waiting 5 or 10 minutes.”

Stepfather: “Sounds good to us. We are just talking and catching up.”

(The manager leaves to presumably oversee appetizers before coming back not three minutes later.)

Manager: “Okay, guys, I found out what happened to the appetizers. Apparently the fry cook decided he would call it a night early and shut off the fryer and refuse orders for the last hour of opening. He is currently restarting the fryer now.”

Stepfather: “Well, I know it was late when we came in; it really isn’t that big of a deal.”

(The manager goes to leave but stops and regards me for a second. I’m still dressed in my cap and gown from the ceremony.)

Manager: “Wait, did you just graduate?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

Manager: “So that makes this your graduation dinner?”

Me: “Yes, sir…”

(He mutters under his breath and double times it to the kitchen where we can hear him yelling in the now quiet and closed restaurant. He returns shortly with our check.)

Manager: “I got to thinking about how you just graduated and this was supposed to be a special meal for you and my employees couldn’t even fulfill our basic menu items. It left a very bad taste in my mouth. So in addition to your appetizers, I’ve decided to comp your entire meal. I’m very sorry for the level of service.”

Stepfather: *dumbfounded while he stares at the bill that has been comped to the tune of over $200* “I…. we appreciate you being straightforward with us and we really appreciate the gesture of comping our bill!”

(The manager just wishes us a good night and returns to the back, presumably to continue reprimanding his kitchen. As I grew up and got jobs in retail, I never forgot how honest and dedicated to the customer that manager was. He could’ve given us the run around but he decided that the truth, even though it made him and the restaurant look incompetent, was more important. He was so ready to take the blame himself and I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to write off a $200 bill.)

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