Did Not Volunteer For This Treatment

, , , , , | Working | July 4, 2019

(I volunteer at a miniature science museum during summer break, which is characterized by its “Mess Kits,” little boxes with science experiments for children in them. Volunteers work at the Mess Kit Desk and provide information or kits to anyone who comes up to it. The owner is rather lenient when it comes to phone usage during lulls in activity. I’m 16 and quite obviously autistic, as I tend to stim in public. One of the paid workers has been on my back for several months, constantly berating my work, speaking to me in an extremely condescending tone, and telling me that the way I speak and treat people is very rude. She screeches at me for drawing, reading, or checking my phone no matter the situation and has nearly brought me to tears several times. My brother and another volunteer are working at the desk with me in this story. My brother notices the painful lull, takes out his phone, and sits in front of the desk. The other volunteer glances up and looks back down at her phone. I finish sweeping, which was the only other job available, and sit on the floor behind the two since there’s no other chairs up front. I’m there for not even a minute when the paid employee walks up to the front of the desk.)

Paid Employee: “[My Name]! You need to stay off your phone! We’ve discussed this. Do I need to take it away?”

(I gape, as my brother and the other volunteer are in her direct line of sight on their phones and she has to strain to see me specifically, clearly singling me out.)

Me: “B-but…”

Paid Employee: “You need to learn to follow directions!”

(My brother’s phone is a foot away from her face.)

Me: “I j-just swept…”

Paid Employee: “Then find something else to do!” *leaves without saying a word to the two volunteers directly in front of her*

(I barely make it to the bathroom before I start crying, inconsolable, and my mother picks me up. My brother backs up my story, so she urges me to draft an email to the owner explaining the rude and condescending treatment I’ve suffered thanks to [Paid Employee]. The owner apologizes, saying she will speak to the employee about her behavior, but also suggests I just work shifts the employee doesn’t take. I work up the nerve to return as a volunteer, and to my luck, I see the rude employee about halfway into my shift.)

Brother: “Look out!”

Paid Employee: *blanches as soon as she sees me, quickly looks away, and rushes to finish her task!*

(She avoids me as much as I avoid her, now. I guess she really didn’t expect anyone to report her discrimination!)

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Unfiltered Story #156821

, | Unfiltered | July 2, 2019

*note* I work at a living history museum with lots of buildings, some original to the period we interpret, some reconstructions, most hold priceless antiques from the period as well..for this reason pets are not supposed to come into the buildings, lots of people plus really old stuff…however service animals are permitted….but to avoid any discrimination suits, we are not permitted to even ask to see the papers, let alone challenge anyone who comes in with a dog claiming it is a service animal, even if it is really obvious they are lying and taking advantage of laws that are supposed to help people who legitimately do need service animals**

*I am working at the entrance to the building, and I note a guest (GUEST) with a Pug dog coming inside the property, the Pug is pulling like crazy on the leash, no vest, doggie bags in wait…clearly NOT a service dog. I approach my colleague (Gate) who is checking tickets at the gate of the property)

Me: *quietly* “a pug?”

GATE: “apparently it is a service dog….”

*we shrug, I return to my post by the door of the building and another colleague (GUIDE) comes out to take the next tour through the building, I inform GUIDE that there is s a “service pug”..that is clearly not a service dog. GUIDE goes over and converses with GATE, with similar results with mine, the goes to gather the tour.*

GUIDE: *to GUEST* “Is that a service animal?”

GUEST: yes

*GUIDE brings tour inside, muttering under breath to me that GUEST is clearly lying, but of course, nothing we can do, “service pug” comes up the rear, so GUIDE asks the only other question we are permitted to ask*

GUIDE: “What service does it provide?”

GUEST: “Oh, it’s to help with my eyes..”

*enters with tour and door closes*

*face palm*

moral: if you are going to lie about a service dog, at least make it somewhat credible in “service”, otherwise you may end up on notalwaysright!

Being Very Frank About Spoilers

, , , , , | Right | June 27, 2019

(I am a volunteer guide at Anne Frank’s Museum for Human Rights. The first room is a timeline with pictures and important events of both Anne Frank’s life and World War II. My job is to guide the visitors through the timeline, expanding on the historical context and Anne’s personal experience. We are almost at the end when a visitor interrupts my explanation.)

Visitor: “STOP! Stop, stop. Don’t go on. I haven’t finished the book yet; you were about to tell me how it ends!”

Me: *speechless*

Visitor: *noticing the pictures of the family, along with the descriptions of how each of them died* “OH, MY GOD, this place is full of spoilers!”

(I never saw him again. I want to believe he is already reading newspapers from the ‘60s, still complaining about spoilers on the course of history. SPOILER ALERT: Hitler lost the war.)

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The Hidden Truth

, , , , , , | Related | May 7, 2019

Many years ago, my family lived in the Washington, DC area. We often went to visit the Smithsonian Institution museums which line the National Mall between the US Capitol and the Washington Monument.

I would usually pick my daughter — at the time of this story, four years old — from preschool and deliver her to my wife’s office. I would then go to my second job. This one afternoon, however, I got finished extra early, so I picked up my daughter and we went to the Air & Space Museum, which is one of my daughter’s favorites.

We spent a good hour in there during a very busy summer day. After we’d seen our fill, I told her we needed to get going to mommy’s office. As we were walking out, she walked to the right side of a display that was in the middle of the hallway, and I went on the left.  

However, at the other end — maybe 12 feet — she didn’t meet up with me. Panicked, I quickly ran around the right side, then to the left. I couldn’t see her. I started calling her name, but my voice was easily drowned out by the crowd present. I quickly found a security guard, and he called in a missing child. We kept looking around until he got a call that a young girl matching my daughter’s description had been found. We went to the security desk, and there was my daughter. Since there was nothing sinister about her disappearance, I didn’t file a report, and I also didn’t bother to tell my wife.

Twelve years later, my wife and daughter flew back to DC to visit old friends for my daughter’s 16th birthday. One day, they decided to go to the museums. When they went to the Air & Space Museum, they walked by where I’d lost her years before. That’s when my daughter told my wife, “I remember this spot. This is where I hid from Daddy when he wanted to leave, but I didn’t.”

So, the ugly truth came out: she had deliberately hidden from me; it hadn’t been an honest misplacement. And who got in trouble for not telling my wife about the incident? Not the little girl who hid from Daddy, but the husband who thought, “No harm, no foul.”

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Throw You For A Group

, , , | Right | April 19, 2019

(I man the front reception desk of a medium-sized local museum, take bookings, greet visitors, man the gift shop, and so on. I’m in my late 20s, but I look younger, and I’m a lipstick-wearing girly-girl at work. On one quiet day, an elderly man walks in.)

Me: “Hello! How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I want to come here with a large group next Wednesday. We’ll be twenty or thirty people, so we want the group discount. We want to see [Exhibition] and we want [Male Colleague #1] or [Male Colleague #2] to show us.”

Me: “We’ll be very happy to welcome you! However, I’m sorry, sir, we do not give group discounts. Also, I can not guarantee which guide you will be given, as I don’t know who will be here on that day. Most likely, I will be your guide.”

Customer: “What? But I got a group discount last time! I only want to pay half price!”

Me: “I am sorry, but as I said, we do not give group discounts. When was the last time you were here?”

Customer: “Fifteen years ago! And they said I could have a group discount then!”

Me: “Well, we have new owners now, and no group discount.”

Customer: “This is an outrage! I’ve never been so offended in my life! I want to talk to the person responsible for bookings!”

Me: “That would be me.”

Customer: “No, you don’t understand. I want to talk to the person who is responsible for bookings!”

Me: “Sir, that is me. I am responsible for the bookings.”

Customer: “I want to talk to your manager!”

Me: “Do you mean my director? She is not here today, but you can call her.”

Customer: “I’ll make sure you never get to work here again! And you will not be guiding us, I want [Male Colleague #1] or [Male Colleague #2]!”

Me: “Would you not rather prefer [Female Colleague], who actually designed the exhibition?”

Customer: “You are so rude! I want to talk to the person in charge of this!”

Me: “As I said, sir, that is me. I am in charge of this. I am in charge of bookings. I am in charge of entrance prices. If you ask my director, that is what she will say, too. If you wish to bring your party somewhere else, you are of course free to do so. We will be happy to receive you, but at the standard price and with the available guide.”

Customer: “Well… why didn’t you just say that?! And you can’t expect people to take you seriously, not when you’re wearing that lipstick!”

(In the end, he came back with a party of thirteen. They paid the full price, I showed them the exhibition, and they were all really happy with their day out. One of the ladies even complimented me on my lipstick!)

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