Hail To The Bus Driver, Part 7

, , , , , | Hopeless | March 16, 2019

This happened a few years ago when I was still very new in the city. We always took the same bus route to and from the city centre, and one of the bus drivers on that route was the sweetest, happiest bus driver I have ever met in my life. He would always be humming some catchy song and when, for example, a couple — like my boyfriend and me — got off the bus, he would say through the PA system something like, “Have a romantic evening, you lovely couple,” or, “Treat that pretty girl right, sir!” or, “Have a fabulous day,” and if he found out that someone had their birthday, he would definitely get the whole bus to sing “Happy Birthday.”

He would also always stop and wait if he saw someone — like me, on multiple occasions — running towards the bus stop. One time I even saw him get out of the bus to assist an elderly lady getting on the bus. He was, all in all, a wonderful person.

Unfortunately, a few years after we had already moved to another part of town, we found out that this wonderful bus driver had died. Apparently, his kindness and cheerfulness were so well known throughout the entire city that the news of his unexpected death warranted a whole article in the newspaper.

The article was titled, “Oslo’s favourite bus driver has died.” He touched many, many lives.

The Kindness Muffin

, , , , | Hopeless | February 1, 2019

I was working the evening shift on a very quiet Sunday and I ordered some dinner through a food delivery company. It was raining badly outside; all our guests complained about it. The delivery guy, on a bike, came in completely soaking wet! I said I was so sorry to make him deliver my food in such bad weather and that I was happy to eat a nice, warm dinner during my break. He looked so cold and wet that I insisted he take some hot coffee from our coffee machine, and I gave him some chocolates that are usually for members of the hotel when they check in. He was very happy!

Several weeks later, I was working the same shift and again ordered my dinner through the same company. The same guy came with my food, and when he saw me he said he had something for me. He ran back to his bike and came back with a box of homemade muffins! His wife had made them and he really wanted me to have one, too. It was the most delicious muffin ever. Be kind to your delivery person!

Everyone Needs A Baba

, , , , , , | Hopeless | January 30, 2019

This happened several years ago when I was still quite new in the city. I was doing my grocery shopping one day and when I wanted to pay for my things it turned out that I did not have enough funds on my bank account to pay for all of it. Since my partner had been unemployed for a while already at that time, times were hard and funds very low. It seemed something had been auto paid from my account that I had forgotten about; therefore, I had less money than I’d thought when I went shopping. I still had a little on another credit card but I could not pay for everything. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. There was a queue forming behind me, too, by then. I became very flustered and tried to quickly pick some things out that weren’t so urgent for me to buy while I was very close to tears.

The cashier, a patient, elderly man, saw how flustered and embarrassed I was and gently said to me, “Please, do not worry about picking out groceries to leave behind; you can pay me back for the difference another day.” I immediately refused since I did not know this man and I did not want to cause trouble. He insisted he would pay for the difference because he also had daughters and sometimes life can be hard. By then I was really crying. I thanked him profusely while I packed my things. I asked him what his name was so I could bring the money another day and he said, “Just ask for Baba [Father]; everyone calls me that here.”

I came back a few days later with the money, a thank-you card, and some homemade cookies. I asked one of the guys working there if he had seen the elderly man and he immediately grinned widely and said to me, “Oh! That must be Baba!” It was clear he was very fond of him. I explained what had happened and he nodded. “Yes, that is something he would do; he is a bit of an extra father to all of us working here, too. He is not working today but I will make sure he gets this.”

Thank you, Baba, for looking out for me that day, and for taking good care of your coworkers, too!

The Best Way To Handle Problem Customers Is To Just Hum Along

, , , , | Right | December 18, 2018

(In our store we have a policy that you can’t return a certain item. This is regulated by law, but most customers do not believe this, for some reason. I have had some very uncomfortable encounters with customers over this, but this one takes the crown.)

Customer: “I would like to return these.” *she puts up the item that I am not allowed to take as a return, and a couple of other items that I can take*

Me: *friendly and apologetic* “These I cannot take; I am not allowed. I do apologize. But you can return these.”

Customer: “Ah, yes, I have heard that you guys are very difficult and that this store has bad customer service, but I decided to give you a chance. But now I know; I am never coming back here!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. The policy is, however, regulated by law, and I cannot accept a return on these. There is nothing I can do about it.”

(The customer goes on a rant on how stupid this is, how she is never coming back, and how bad the customer service is. I am quite used to these rants, because of the law, so I shut down and am now just nodding and smiling. The customer races around the store to find something to exchange her returnable items for, because she does not want store credit. Meanwhile, I’m doing some tidying, and putting items back on the shelves, while humming a tune to myself. The store is very small and the customer hears my humming.)

Customer: *wild-eyed* “How can you HUM when I am upset?!”

Me: *shocked* “I’m sorry, what?”

Customer: “Even YOU should understand that you can’t hum when a customer is in the store and upset! YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, DON’T YOU?!”

Me: “I’m so sorry; I always hum. I really did not mean to offend you in any way!”

Customer: “I’m going to write a complaint to the store, telling your boss that you treated me VERY badly! This is not the last you are hearing of this! It is so incredibly rude TO HUM WHILE A CUSTOMER IS UPSET!”

Me: “Please calm down. There is nothing I can do. I am not allowed to return the item, by law. I did not mean to offend you by humming. I always hum.”

Customer: “Give me store credit; I can’t find anything here to buy.” *she studies the note with the store credit to get my name* “Oh, so it’s [My Name]? You will hear about this!”

Me: *a little frustrated that she is going to complain about me personally to my boss over something that I could not do anything about by law* “I’m so sorry. I don’t understand why you are so upset by me humming.”

Customer: *as she storms out* “NO, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”

(Well… I have not heard anything about any complaint, nor have I stopped humming.)

Illegally Rich

, , , , , | Working | December 3, 2018

I started my first job when I was fourteen. There are a lot of rules that have to be followed when someone under eighteen works, like how often one can work, time of the day, and stuff like that. I think I broke every single one. However, I was only glad for the money and apparently, it’s the employer who has to make sure the rules are followed, not the employee.

When you’re under fifteen, you need written consent from your parents before you can start working. I never had written consent; however, my manager knew that my parents agreed as my manager kind of knew my mom.

Also, when under fifteen, you can’t work more than two hours a day, and twelve hours a week. I definitely worked more than that.

When under fifteen, it’s not legal to work after 8:00 pm or before 6:00 am. I often worked until 10:00 pm and started work at 4:30 or  5:30 am.

When under eighteen, you’re not allowed to work overtime, so a maximum of nine hours a day, and forty hours a week. I often worked more than nine hours a day, sometimes more than forty hours a week, as well. I got paid for it, so I was happy. As I had near to no expenses, I definitely felt rich when I got paid and didn’t have to pay any bills or anything like that.

I was also entitled to thirty-minute breaks when working four and a half hours or more, and since I didn’t get to leave my workplace, I was supposed to get paid during those thirty minutes. I didn’t get paid, so I often just didn’t take a break. My manager made sure I got paid for thirty minutes extra every day.

There was also the issue with vacation. When under eighteen, if you go to school, you have to have four weeks and one day of vacation each year, and two of the weeks have to be during the summer months. I worked all through the summer, each summer, all of the “red days” — Sundays, Christmas, and Easter — where we get paid 100% overtime.

For the sake of my employer, and myself, I am very glad that the labor inspection never checked us, as my employer would have been in trouble, and I wouldn’t have been able to work all of those hours. Was it legal? Definitely not, but hey, I got paid, and my employer saved money, as I was cheaper than people over the age of 18.

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