They Were Hoping You Couldn’t Tell Time

, , , , , | Working | November 7, 2019

(Not long after I move into the city, my family drives over to see how I’ve settled in and take me out to dinner. My dad drives, dropping us off at the restaurant before going to find a parking spot. When he joins us, he tells us he parked at a meter and gave it plenty of quarters. We have a nice dinner, and then my dad leads us to where he parked the car. He gets to it first and sees something that angers him.)

Dad: “Oh, are you kidding me?”

Me: “What?”

Dad: “There’s a parking ticket on the windshield, but there are still ten minutes left on the meter!”

Mom: “Wait, really?”

(Sure enough, there are about ten minutes left on the meter from when my dad originally put money in it. The time stamp on the ticket shows that it was issued about ten minutes before we got there, meaning the ticket was issued with twenty minutes left on the meter! My parents take photos showing the ticket, the meter, and their watches to prove the mistake so they can contest the ticket. After this, they take me back home, and I forget about the whole thing until a few months later when I’m with my mom.)

Me: “Oh, hey, remember back when you got that parking ticket even though there was still time on the meter?”

Mom: “Oh, yes.”

Me: “You contested it, right? What happened?”

Mom: “They wouldn’t admit that the officer was at fault, but they still accepted our appeal.”

Me: “So, they agreed that you shouldn’t have to pay the ticket — the ticket that their officer left for no reason — but it’s still not the officer’s fault somehow.”

Mom: “Yep.”

(Gotta love city parking.)

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A Real Halloween Scare

, , , , , | Friendly | October 31, 2019

(I’m fourteen and I am a cat for Halloween but forget the tail.)

Stranger: “Hey, sexy kitty, where’s your tail?”

Mom: “Why are you looking at my daughter’s a**?”

Stranger: “…”

(They quickly left.)

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Some People Just Can’t (Pan)Handle Reality

, , , | Working | October 29, 2019

(I used to work at a store, but have since gotten a job in human services working with the mentally ill. Essentially, I’m a life coach for the people on my caseload and one of my duties is to secure their money and give it to them when they need it throughout the month for the things they’ve budgeted for. One of the women on my caseload is someone who used to frequent my former employer and walk around aimlessly before asking someone to call her a cab. When we’d call her a cab and say where she was going, the cab companies would refuse to pick her up and say they won’t go to her destination. Whenever we would tell her this, she would go stand outside and wait for close to half an hour before walking off. I later learned she would walk a mile down the road to another plaza and panhandle there, asking for rides, money, food, or all of the above. One day at my new job, I take this woman grocery shopping and afterward give her her spending money for the month, which is budgeted for her to spend on whatever she wants. Later that day after I get out of work, my friends pick me up and we go to the bookstore located in the plaza down the street from where I used to work. When we’re leaving and I’m getting in the car, I hear a familiar voice on the other side of my car as someone addresses my friend.)

Familiar Voice: “Excuse me, sir, but do you have any change you can spare so that I can go get a meal to eat at the [Italian Chain]? I don’t want to go eat at that disgusting [Burger Chain] or fast food place because that’s so bad for you, but I’m so hungry and have no food or money myself and don’t even have a place to sleep.”

My Friend: *in an uncomfortable tone* “Sorry, I don’t carry cash on me. Wish I could help.”

Familiar Voice: “Well, bless your heart; would you be able to give me a ride to [Italian Chain], instead, then? I haven’t eaten in several days and I’m sure some nice person there can help me.”

(While my friend stutters out a response, I come around the other side of the car and confirm it’s the woman on my caseload who I gave the money to earlier that day. She does not notice me and continues asking my friend for a ride.)

Woman: “If you could find it in your heart to help a poor, hungry woman get a healthy meal, it would be ever so kind. I haven’t had anything to eat in days and I’m so hungry and have no money.”

Me: “You haven’t eaten in days, you say? [Woman], why didn’t you tell me that after I brought you grocery shopping today? I could’ve helped you fix something up for yourself back at your apartment.”

(The woman turns to me slowly with a blank look on her face, which is her baseline, and I see the recognition in her eyes.)

Me: “And you don’t have any money at all? Did someone take the money I gave you earlier? That was more than enough to get a cab to [Italian Chain] and get yourself a nice meal there. But you said you don’t have a place to sleep, didn’t you? Did something happen at your apartment? Did you let [My Boss] know so she can get you a respite bed?”

(At that, the woman hmphed at me, turned around, and walked off towards the other end of the parking lot. My friend was standing there looking very confused, and I quickly explained that I work with the woman and had given her money earlier that day after taking her grocery shopping. The last I heard, she was still panhandling but word got out that she did not need the money or the rides, and so people have stopped giving her anything. I heard that she is mentally doing much better and her symptoms are in remission, but I guess old habits die hard.)

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On A Bus To Get Somewhere Hopeful

, , , , , | Friendly | October 20, 2019

(I’m waiting at a bus stop on my way to work. A Hispanic guy, about my age, nervously comes over.)

Guy: “I… sorry, bad English…”

Me: *in Spanish* “I speak Spanish. Do you need help?”

(He suddenly looks hopeful, and continues in Spanish.)

Guy: “I’m trying to get down to [Government Office], but my phone died and I don’t know how to get there on the bus.”

Me: “Oh, hold on!”

(I get up my phone, pull up the office, and get him the bus number and which stop to get off at.)

Guy: “Thank you! So much!”

Me: “You’re welcome! Do you have a bus pass?”

(He suddenly looks crestfallen.)

Guy: “Oh, no… I don’t have any money right now.”

(I pull an all-day pass out of my wallet and hand it to him.)

Me: “Here. I keep a spare on me just in case. Good luck!”

(A couple of weeks later, I run into him at the same stop.)

Guy: “Hey, you’re the girl that helped me out!”

Me: “I remember you! Did you get down there all right?”

Guy: “Yeah! Thank you so much!”

(Turns out, he was a recent immigrant and was trying to get some forms dropped off for his citizenship. We ended up exchanging social media to keep in touch.)

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Will Not Miss Mister

, , , , | Right | October 18, 2019

(In France, as probably almost everywhere, non-profits hire students to stop people in the street to ask them for donations. It’s expected that they remain friendly and smiling, and people seem to take that as a “please abuse me” sign. Sure, they can be a bit annoying, but they never insist once you tell them you’re not interested. I have a rather old bike which tends to fall apart easily, needing me to stop for a minute or two to pick up the broken parts and put them back together. One day, I stop right next to a student working for an NPO and hear this exchange between the employee and an old guy.)

NPO Employee: “Hi! Do you have a minute?”

(Note that in French, using words such as, “sir,” “mister,” etc., would be weird in that sentence and setting.)

Old Guy: “If you want to talk to me, you’ll call me mister!”

NPO Employee: *hesitant* “Okay, and does mister have a minute?”

Old Guy: *with a smug smile* “No!”

(I don’t like it when a**holes seem to think they can bother whomever they want, just because they’re younger, or for whatever reason. I stand up from my improvised bike repair and walk up to the old guy. I’m a 20-ish female, but I’m 1.80m — 5’9” — and am very well-built, so I tower over him.)

Me: *in the sweetest voice I can muster* “Then why did mister feel the need to importune that underpaid student? Would mister deign explain it to someone who isn’t contractually obligated to smile and be polite to him, or would mister rather f*** off?”

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