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You Can’t Have Our Cake And Eat It, Too

, , , , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: OldLadyT-RexArms | December 3, 2022

I’m thirty-one so this story is a tad bit old, but it still makes my family laugh to this day. It’s good enough that, despite my memory loss from having had grand mal seizures during the first twelve years of my life, I still remember it like it was yesterday. It takes place on my ninth birthday.

We’re at a public park with my family and friends. We’ve got the cake and candy and pizza and snacks. Don’t forget party favors!

We’re having fun and hanging out and having a blast, and there are these kids slowly eyeing us from the park. Now, mind you, my mom isn’t dumb. She grew up poor, so she knows what it’s like being a kid and watching kids around you get stuff while you get nothing. We give people food and goodie bags. We aren’t a**holes. We share with the public. We can’t give the whole world things, but we share.

Some parents come up with their group of kids not long after we’ve given some skateboarders goodie bags.

Man: “Nice party you have here.”

Dad: “Thanks. How can we help you?”

Woman #1: “It’s my daughter’s birthday today.”

Mom: “Well, happy birthday. Would you like some cake?”

The little girl looks like she simply wants cake, and so do her friends. My sisters and friends are more than willing to welcome them to join us, but this woman and her friends aren’t going to let that happen until they put my mom in her place.

Woman #1: “She won’t be having cake. Not until you understand how disrespectful it is to come to a public park and eat like this in front of others.”

My grandmother gets up.

Grandmother: “Excuse me?”

Woman #2: “Well, my daughter is hungry.”

Sister: “Didn’t we literally just offer cake?”

Woman #1: “That doesn’t matter. You can’t just come here and eat like cretins while my children starve!”

The group of parents mumbles in the background about how we didn’t offer them food or drink.

Mom: “Then bring food. It’s a public park. I’m here having a birthday party for my daughter. I’ve given plenty of food to children already. I can’t be held responsible for the fact that you aren’t trying to feed your children. Look. I offered your starving daughter cake, and you continued to let her starve. So, who’s the disrespectful one now?”

The woman made this face like my mom had just smacked her. Mom handed the little girl some cake, and her mom grabbed her by the arm and stormed off angrily.

The other people kind of hung around and my mom eyed them, telling them that they should either leave or stay. They pretty much apologized and grabbed some cake, and it became a bigger party than expected.

Two years later, the same woman tried doing this to us again over chicken nuggets. Only, when she realized it was us, she panicked and started laughing, literally trying to make it into a joke. My mom just gave her the finger and slowly devoured a nugget as the lady backed away. I swear, she has no life.

Thanks For The Ableist And Presumptuous Compliment!

, , , , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: VincentValentina | November 26, 2022

This incident took place when I was three years old, so all of the information comes from my mother.

When I was around two, my parents found out I had autism and ADHD when I went to a doctor’s visit. Like the loving parents they were, they still loved me for the beautiful mess I was. However, the 2000s weren’t exactly the best for someone with a mental disability. Ableists were running amok.

Mama was walking with me in a stroller at a park near my old house, which was a townhouse. I was munching down on some Goldfish crackers (this will be important later) when a woman approached my mother.

Woman: “Awww, what a cute little tot! What’s her name?”

Mama: “[My Name]. She’s my sweet little angel. Right, [My Name]?”

I held up a cracker.

Me: “Fishie!”

My mom cracked a smile as I giggled. But one way or another, something touched me. It could have been a bug or the leather of the stroller, but my little mind began to panic. I started to stim, which back then was me tugging or grooming my hair. The woman noticed this and gasped.

Woman: “What’s going on with her?”

My mom paused and then noticed what was going on. She bent down to my level and stroked my scalp, which calmed me down immediately. I then happily went back to eating my crackers. However, it seemed like the woman hadn’t gotten her answer yet. She looked at my mother with a worried look on her face.

Woman: “Is she okay? Why was she tugging at her hair?”

Mama: “Oh, she was just stimming. It happens when she feels uncomfortable or upset.”

The woman was confused, but then it clicked for her.

Woman: *Looking grim* “Oh, she has autism. I’m so sorry.”

My mom is confused as well, but more importantly, she’s a tad ticked off.

Mama: “I only recently found out — about a year ago. She was diagnosed at [Local Medical Office] by [Doctor].”

The woman’s face turned from pity to disbelief.

Woman: “[Doctor] doesn’t have any medical experience. I brought my daughter to him, telling him about her broken leg from falling off of her scooter, and he said it was just a scrape! You shouldn’t be taking anything from him.”

Mama: *Pauses* “I’ve seen [Doctor] before, and he’s the best doctor I’ve visited yet. He’s the only one willing to see [My Name]. Not many doctors around here are open to those with autism.”

Woman: “But she doesn’t have autism.”

My mother gripped onto the stroller handles, wondering how this lady thought she was the professional doctor around here.

Mama: “What was that?”

Woman: “Your daughter does not have autism. She looks nothing like someone with autism. Plus, autistic people can’t talk, yet she can. [Doctor] probably told you she had autism just to mess with you.”

Mama: *Gripping the stroller tighter* “What are you implying?”

Woman: “You don’t get what I’m saying? I’m saying [My Name] is too pretty to have autism. And there’s another thing I can show you to prove that she doesn’t have autism.” *Kneels down to my level* “What is one plus one?”

Me: “Two.”

Woman: *Standing back up* “See, she can’t have autism. Most autistic people are r******d.

My mom was physically shaking at this point. However, before she could retaliate against all of the woman’s BS, I spoke up.

Me: “Mean shark.”

Woman: *Looking down at me* “What?”

Me: “Mean shark, eat salt!”

I then proceeded to throw goldfish crackers at this lady. The woman was either disgusted or annoyed, as she glared my mother in the eye as she tried to stop me from throwing my snack.

Woman: “How could you raise your child like that?! What little girl throws food at adults?”

Me: “Because the dinosaurs died.”

Woman: *Confused* “What?”

Me: “But one lives! It eats salt.”

The woman was enraged by my answer, but she only stomped away. After all, she wouldn’t want a bad reputation for punching a toddler, would she? Finally, my mom said something to her as she was stalking off.

Mama: “Never, and I mean never, assume someone is too pretty to have autism!”

They Got The Lion’s Share Of The Stupidity

, , , , , , , | Right | November 21, 2022

Back in 2011, I went to Africa to volunteer at an animal park. One of the areas I helped out with was a drive-through space with a pride of lions. People could drive their cars through to look at the lions, but there were rules. No cars with soft roofs (i.e., a cloth convertible top) or open roofs. Windows had to be closed at all times. Stick to the path. And so on.

Of course, people would try to break the rules, so a staff member would drive around in a truck to keep an eye on things, and sometimes volunteers would ride along to help look out. Most of it was fairly minor — cracking a window for a camera or trying to drive off the path to get closer to the lions. Except for this:

My volunteer coworker and I were in the backseat of the truck, looking out our respective windows, when suddenly my coworker gasped loudly. The staff member and I turned to look, and she was pointing toward a car that had stopped only a few feet away from the male lion.

They had two windows fully open: one for their camera and the other to DANGLE THEIR BABY OUT THE WINDOW so they could get a photo of the baby and the lion.

The staff member immediately jumped out of the truck and scrambled over to them. He briefly spoke to them. Then, they pulled the kid (and the camera) back inside, closed the windows, and drove off. When he came back, we asked him what he had said to them.

Staff Member: “I just told them that if they didn’t want their baby anymore, I had much kinder ways of getting rid of the kid than offering them up to the lions as food.”

Sour Candies, Sour Stranger, Sweet Ending

, , , , , | Friendly | November 8, 2022

I used to work a schedule that was seven days on, four days off. My neighbor and best friend was a work-from-home mom. On my days off, if the weather cooperated, I would take my two little mutts and the neighbor’s three girls, ages five, seven, and eight, to the local dog park. It was perfect. The play area was right next to the dog park, so I would take my energetic fluffballs to the dog park section and keep my eyes on the kids while they played, and my neighbor got a couple of hours of kid-free time. (The dog park required that you stay in the fenced area with your pets, and the play area only required you were always within view of your kids.) I always handed the kids one coin purse each with enough change to get a snack and drink from the vending machines.

On one trip, I realized I had left one of the coin purses at home. I didn’t want to just hand one of the kids loose change; experience had taught me that loose coins always fell out of their pockets. I dug in my purse and found some lemon drops in a round tin with a pretty snug-fitting top. I only had a few candies left in the tin, so I popped one in my mouth and offered the others to a few people sitting on the bench next to me in the dog park. I then put one of the kids’ coins in the tin and sent her on her way. She immediately noticed the jingling noise the coins made in the tin and had almost as much fun playing with the tin as she did on the playground. Of course, the other two wanted tins, too, so I promised I’d buy another three-pack of the lemon drops and they could have the tins as soon as they were empty. 

We were out at the park another day, and I had just emptied a lemon drop tin for the third kid, who was ecstatic. Once they all had their coin tins, they ran off, jingling them at each other.

After about thirty or forty minutes, I watched a girl obviously older and bigger than my neighbor’s kids run up to them from across the playground and make several attempts to grab at the kids while they ran away from her. At first, I thought they might be playing some sort of game, but I heard the oldest kid start yelling, “KNOCK IT OFF!” She only does that when someone is doing something she really doesn’t like. The older girl backed off and ran out of the playground.

I called the kids over.

Oldest Girl: “She was trying to take our coin tins!”

Me: “If she comes back and causes any more problems, come straight to me.”

About an hour later, I saw the girl come back hauling a ticked-off-looking woman with her. The woman went right up to my neighbor’s kids and said something I couldn’t hear. All three of them ran straight to me.

The woman followed them into the dog park and stormed up to where I was sitting.

Woman: “Your kids have been teasing my daughter with their tins! You or one of the kids needs to give her a tin, and you should all apologize.”

Me: “I’ve been watching the kids the whole time, and there was no teasing involved. Your daughter ran clear across the playground and tried to take the kids’ tins without provocation.”

Obviously, the mom didn’t want to hear this.

Woman: “You’re lying! Give my daughter a tin!”

Me: *Looking her directly in the eye* “No.”

She looked so shocked you’d think I’d hauled off and slapped her. 

Mom: “No?! No?!

Me: “No.”

Mom: “You have to give her a tin!”

Me: “No.”

Mom: “Why the h*** not?!”

This is something I really hate: people who absolutely refuse to accept “no” as an answer. They want you to give them a reason for the answer so they can argue with your reasons since “no” all by itself is a declarative statement that doesn’t really leave room for arguing. I don’t play that game. 

Me: “I said no. Now, either get out of my face or I’m calling park security.”

The mom stood there staring at me until I started obviously looking at the sign with the security office number on it and dialing my phone. She then stormed off in the direction she had come from and her daughter went back to the park.

I watched the daughter and the kids like a hawk until it was time for us to leave. She looked my way a few times while moving toward the kids and backed off when I glared at her. 

On the way home, the oldest kid asked me if I even had any more tins. I told her truthfully that I still had one leftover, which was almost empty, and I would have given it to the girl had she asked nicely. All three kids piped up that the girl had never asked them; she just ran up and tried to take them. I explained that there are some people in this world who behave like that, and it’s important to avoid them if you can and stand up to them when you can’t, or they’ll never stop taking from you because they will never be satisfied with what they have. 

I tell this story now because the middle child just did a presentation for her senior class about people who positively influenced her life, and she told this story. She ended by shaking her tin in the air, and her sisters shook theirs from where we were sitting in the auditorium. Then, she pointed me out while I was ugly-crying, so posting this is my revenge.

It’s Like A Jacksepticeye “Let’s Play” Come To Life!

, , , , | Right | September 27, 2022

I’m a park ranger. One night, around 10:30 pm or so, we got a call about a hiker in distress. There’s no such thing as a “routine” hiker in distress call, and this one was no exception.

The location was about twenty-five klicks from the nearest aid station, so it wasn’t exactly the middle of nowhere, but it was a fairly long hike. We drove as close as we could and then started hiking the rest of the way.

As we approached, we heard noises that certainly sounded like a distressed — though non-verbal — human, or possibly a distressed animal. We paused for a moment to discuss which it might be and what our options were. My partner’s face suddenly went pale.

Partner: “Did you hear that?”

Me: “What?”

Partner: “It’s a repeating track. Listen.”

We listened for a bit, and sure enough, the noises were exactly repeating themselves at roughly five-minute intervals as though it was a sound playing in a loop.

We radioed in a potentially dangerous situation and left as rapidly and safely as we could.

The next morning, as soon as there was enough sun to do so, the helicopter crew went out to the area in question and found tire tracks, the remains of what MIGHT have been a hunting blind made with local branches and rocks, and fragments of mounting hardware left on some of the trees as though speakers, cameras, other manmade devices had been mounted to them and had been hastily ripped off.

We’re not sure if we almost stumbled into an illegal animal hunting operation using the sounds as a lure or an even more illegal human hunting one.