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Doesn’t Understand Whose Lifetime It’s For

, , , , , | Right | September 20, 2019

(I work summers in a historical park — basically a huge outdoor museum. Decades ago, some of the original donors to the park were issued lifetime passes. I work in the ticket booth at the front of the park, and a woman and her kids arrive with one of these lifetime passes. Not only is she much too young to have been issued one of these passes, but the pass is in a man’s name.)

Customer: “This pass gives us free family admission, right?”

Me: “Is the pass holder with you today?”

Customer: “I’m the pass holder.”

Me: “Is this your name on the pass?”

Customer: “No, that’s my father’s name. But he left the pass to me.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but this pass is only valid if the pass holder is here with you.”

Customer: “He died last year.”

Me: “I’m so sorry.”

Customer: “But he left me this pass.”

Me: “I’m afraid they don’t really work that way. If your father has passed away, you won’t be able to use his pass.”

Customer: “But it’s a lifetime pass!”

Me: “Right…”

Customer: “It never expires!”

Me: “It never expired during your father’s lifetime. But since he’s passed away…”

Customer: “He left it to me! I can use it!”

Me: “No, I’m afraid these passes can’t be left to other family members.”

Customer: “But it’s a lifetime pass!

(I finally had to get my boss to explain that the Lifetime Pass was only valid during her father’s lifetime. The woman refused to pay admission. She left, still angry that we wouldn’t accept her dead father’s Lifetime Pass.)

Feel “Free” To Go Aww

, , , , , , | Hopeless | September 17, 2019

(I train seeing-eye dogs and service animals for a living and have for the past ten years. The number of people who ignore a vest on a dog ceased to surprise me many years ago. On this day, I have three six-month-old golden retriever pups with me who are being trained as therapy companion animals — not seeing-eye dogs — so their training is a little different, and it’s not as strict as it is for dogs who need to be alert animals or guide dogs. I’ve taken them down to the dog park for socialising in their little vests that state they’re in training. When we get there, the dog park is mostly empty, save for a young couple in their 20s and their four- or five-year-old daughter. They’re throwing a ball for a chocolate lab puppy around the same age as my trio of loveable idiots, and mine are whining at me because they want to be “freed” to chase the ball. Sticking to their training, they’re sitting at my feet practically vibrating with excitement. The little girl tosses the ball and it rolls within three feet of my pups, who all amp up their whining. The other family’s dog seems to get spooked by mine, so it hangs back, and the little girl comes to retrieve the ball.)

Little Girl: “Oh! Mummy! Puppies!”

(I’m already impressed that she hasn’t barrelled forward to grab at the pups like most kids her age would do; even adults tend to think that because they’re small and cute they are up for grabs. While they all frantically wag their tails at the thought of a new friend, they stay seated. The little girl cocks her head to the side and starts sounding out the letters on their vests.)

Little Girl: “T… tr… tra… Train! Excuse me, are these train dogs?”

(Her parents have come over and we all giggle at her saying “train dogs.”)

Dad: “They say, ‘dog in training,’ sweetie. What does it mean when a doggy has a vest on with words on it?”

Little Girl: *sadly* “To leave them alone because they’re doing a job. I just wanted to look at them; they’re cute.”

(Her own puppy has sidled forward to sniff at mine, who are all ready to explode by this point but are still seated, waiting for the all-clear. The mum calls her dog back and holds his collar, apologising.)

Me: “That’s fantastic! You’re very clever. But guess what? These puppies are learning to be good friends to kids who need to feel safe and loved, so they can play. You ready guys? FREE!”

(The three balls of golden fluff EXPLODED from at my feet. They started running in circles, pawing at the other puppy, yipping excitedly, and licking the little girls’ shoes. Her face was something I’ll remember forever; a kid getting to play in a pile of puppies is something truly magical. She asked lots of questions about different kinds of helper dogs, and promised me she wouldn’t bother any dogs in vests unless their human said it was okay. Her parents thanked me, but I thanked them, as well, as learning to behave around kids is something very important to support dogs and we got in some great practice that day. That kiddo was so great for already knowing what a service animal was. I hope I can meet more like her in the future.)


This story is part of our Service Animals roundup!

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The Only Thing Cuter Than A Puppy Is a Meet-Cute

, , , , , , , | Related | August 31, 2019

(I am watching my niece for the afternoon. I work from home, so on days when her parents can’t get someone to watch her, they ask if she can play in my living room while I work. She’s very good about not disturbing me without asking, “Can Uncle can go on break?” so it works out. After I get off early for the day because of working too long the day before, I decide to take her to the park for how good she’s been. While there, we run into a neighbor with a service dog.)

Niece: “PUPPY!” *runs to pet it*

Me: “[Niece]! Stop right there!”

(She freezes.)

Me: “Sweetie, do you see how that dog has a vest on it?”

Niece: “Uh-huh! It’s cute!”

Me: “Sweetie, dogs with vests on them are special. They’re working dogs. That means that the dog is working right now.”

Niece: “Oh. So, I shouldn’t bother it while it’s working?”

Me: “Right! Not unless it’s on break. Just like Uncle [My Name].”

Niece: “Okay!” *walks slowly up to my neighbor* “Excuse me, boss lady. Is it okay for the puppy to go on break so I can pet it?”

Neighbor: “Oh, my! What a little cutie! Yes, sweetie, and call me Miss [Neighbor]. The dog is [Dog]! [Dog], you are now on break! Sit!”

(The dog sits down and looks at my niece.)

Niece: “Yay!” *pets the dog and gives him a hug* “Okay, [Dog]! Time to go back to work! Thank you, Miss [Neighbor]!”

Neighbor: “Oh, no, sweetie. He needs a longer break than that. You keep on playing with him. [My Name], who is this little sweetheart? And why haven’t you introduced us before?”

Me: *explains the situation* “And I just happened to get off early today, so we came to the park. It’s about time for us to head back so her parents can get her, though. [Niece], are you ready to go home?”

Niece: “Okay! Can I walk next to [Dog] and watch him work?”

Neighbor: “Of course, you can! [Dog]! Time to go home!”

(As we walk back, I get a call from her parents who let me know that they are running late, and ask me to give my niece dinner if I can.)

Me: “[Niece], sweetie. Mommy and Daddy are running late so you’re having dinner with me tonight. What would you like for dinner?”

Niece: “I want Miss [Neighbor] to have dinner with us!”

Me: “I.. bu… wha… I guess if she wants to? But we still need to figure out what to eat. Do you want spaghetti?”

Niece: “Okay!”

Neighbor: “Oh, that sounds lovely! Can I bring some wine over?”

Me: “Only if you’re okay with cracking it after she leaves.”

(And that is the story of how my niece chose who was going to be her aunt.)

 

What A Little A**hole

, , , , , , | Friendly | August 17, 2019

(My stepsister volunteers to watch a group of younger kids from her church. The kids are playing tag in a field and my stepsister is running around with them when her foot lands in a hole she didn’t see and she rolls her ankle. It hurts so much that she can’t stand up, and she has to go to the hospital. Later, one of the five-year-olds from the playgroup is talking to her mother about the incident.)

Five-Year-Old: *mournful* “It’s my fault Miss [Stepsister] got hurt.”

Mother: “Why is that?”

Five-Year-Old: “I knew about the hole, but I didn’t tell her. It’s my fault.”

Mother: “Why didn’t you tell her?”

Five-Year-Old: “I wanted to see what would happen.”

(My stepsister treads much more carefully around that particular child now.)

Falling Into Place

, , , , , | Romantic | August 16, 2019

(My grandparents are riding their bicycles and the path goes over a stream. My grandma’s front wheel catches on a rut and she goes over the handlebars. She ends up rolling down the embankment of the stream, and if it wasn’t for the help of an elderly couple nearby, she would have rolled into the water. As soon as they make sure my grandma is safe, the man turns to his wife and says:)

Man: “See, [Wife]? Women are still falling for me.”