These Germs Are Jumping All Over The Place

, , , , , , | Right | November 4, 2020

I work at a trampoline park. I am working at the front desk with one of my coworkers when I get a call from what I think will be a future customer.

Caller: “Hello. My son bought me a coupon to jump at your park, but it expires soon and I happen to have whooping cough and I need to go to the doctor. Will you be able to take my coupon even if it’s expired?”

Me: “I’m afraid not, ma’am. The system won’t allow me to override anything.”

Caller: “Well, if you won’t take my expired coupon, then I guess I’ll just have to come in while I’m still sick and infect your arena. You have kids jumping there, right? Do you want them to be exposed to whooping cough?”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but there’s only so much I can do.”

I tell my coworker that we’re basically being threatened with biological warfare over an expired coupon. She says we should call the police, but at that moment, our manager comes by and says to accept the expired coupon. I tell this to the woman.

Caller: “Okay, great! I have kids, too, ya know, and I wouldn’t want them to be exposed to anything like this.”

I still don’t know if she came to jump or not.

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Duck Right Out Of This One

, , , , | Friendly | November 2, 2020

We live near a lake and often walk our kids around to feed the ducks and swans. While you can feed them bread, it isn’t healthy for them and can even cause physical deformity! We use pellet duck food. It’s a few quid for a massive bucket. We find the ducks love it and flock to us first which is a nice bonus!

I portion out a bag for both of the kids and we stop by the lake on the way back from the shops.

We’ve been there a little while when a man and his son approach us. 

Man: “Could we have some food for the ducks?”

I start looking in the kids’ bags.

Me: “Sorry, it looks like we have pretty much run out.”

Man: “What? You’ve got plenty left.”

He points to the bread rolls in my shopping bag.

Me: “Oh, no. That’s our lunch; you can’t have that, I’m afraid.”

Man: “Come on, man. He wants to feed the ducks.”

Me: “I can see that, but I’m not having my kids go without lunch so you can throw it to the ducks. There’s a shop not even a five-minute walk from here. Go get your own.”

Man: “I haven’t got any money.”

Me: *Pause* “Be more prepared, then?”

We left the man and boy to it. I could just make out him telling the lad that they would have to walk “all the way to the shops, then,” as if it was that much of an effort.

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If You’re Gonna Break The Law, Do It At Home

, , , , | Learning | October 27, 2020

I’m a teacher in a somewhat “rough” area. Try as we might, we can’t always convince our students to stop hanging out with people who might get them into trouble.

I’m a female. When I’m not in school, I look nothing like my “teacher” appearance. In school, I look like a stereotypical librarian: professional clothes, my hair up in a bun, glasses, the whole nine yards. On the weekends, I wear T-shirts, a denim jacket, leggings or sweatpants, and my hair down to the middle of my back.

One weekend, I’m out running errands and decide to get lunch from my favorite cafe. I take my lunch out to a city park, find a bench, and start eating and browsing on my phone. From across the park, I hear a group of about seven or eight teens and young adults laughing and joking. I don’t pay any attention to them until it becomes clear that they are trying to get my attention.

Boy #1: “Hey, pretty lady. How about you share your lunch with us?”

Boy #2: “Yeah, pretty girl like you doesn’t need that much food. We can help you finish whatever you don’t eat.”

The group carries on for a few minutes, trying harder and harder to get a rise out of me, but I ignore them. After a few minutes, the group gives up and sits down at a picnic table near me, and I start smelling something that I haven’t smelled since college. I finally look over to the group, and they are passing around and smoking a plant-based drug, and they’re also passing around a bottle of alcohol.

I make eye contact with one of the teenage girls and recognize her as one of my best students in class. As soon as we make eye contact, she also recognizes me. In total shock, she blurts out my name and starts begging me not to get her in trouble.

Unfortunately, another park patron had already called police on the group for their drug and alcohol use. I had to identify my student to the police, along with some of the other young people who had been in my classes before dropping out or getting too old to graduate.

All of the young people were charged for smoking the drug and for public alcohol consumption, both of which are illegal in our city. Those who were not of age also received citations for underage alcohol consumption.

Of course, I had to report my student to the school principal, and she was given in-school suspension for a week. The principal wanted to suspend her out of school, but I argued that that would only drive her back to the same group of troublemakers and that it would be better for her to be in school, away from them.

When the girl was allowed back to class, she came in during my free hour to apologize for her behavior and to thank me for helping to reduce her school punishment. We had a heartfelt conversation about choosing the right people to surround yourself with, and so far, she has stayed out of trouble. I don’t know if she still hangs out with that group outside of school, but I really hope she doesn’t.

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A Small Gift From Across The Sea

, , , , , | Related | October 19, 2020

This takes place during the prehistoric days before a global health crisis. I’m an American ex-pat living in Barcelona, about ten years after high school graduation. Because I can’t afford to go home every year, I get into the habit of having a tourist day on my birthday.

The week before my birthday, my mom calls me to chat. Near the end of the talk, she casually asks where I’m planning to go for my birthday. I mention the famous park I’m going to, designed by an extremely Modernist architect. We say our goodbyes.

On my birthday, I’m walking around the park at noon. Near the museum, I see a group of teenagers and an adult chaperone. As I go into the building, I hear their accent — American, from the Midwest, like me. That’s not that unusual, since the park is a big tourist area. I glance up and see the chaperone’s face. She looks slightly familiar, so I focus a little harder. I think I recognize her and I step closer.

Me: “Excuse me. I know this sounds odd, but is that a Midwestern accent I hear? I grew up in Wisconsin.”

Chaperone: “Yes! We’re actually from Wisconsin, too. These kids are from my Spanish club. We take a trip to Spain every couple of years. When were you last home?”

Me: “A couple of years ago. Otherwise, I’ve been mainly here since graduation, ten years ago. Wait a second… Do you teach at [My Old High School]?”

Chaperone: *With a smirk* “I do…”

Me: “[Chaperone]?!”

We laugh and share a quick hug.

Chaperone: “There’s another face you might recognize.” 

We meander over to a display where a young teen girl is standing. The girl hears us and turns around, a giant grin on her face.

Me: “[NIECE]?!”

We hug tight, and then I walk around the park with them, catching up with my niece. I get permission from her teacher to kidnap her for supper. BEST. BIRTHDAY. EVER.

I called my mom the next day, and the first words out of her mouth were, “Were you surprised?” The brats in my family had this set up for weeks!

This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for October 2020!

Read the next Feel Good roundup story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for October 2020!

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We’d Gladly Watch A Movie About These Two!

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 24, 2020

I’ve worked with several rescue dogs over the years and have had a lot of negative experiences with other dog owners, especially working with reactive dogs. When I started a business working with dogs, I braced for these experiences to become commonplace.

They have not. I have a few complaints about some of the owners I have worked with, but this little story isn’t about those.

I am out with my favourite dog, an incredibly friendly, energetic, and happy cocker spaniel who I’ll call Miss Fluff. I’ve taken Miss Fluff to a park and she’s desperate for me to get the ball out and play with her. She’s glued to my feet as I do so — it’s a ball on a rope — and neither of us see the newcomer come around the corner until he’s joined her: a lovely, big chocolate lab, curious about the ball. Miss Fluff doesn’t care about him, only the ball.

The owners turn the corner, see us, and IMMEDIATELY call him off. He listens, but I call over that she’s friendly and they give him permission to come back over.

Me: “Will he chase the ball if I throw it for her?”

Miss Fluff is positively vibrating with excitement.

Owner: “Oh, yes. We’ll get out of your hair; don’t worry.”

Me: “Well, I was wondering if we should let them have a little race?”

Owner: “Oh, he’ll win. He’s much bigger than her and he loves to play fetch!”

So, to find out, I threw the ball. It went soaring across the field and Miss Fluff was after it like a shot, the lab hard on her tail. It was close, but she snatched the ball up ahead of him! The lab was having none of it, and he grabbed the end of the rope, and they happily ran back carrying it together.

The other owner and I laughed and agreed to call it a draw, before he went on and the lab obediently followed when called. Sadly, I’ve never seen them again in that area, but the memory still makes me smile, and moments like that have made up for the more inconsiderate and inattentive owners!

This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for September 2020!

Read the next Feel Good roundup story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for September 2020!

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