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Free Ice Cream Does Not Mean Free To Abuse

, , , | Right | April 13, 2020

(I work at the local swimming and sports center, manning the bar section where we do kids’ parties. Once a year, we hand out free ice cream to children that have earned their swimming diplomas. We school in three levels of swimming. This customer has three kids, one in each level of schooling. It is a few minutes after his second kid has gotten an ice cream. I recognize the father the minute he calls out to me.)

Me: *serving another customer* “Here’s your change, sir, and here’s your free ice cream, little lady.”

(I head out to the swimming section to serve a kid’s party and then return to be stopped by the customer.)

Customer: “Hey, you son of a b****! I have been waiting here for twelve minutes and I demand you give me my ice cream now!”

(Staying calm, I explain how it is usually busy with the free handouts and three kids’ parties.)

Me: “My apologies for the long wait. Could you please be a bit more patient? I will help you as soon as I can.”

Customer: “That won’t do. I demand my ice cream now! My son will be out here with his C-level diploma and I won’t have him waiting in line this long when my girls already had to!”

Me: “Well, I’m terribly sorry, sir, but it is policy that the children show their diplomas to us; otherwise, anyone could say their child got it and ask for free ice cream, even if they failed the exam.”

(The customer bursts into a raging fit about me not trusting him and how he is a pillar of the community. He is cursing and calling me names, ranting about how I should respect him, at which point I lose all my respectful demeanor.)

Customer: “Get me my d*** ice cream now, you annoying little brat!”

Me: “Well, sir, seeing as your two daughters have had to wait in line, you should be well aware of how things go around.”

Customer: “I said if you don’t get me my ice cream right now, I will take my business elsewhere.”

Me: “So, you will stop waiting in line here when it was your turn after two or three other customers, though you would not have gotten your ice cream seeing as your son is not here to show his diploma, which would mean you would have to wait all over again, and will go somewhere else to get him his ice cream, where you will have to pay for it. My dear sir, I do not care who you are or where you’re from, but from what I can tell, you have just wasted ten minutes of everyone’s time by stopping me from doing my job, you have embarrassed your daughters by acting in such a foul manner in front of them, and worst of all you just gave me the option to ignore you from now until forever. So, go to this other store where you will have to pay, and take your son and your daughters with you, or wait in line like every other respectable parent in this place. I don’t care either way.”

Customer: “How dare you talk to me like that?! Don’t you know who I am?”

Me: “Like I said, I do not care who you are, especially if you disrespect me or my colleagues.”

Customer: “Even so, I am a paying customer so you should treat me with the utmost respect.”

Me: “Sir, you have not paid for a single thing yet; you got your ice cream for free. If you are referring to the swimming lessons, that has nothing to do with me. Now, if you will excuse me, I have paying, respectful customers to serve, and children to tend to. I’ll know when you have made your choice.”

(I walk off taking orders, once again ignoring the customer completely.) 

Other Customer In Line: “How could you not jump over the bar and punch that guy?”

Me: *jokingly* “Because I can’t jump high enough.” 

(The other customer and I chuckle at that. When the customer’s son’s exams are done, I see the customer standing in line at the bar with his son in hand, ready to show the diploma, when it is their turn to be served.)

Me: “Well, then, young man, which ice cream do you want?”

Customer’s Son: “I want a [Brand] ice cream, please.”

Me: *handing over the ice cream* “There you go. Sorry for the long wait; I had a very obnoxious man earlier who was holding up the line.”

(All the customers who had witnessed the event laughed out loud when they heard me, as the man stormed out with his kids, cursing all the way to the car, and probably on the way home, as well.)

Pooling Together All The Bad Behavior

, , , , | Right | April 3, 2020

(I’ve been working at this pool for over five years, and since I’m now in college I only work when back home on breaks. A colleague warns me about a new patron who thinks he’s above the rules. A few days later, I get to meet him.)

Me: “Hello, sir!”

(The patron grunts and pulls his tiny two-year-old daughter, still in street clothes, around to the side of the pool and around the corner, past me and my line of vision. A few minutes later, I hear strange noises and go to investigate. I find him by the metal bleachers, attempting to use our rope lane to TIE HIS DAUGHTER UP LIKE A DOG.)


(I rush over and untie the girl. He glares at me.)

Customer: “What am I supposed to do? Last time, the guard refused to watch her!”

Me: “That’s because we’re not a daycare, sir. We are lifeguards and we need to watch the pool and swimmers, not your child. There is a daycare center right upstairs.”

Customer: “They charge $35 an hour! You expect me to pay that? YOU JUST WANT MORE MONEY!”

Me: “I don’t care about money, sir. I care about keeping my pool safe. Either leave or take her to the daycare, or she swims with you.”

Customer: “FINE!”

(He begins ripping off his daughter’s clothes right there on the pool deck, leaving her in only a diaper. Diapers are ABSOLUTELY not allowed in our pool; only swim diapers can go in.)

Me: “Sir… She’s wearing a diaper; she can’t go in. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize.”


(He picks her up and attempts to RUN to the pool. I step in front of him and block his path.)

Me: “Sir! If you attempt to get any closer to my pool, I will have them tear up your membership! You do not yell here, you do not run, you do not bring diapers in, and above all else, you do not ignore the lifeguard! You need to leave for today; you can come back when you’re ready to obey the pool rules.”

(He glares down at me for a minute. I stand my ground, even though he’s three times my size, and he eventually gathers up his stuff and leaves, mumbling under his breath. I talk to my boss after my shift and he tells me to call him down next time the guy comes in, as he’s been a huge troublemaker. A week later:)

Me: “Uh-oh. He’s back.”

Coworker: “Crap. You’re the senior guard; what do you want me to do?”

Me: “Call [Boss] and tell him who’s here.” 

(My coworker goes into the guard office to make the call while I watch the man. Today he has his daughter from before, and an older daughter, who is mentally impaired and cannot move on her own, in a large stroller. Both girls are fully clothed. He walks over to me and holds up a swim diaper.)

Customer: *annoyed* “Is this the right thing for swimming?”

Me: “Yes, sir! Your daughter will be able to accompany you in the pool while wearing that! If you just take her in the locker rooms to change, I’m sure you’ll all have a great time!”

(He grunts and heads back over to his kids and starts taking off their clothes in the middle of the pool deck.)

Me: “Sir? Could you take them into the locker rooms and change them there, please? We—”


(My coworker returns from the phone call.)

Coworker: “There are men out here in the pool…”

(He ignores us and continues to change his kids right there. My coworker tells me that our boss is on his way back from lunch and to keep the pool safe until then. The man gets into the lap lane with his daughters, and I decide to let it slide since there’s no one in the lap lanes and to keep the man from blowing up.

He has a hold of both of them for a while, playing with both, and then he deposits the two-year-old on the lane line — which is the plastic rope used to divide the pool into sections — and sticks a foam noodle each under the paralyzed girl’s neck and legs. He then begins swimming laps away from them. My coworker and I sprint over and snatch both girls out of the water before they go under, right in time for my boss to show up.)

Boss: “What the h*** is going on here?!”

(We explain what just happened, and we are directed to go fill out incident reports and leave the kids with my boss. We’re filling them out in the office as man swims back toward my boss and his daughters, emerges, notices the situation, and begins arguing with my boss. There is some yelling that we can’t hear, and then:)

Customer: “Well, f*** you, then! I’m getting my own pool, and I will swim in that and never come back here, and you will be sorry!”

Boss: “Fine with me! Get out and don’t come back!”

(The man leaves and my boss comes to the office, muttering.)

Coworker: “You okay, boss?”

Boss: “Yeah, I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about him anymore; I’m tearing up his membership.”

Me: “Is he really getting his own pool? I feel like he should be banned from pools everywhere.”

Boss: “I doubt it; he probably just wanted to sound important. And if he does, when his kids nearly drown, he’ll see just how important lifeguards and rules are!”

Reset The Temperature To Setting Number One

, , , , , , | Right | March 28, 2020

(I work as a lifeguard during the summer at the local park pool. Being an outdoor pool, it is hard to regulate the temp. The pool tends to be warmer in the afternoon when the sun is directly overhead. A lady comes up to me mid-morning:)

Customer: “The water is too cold!”

Me: “You will have to wait until the afternoon; then the water will be warmer.”

(To most, the reason would be obvious, but she blankly stares at me.)

Customer: “Why?”

(I’m not certain what comes over me, but I reply:)

Me: “Because the water is always warmer after the kiddie swim classes.”

(She contemplated my answer for a minute before it dawned on her and she walked away, disgusted.)

Changing Outfits And Lungs

, , , , , | Right | March 21, 2020

(This story was told to me by a coworker. The pool where I work is an older chlorine pool; since chlorine is a deadly gas we have an extremely sensitive alarm to warn us if there is a leak. When it goes off, we have to evacuate everyone from the pool immediately until we can determine if it’s a false alarm or not. This occurs as my coworker and a supervisor are trying to get everyone out of the building.)

Coworker: “Ma’am, is that your daughter in the change room?”

Mother: “Yeah, she’s changing.”

(My coworker goes and checks on the daughter who appears to just be standing there. She is joined by my supervisor because they are the last people left to be evacuated.)

Coworker: “Ma’am, she appears to just be standing there. Can you throw a towel over her and please take her outside?”

Mother: “No, she’s changing.”

Supervisor: “If this was a fire drill, would you be letting her change?!”

Mother: “Well, if this was a fire drill, I’d rather she be changed than cold!”

Supervisor: “You realize this is chlorine gas? It’s what they used in WW2! We could start coughing up our lungs!”

Mother: “Hmph!”

(Eventually, they get them outside and it turns out to be just a false alarm, but the mother has one last parting shot.)

Mother: *with obvious sarcasm* “Thanks for the great customer service.”

Coworker & Supervisor: “You’re welcome?”

Drowning In Joy

, , , | Related | March 17, 2020

(When my brother is little, we call him Grins because he always has a huge one on. All the time! One day, we go to the pool and get in. He doesn’t know how to swim yet so I am tasked with carting him around the pool.)

Me: “Now, Grins, make sure you don’t grin because the water will go into your mouth and make you choke! Lips closed!”

Brother: “What, I can’t be happy?”

Me: “You can, but… just smile with your mouth closed! Okay?”

(He didn’t and started sputtering. After a while, he decided to go down the water slide without telling anyone… with a big fat grin on, of course! I swam up to him and caught him before he drowned. And yes, he did eventually learn to swim, but he didn’t like swimming anymore. I still don’t know why he just couldn’t keep his mouth closed.)