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Sadly, We Pelican Believe It

, , , , | Right | December 28, 2021

I’m a volunteer at the Lisbon Zoo. I’m basically a greeter/supervisor at a huge walk-in exotic bird enclosure. The bird population within mostly consists of lorikeets of both the red and multi-coloured variants, but we also have three toucans. You know, the toucan: that small, black bird with the huge orange beak — the exact polar opposite of a pelican: that HUGE, WHITE bird with the pale yellow beak. Yet, I can’t count the number of times this happens.

Visitor #1: *Walks in, sees one of the toucans.* “Hey, look, a pelican!”

At the time it happens, there is a hugely successful ad campaign on TV for a tropical-flavoured Brazilian drink, which involves animatronic talking toucans. A family walks into the enclosure, and one of our toucans is standing right by the entrance.

Visitor #2: “Hey, a toucan! But why’s it not talking?”

At least this guy got the bird species right, though!

Mall Santas Are Clearly Field Agents

, , , | Learning | December 20, 2021

I’m teaching a class of five- and six-year-old children, and, it being close to Christmas, a debate has somehow erupted about whether or not there is a Santa Claus. The class is clearly split into two camps, one for and one against the jolly old man being real. Then, a kid from the True Believer camp drops this bombshell:

Kid: “Oh, yeah? Well, if Santa isn’t real, how come I saw him at the mall on the weekend?”

Best. Fallacy. Ever.

They’re Wailing And Whale-ing 

, , , , | Right | November 8, 2021

A flight has just arrived from Lisbon, and I’m helping at the lost-and-found counter, when a passenger walks up.

Passenger: “Hello. At what hours do the whales swim into the bay at [Nearby City]?”

As soon as he says that, my coworker and the gentleman she’s helping stop what they’re doing and start staring at him. I pause.

Me: “Sir, those are wild animals. They rarely swim into the bay and they don’t have schedules.”

Passenger: *Angry and yelling* “What the h***?! I was promised whales! I demand you tell me where they are right now!”

I try explaining it to him and even offer him a whale tour brochure, which is thrown on the floor.

Passenger: “I want to know where the f****** whales are! I’m going to sue you if I don’t see any whales!”

A week later, we were called to hear about a crazy complaint headquarters received about whales, and the copy of it was posted on the workroom’s board.

Out Of Uniform And Out Of Line

, , , , | Working | November 6, 2021

This is a story told by my still-living grandpa. In 1942, at the age of eighteen, he was conscripted into the airforce’s Military Police (MP) to guard the perimeter of the airbase being lent to the British, and a few years later, in 1946, after my grandpa was promoted to Sergeant, the British left and in came the Americans.

It was during this time of transition that an unmarked car approached the main gate, which was manned by Grandpa and two young MPs. The driver demanded, in English, to enter. The poor MP that answered first didn’t speak a drop of English, so he called for my grandpa, who by then had a good grasp of it.

Grandpa: “Good morning, sir. How may I help you?”

Driver: “Open the g**d*** gate!”

Grandpa: “Sure, as soon as you show me some ID, your entry permit, and the vehicle’s entry permit—”

Driver: “I’m ordering you to open this gate or I’m getting you court-martialed.”

Of course, Grandpa didn’t find this very funny. He ordered the MPs to detain him for investigation, which they did after a short, insult-filled struggle with the driver that ended when an MP punched him in the eye and knocked him out. The patrol car took him into the MPs’ Station.

After a few hours, my grandpa was summoned to the Base Commander’s Office, where the Portuguese Colonel, the British Colonel, and the driver were waiting. The British Colonel asked, in Portuguese, what had happened. Grandpa showed his report, which was cosigned by Grandpa and the other MPs. The Portuguese Colonel pointed to the driver and said, in English:

Portuguese Colonel: “I want you to meet Major [Driver] of the USAF. He came in advance of the rest of the Americans to help in the transition.”

Driver: “Why didn’t you obey when I gave you a direct order, soldier?”

Grandpa: “You didn’t have authority for it, sir.”

Driver: “What the h*** do you mean?”

Grandpa: “An unknown, un-uniformed man, in an unmarked car, refusing to show papers to gate guards? You’re lucky we didn’t order you beaten.”

The British and Portuguese Colonels dismissed my grandpa. He later found out that they chewed the Major’s a**.

When the rest of the American forces arrived, a sign was posted at the gate that said, in English: “Until you enter, the Gate Sergeant is God. No uniform, no papers, no entry.”


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Short And Not So Sweet

, , , , , | Working | October 18, 2021

I saw a pair of shorts in a shop window for dirt cheap, but it was Sunday, so the shop was closed. When I went back the next day, I found the owners, an old couple, standing right by the door, which I thought was perfect because I didn’t have to go in and could just point at the item. I stood near the door and called out, and the male owner came up to me.

Me: “Hi, this pair of shorts you have here?” *Pointing* “What size are they?”

Male Owner: “It’s [price]. It’s for a double bed.”

Realising he thinks I mean the bed sheet that is currently placed in front of the window, obscuring the view of the pair of shorts, I try again.

Me: “No, no, the shorts!

I gesture with my hands near my knees where the shorts would normally end.

Female Owner: Shorts, [Male Owner]! He wants shorts!

Me: “Yeah, shorts — these ones behind here. What size are they?”

Male Owner: “No.”

Thinking he’s maybe hard of hearing and having trouble understanding me because of the mask I’m wearing, I go a little slower and a little clearer.

Me: “What size are they? Are they a small, medium, large?”

Male Owner: “No!”

Me: *Now baffled* “No?”

Male Owner: “No.”

Me: “Okay.” *Walks off*

I wonder how much they normally sell at that shop.