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Drive It Forward, Part 3

, , , , , , | Working | July 10, 2016

(It’s December 26th and it’s raining pretty hard. I am waiting for the bus without an umbrella, on my way back from shopping for cookie-baking material. A man is waiting beside me, also without an umbrella. A car stops in front of us, a lady at the wheel.)

Driver: “Hop in! I’ll drive you as close to your destination as possible!”

(The man and I briefly hesitate, but it’s Christmas and we’re soaked. The driver makes pleasant chat before dropping him, then me, at our chosen destinations.)

Driver: “Just pay it forward when you can!”

(The next day, I’m waiting in line at a thrift store with my purchases. An older lady in front of me is exchanging items, but she’s missing $10 to complete the transaction.)

Me: *handing a $10 note towards the cashier* “Excuse me?”

Cashier: *thinking I’m impatient to pay for my own purchases* “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you’ll have to wait until I’m done with the lady.”

Me: “Oh, no, I mean to pay for the difference for her.”

Lady: *stunned* “What? Are you sure?”

Me: “It’s frozen all over outside now, so it’ll be safer for you not to make the trip back here. I received a very helpful kindness just yesterday, so this is me paying it forward.”

(She thanked me profusely and agreed that she would pay it forward herself. I do wonder what she did to continue the chain!)

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I Weep At Your Ignorance

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 12, 2015

Friend: “Hey, what’s the name of the Beatles song? You know, the one where his guitar gently weeps?”

Me: “…While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Friend: “No, that doesn’t sound right.”

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Sorry, I Canada Understand You, Part 2

, , , , , | Working | November 20, 2013

(I’m in Montréal visiting my grandparents. I don’t know enough Quebecois to have a full coherent conversation. Since most employees can speak both Quebecois and English, I usually start the conversations in English to avoid any complications. I walk into a clothing shop and one of the employees approaches me, speaking very quickly in Quebecois.)

Me: “I’m sorry; I’m only fluent in English. Were you telling me about the sales?”

Employee: *to cashier* “UGH, mon dieu! Crisse de cave. Petite cave…”

(This roughly translates into ‘Oh, my god, what a little idiot.’)

Me: “But I do know enough to ask for your manager. Or should I say, ‘Je ne suis pas un peu idiot! Où est votre gestionnaire?'”

(The employee turned beet red and retrieved a manager, who apologized profusely for her language. He offered me one free accessory from the sale rack, and said he will remind his staff to assume that primarily English tourists might know some basic French!)


There Snow Way I’m Taking The Fall For This

, , | Learning | April 3, 2013

(I’m teaching a class of seven kids between the ages of seven and thirteen who are all brand new skiers. The oldest kid has refused to listen to me and is interrupting me while I’m trying to explain to the other kids how to do the exercise. This happens at the top of a hill, where there are two other classes as well as the lift attendant.)

Me: “Okay, so for this run, we’re going to play a game called ‘Red Light, Green Light’—”

Student: “That’s a baby game! I’m not playing that!”

Me: “Jack, it’s going to be more difficult because we’re on a steeper slope this time.”

Student: “Well, I’m not going to do it! Screw you! I don’t need f****** ski lessons!”

(The student takes off down the hill, ignoring me shouting at him to stop and wait. He crashes into a kid from one of the younger classes, who falls and starts crying. He ignores him and continues recklessly down the hill.)

Other Instructor: “Did he just take off?”

Me: *frustrated* “Yes.”

Lift Attendant: “I’ll radio down and ask them to keep him there until you get to the bottom of the hill.”

Me: “Thanks.”

(We start heading down the hill and we find my student standing with his mother, who is yelling at a Ski Patroller and my supervisor.)

Mother: “She should be fired!” *pointing at me* “She let my baby ski off on his own!”

Ski Patroller: “Ma’am, from what the attendant at the top has told us, your son refused to listen to the instructor, and also injured another student on his way down.”

Mother: “He would never do that! She just can’t teach; I want her fired! She can’t be trusted with the safety of other people’s children!”

Supervisor: “Well, she’s been teaching here for five years, and we’ve never had a problem before. If you remember, I spoke with you yesterday about your son’s refusal to participate and follow instructions, as well as the rude language he was using around the younger students in the class.” *waves me over* “Can you please explain what happened at the top of the hill?”

Me: *explains what happened*

Supervisor: *to me* “Good work. I’m sorry you had to deal with this.” *turns to the mother* “Either you teach your son some manners, or you teach him to ski yourself. I’m not putting my employees through this; they’re all good workers and they deserve to be treated better.”

Mother: *embarassed* “Well, we’ll just go to [other ski hill]; they know how to teach kids how to ski!”

(She storms off, pulling her son behind her who is struggling to get away from her.)

Ski Patroller: “I think I’ll give my buddy over at [other ski hill] a heads up about those two; they’re f****** dangerous.”

(Later, I received a huge thank you and a bonus for not snapping at the mother or the student.)

Pedicures Are All They Are Cracked Up To Be

, , , , , , | Related | March 6, 2013

(My three-year-old daughter has decided that I have to give her a pedicure. She wants to use the Crackle nail polish, which she, unfortunately, calls “crack.”)

Daughter: “I want some crack.”

Me: “I don’t have any crack left.”

Daughter: “But I want the crack.”

Me: “I promise as soon as I get some crack, you can have it.”


Me: “This is a terrible conversation.”

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