So Much For The Compassion Of The Clergy

, , , , | Working | May 4, 2021

Sadly, my dad has recently given up the ghost due to the current health crisis. Since my family lives in a region that doesn’t allow people from other areas of Italy to enter without a work or health-related reason, his side of family cannot come and participate in the traditional mourning ritual, but we still try to fulfill his funerary wishes to be buried by Catholic rite. To that end, my mom calls up the priest of the parish where my dad used to go in life.

Priest: “Hello and good day, parochial office of [Parish]. How may we help you?”

Mom: “Father [Priest]… my poor husband, Mr. [Dad], has died. I was wondering if you were available to give him the funeral blessings, despite this horrid situation.”

Priest: “My condolences, Mrs. [Mom]. May God rest his soul, given what he’s gone through. I’m available, but I think that, given how things are going, something outside of the church might be better.”

Mom: “That’s understandable, but how would it work?”

Priest: “I don’t think your husband would’ve wanted to have a lot of pomp during his last journey to God. I’m of the idea that I shall come to your house, read a passage, and then have his sons and his daughter read a poem related to him before the hearse comes to bring him to the cemetery.”

My mom is rather taken aback; my dad was a bit crude in his manners, but he did explicitly request a solemn funeral, incense, and specific passages read.

Mom: “Seriously?”

Priest: “Yes, I’m sure that’s what he would’ve wanted anyway.”

Mom: *Upset* “No, that’s not what he would’ve wanted at all!”

Priest: “Eh, I mean, a full ceremony definitely doesn’t suit his personality. I think that reading poetry from his children would be more fitting than just reading a few impersonal passages. Besides, right now, it’s not possible to do a full funeral, so his requests are sadly moot. You can always have that proper funeral at a later date.”

Mom: *Very upset* “I know how things are! We would be just me, my family, and you! If it’s really not possible to use the church, our garden will be fine. I just want to satisfy his request to read his favourite passages and have some incense spread.”

Priest: “I still think the poetry is the best option. Reading the Holy Bible in a garden really isn’t very appropriate, anyway. Just hold off until things are better to read those passages.”

Mom: *Holding back tears* “We have nothing more to discuss, goodbye!”

And with that, my mom hung up and started crying quite a bit. Later that day, my brother and I did manage to find a priest that was willing to conduct a proper-as-possible funeral. Seriously, what kind of priest refuses to read the Bible for a ceremony?

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You Can Always Be Kind, Even With Your Foot In Your Mouth

, , , , , , | Right | April 30, 2021

I am working as a cart attendant at a retail chain. Part of our responsibility is to help guests load items into cars when needed.

One late summer afternoon, I get called over the walkie-talkie to help a woman to her car with her purchase. For some reason, she has parked her van at the very last parking spot, so we have to walk together for a couple of minutes through the near-empty parking lot as I push two heaping carts and she pushes another.

We make small talk about how beautiful the weather is, how the days are getting longer, this and that. We are both smiling and laughing a bit the whole time about unimportant things as I’m loading various chips, sodas, doughnuts, paper plates, napkins, juices, and other things into the car.

Me: “Wow! You must be getting ready to have a big party!”

Customer: “It’s a funeral, actually.”

Me: *Embarrassed* “Oh, I’m sorry.”

She doesn’t respond, and I clam up and finish putting things in the van. Though I know now that I did nothing wrong, at the time, I felt like an insensitive jerk.

I close the van door, collect the carts, and turn to see that the customer is holding out money for me.

Me: “Ma’am, I’m not allowed to—”

Customer: *Cutting me off* “Take it.”

Me: “No, ma’am, I can’t, and besides, I—”

She interrupts once more, her voice cracking.

Customer: “Please take it. You really helped me today. You have no idea how much I needed someone to be nice to me today.  Besides, it was nice to talk about something normal during this time. So, please… take it.”

I took the money, and she smiled, got into her van, and drove away.

Having just moved to Chicago, I was pretty strapped for cash and hadn’t yet eaten on this particular day. The $10 she gave me was able to be used for two meals. It was such a small thing, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget her.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for April 2021!

Read the next Feel Good roundup for April 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for April 2021!

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This Is Why You Don’t Talk To Customers

, , , , , , , | Right | April 29, 2021

CONTENT WARNING: Injury Detail

 

I’m working at the counter at a store having a pleasant conversation with a customer. We exchange pleasantries, and I admit it’s been a bit of a long month and I’m looking forward to it being over.

Customer: “Oh, no! What’s wrong?”

Me: “It’s a long story. Now, how much of this did you need?”

Customer: “What’s going on, honey?” 

After another few attempts to get her to focus on the task at hand only for her to continue digging at why it’s been a long month, I just sigh and give up in an attempt to placate her.

Me: “My mother-in-law’s been in the hospital. She had to have from just above the knee down amputated and she almost died because an infection was misdiagnosed. Her sister had a heart attack and the funeral was Saturday and there were a lot of questions as to whether my mother-in-law could attend. My nephew is finally being assessed so he can get his autism diagnosis, and someone almost started a big fire in my apartment building last night.”

Customer: “Oh, no! How’s your mother-in-law doing now?”

Me: “She’s doing better; things are rough obviously. And they’re keeping a close eye on her leg since diabetes can—”

Customer: “You know she’s going to die, right?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Customer: “She’s not taking care of herself; that’s why she has diabetes and lost her leg. This had better serve as a wake-up call!”

Me: “Ma’am, she was in an accident. There was a cut on her foot and when she went to a doctor about pain in the area, he didn’t even look at the cut and told her it was gout. The infection killed tissue in her foot and leg. The first hospital accidentally gave her an almost lethal overdose of painkillers and neglected the leg to the point where she was transferred to a second hospital and had more of her leg amputated. She’s been taking care of herself as best she can, given the circumstances.” 

Customer: “Yeah, well, just be ready when she dies.”

The rest of the conversation was short and clipped, just trying to get her order done. My mother-in-law is still going almost a year later.

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That’s… Not How This Works

, , , , | Right | March 29, 2021

I work in a customer service call center for a long-established life insurance company. About once a week I have one of these conversations.

Customer: “Hi. My father died and I found some paperwork from your company in his office. Can you tell me if the policy is still good?”

Me: “I would be happy to help you with that.”

After a round of questions and answers:

Me: “Okay, it looks like the policy was taken out in 1979 and the last payment was made in 1981.”

Customer: “So, what does that mean?”

Me: “The policy is not active.”

Customer: “So, do we get any money?”

Me: “No, sorry, it lapsed about thirty years ago.”

Customer: “Well, can we get back the premiums that he paid?”

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They’ve Been Through So Much More Than Tough Customers

, , , , , , | Right | March 29, 2021

I’ve recently moved back to my hometown after losing my job. A few months later, my best friend, also from my hometown, passes away unexpectedly of a heart condition that we thought was under control after his last surgery. 

A couple of months after that, I find a retail job. One day, my late friend’s dad comes through my till. It’s the first time I’ve seen him since the funeral, so we have a bit of a heart-to-heart, exchanging memories and stories of his son, which results in some laughter and also some tears. 

Once he goes on his way, I do not call the next customer because another cashier is available and I want to collect myself before helping the next one. She comes to my till anyway. 

Customer: “What are you crying for?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I just had a tough conversation. But I’m happy to help!”

Customer: “What are you, sixteen? You’ve got plenty of tough conversations ahead; you’d better get used to difficult customers instead of crying!”

I am twenty-one but I do look younger.

Me: “Actually, ma’am, my best friend died a few months back. The customer I helped before you was his father. We just shared a few stories and checked in on each other. How will you be paying today?”

She turned bright red and didn’t say another word through the transaction, snatching her bag and hurrying out after.

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