It’s About The Journey, Dad

, , , , , | Related | June 20, 2020

This happens when my daughters are very young — around seven and five. My husband and I just took a road trip from Winnipeg, Manitoba to see my parents in British Columbia.

During our trip home, we intend to stop for the night in Edmonton, Alberta, but we get a flat tire. Luckily, we are able to make it to a garage with no problems, but by the time the tire is replaced, it is late afternoon.

Husband: “The way I see it, we have two choices. We can keep driving to Edmonton, but we won’t get there until around 9:00 pm.”

Me: “Yuck. That would be okay if it was just you and me, but the girls will be exhausted and cranky.”

Husband: “Yeah, I agree. That leaves us with option #2: stop somewhere else. Jasper isn’t that far away.”

Me: “Huh. I’ve never been to Jasper. It’s a bit expensive, though, isn’t it?”

Husband: “So I’ve heard, but that’s our best bet.”

Me: “Option #2 it is. I’ll phone the hotel in Edmonton and cancel our reservation.”

So, we head for Jasper. We are a bit concerned that we won’t be able to find a place to stay, but after only a couple of tries, we find a nice hotel. It is indeed a bit more pricey than the Edmonton hotel would have been in, but not by much. Jasper itself is beautiful; it’s surrounded by mountains and the town is charming. We have a lovely dinner in a cozy restaurant, and then we turn in for the night, happy and comfortable.

The following day, I phone my parents to let them know how our drive home is going, and I tell them of our little adventure.

Dad: What?! You stayed in Jasper?! Are you nuts? That’s a tourist trap! They charge you an arm and a leg! Why didn’t you drive to Edmonton?”

Me: “I told you, Dad. The kids would’ve been miserable, and so would we.”

Dad: “Oh, for Pete’s sake. They would have survived.”

Me: “Jasper wasn’t even that expensive, and we had a really nice time.”

Dad: *Sarcastically* “Well, good to know that you’re made of money.”

I gave up at that point. I should have remembered that when my parents and I took road trips when I was a kid, Dad was the “drive for as long as possible until your passengers are in tears from discomfort and boredom and then stay in the very cheapest motel you can find” type.

To this day, my family and I reminisce about that evening in Jasper. It was one of the highlights of our vacation.

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He’s A Veteran Complainer

, , , , , | Right | June 11, 2020

A couple of friends and I go to the Oceanarium and we are in line to purchase our tickets. Ahead of us in the queue is an American family with their son. 

Customer: “Three tickets.”

Employee: “All right. Is your son over twelve years old?”

Customer: “No. And I am a veteran.”

Employee: “Okay, so one child and two adult tickets; that will be [price].”

Customer: “That’s too expensive. Did you apply a discount for me being a veteran?”

Employee: “There is no such discount. Children, senior, and family discounts are all we have, and a family discount requires you to have two children under the age of twelve.”

Customer: “That’s completely unacceptable. I have served in the Marines and I deserve a discount.”

Employee: “As I already told you, there is no discount for that. You might have served in the military, but that was not in Portugal, so it makes no sense for you to get a discount here. And even if you had served in Portugal, we have no discounts for people in the military.”

Customer: “I want to speak to your manager.”

The employee calls the manager.

Employee: “He is unavailable at this time; he’ll need at least thirty minutes before he can come here.”

Customer: “Is that the service you give customers in Europe? I demand to speak to a manager immediately.”

Employee: “As I have told you, he’s unavailable for the next thirty minutes. Right now, you have three options: you pay [price]; you step aside and I can give you our complaints book so you can make a written complaint; or you leave the queue.”

Customer: “I think I will just wait here for the manager.”

Employee: “That is not a possibility, I’m afraid. You are holding up other customers, and that is not okay. You’ll have to choose, now, one of the three options I have just presented to you; otherwise, I will call security and they will choose for you.”

Customer: “Fine! Back in the States, we can see better fish, anyway!”

And at that, he and his family turned around and left, but not before throwing all the Oceanarium maps and pamphlets on the ground.

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Við Tölum Ensku!

, , , | Right | June 9, 2020

I work in a cafeteria at a busy tourist place. All kinds of nationalities visit, and even if most of them speak good, okay, or bad English, we almost always manage to get them what they want.

There are two men in their mid-twenties standing a bit from us, talking in low voices together for a while, before one of them comes towards the counter, seemingly to order something. Before I manage to say anything, he starts speaking in a British accent, with a very sorry face.

Tourist: “I’m sorry, but I don’t speak Icelandic.”

I am totally dumbfounded for a second.

Me: “T— That’s okay. I speak English. In fact, almost everyone in this country speaks and understands English very well.”

He still looked sorry, as if it was his fault that he didn’t speak Icelandic, but he and his friend got their questions answered and orders made without any problems.

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Kind Strangers Pull More Than Their Own Weight

, , , , | Friendly | June 5, 2020

I am changing trains at a country station. As I am traveling away for work for three months, I have two big suitcases and an overnight bag. I am struggling when I realise that, because the train I had just gotten off was running late, the train I need to transfer to is about to leave on the other side of the station. The station only has a foot bridge with stairs and no lift.

Me: “S***.”

Random Guy: “You okay?”

I point to the train I need.

Me: “I need to get on that but it’s leaving really soon and there’s no lift.”

Random Guy: “Come on; I’ll help you.”

He grabs both my suitcases.

Random Guy: “Let’s go.”

We run over the bridge and onto the train with just enough time for him to put my suitcases on for me before the whistle sounds. I manage to say thank-you before he gets off.

To the random guy that took the time to help a stranger out, thank you. You saved me an eight-hour wait for the next train.

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There Is Such A Thing As A Free Lunch

, , , , | Right | May 29, 2020

I’m working the counter on a very, very slow Monday morning. Two customers walk in at about 8:00 am, laden down with suitcases and bags.

Me: “Hi, how can I help today?”

The customer has a very obvious American accent.

Customer: “Oh, hi! We were just wondering if we could sit in the corner over here and just rest up for a bit? We’ve just come in off the train and we have a few hours before our flight out of here.”

I’m pretty impressed, because the train station is about twenty minute’s walk, and they carried all that luggage from there.

Me: “That’s no problem at all! Just take one of the booth seats in the corner there, and let me know if you need anything at all.”

Over the course of the next few hours, they order coffee, brunch, and lunch from me, asking only to deal with me and not with my coworker. They tell me all about how they are a cruising couple who take cruises all over the world, and they are visiting New Zealand for the first time after an extended stay in Africa. They are incredibly polite and very interesting to listen to, and they always apologise for “interrupting” me whenever they want to order something.

At about 1:00 pm:

Customer’s Husband: “We’re just about to head off now; would you be able to call that taxi that you mentioned? Our flight’s in about an hour.”

Me: “Certainly. One moment.”

I go into the back, and when I come back out front I see my coworker finishing a transaction with the customer’s husband.

Customer: “You’ve been such an absolute dear to us, we’ve bought you lunch. [Coworker] here told us what you usually order; it’s on us today. Thank you so much for your amazing service today, and I’ll be filing a good conduct report with your management.”

Best. Customers. Ever.


This story was included in our May 2020 Inspirational Roundup.

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