He’s About To Get A Chile Reception

, , , , , , | Legal | December 12, 2018

This story happened to my sister. We are from Chile, but she was traveling in Europe when this happened. She got onto a train in Prague and a random guy got into the compartment where she was, and started to talk very fast in English. He told her that he had to go to the next city because of an emergency and that he would have to leave his wife alone without a penny. They only had one credit card he would need for the trip, so he needed cash. He promised my sister that if she gave something, he would return it when they arrive at the next station.

My sister realised that this was a scam from the first moment, but she was afraid that he could do something to her, as she was traveling alone. In that moment she remembered that she had some Chilean money, so she took her wallet and timidly said, “I only have Chilean money on me right now; I would love to help you, so here you go,” and she handed him 1000 Chilean pesos — a little more than a US dollar.

When the guy saw the 1000, he got the biggest smile of victory and hurried down the train never to be seen again.

To this day we laugh at the guy, thinking about his face the day he went to the money exchange and they give him just a Euro.

Pay It Forward By Giving It Back

, , , , , | Hopeless | December 7, 2018

I’m on my way home and decide to stop at a supermarket near my train station to get some cash from the ATM, so I can grab takeaway on the walk home. That is when I realise that I can’t find my purse. I know I had it when I got on the train and realise that I must have left it on the seat while either taking my book out or putting it back in. I start to walk home, intending to call my bank when it get there, since I don’t want to call my bank in the middle of the supermarket car park.

I haven’t walked more than a few meters when my phone rings with an unknown number. It’s the support line for a youth organisation I volunteer with. I immediately start to panic, thinking something bad has happened, and wondering what else could go wrong today. But to my surprise, she asks if I’ve lost my purse, and when I tell her I have she says that someone has found it, found my ID card for the youth organisation in it, and called them. She then used my membership number to find my record and get my mobile number.

She gives me the phone number of the person who found my purse and I thank her. I call the number. The man had been sitting opposite me on the train and seen me leave my purse, but couldn’t get it back to me before the train doors closed. He apologises for going through my purse and cards to find a phone number. I arrange to meet him in one of the main city train stations, and he hands it to me over the ticket barrier. I have my purse back within an hour of realising I’d lost it.

The whole thing really restored my faith in people, not only that someone wouldn’t just automatically keep my purse but also would go to the trouble of finding a way to return it to me directly rather than just hand it into the station. Thanks to that man, and to the woman on our organisation’s phone that night, I’ve put a business card in there now, so at least next time someone can call me directly — I’d like to say that leaving something like this was a one off, but it really wasn’t!

Entitlement Will Get You Bit

, , , , , , | Friendly | October 4, 2018

(While my enormously large mountain dog looks like an actual teddy bear and is extremely gentle and well-behaved, he likes his personal space and doesn’t care for strangers’ attention. Therefore, I never take him to public places if I can avoid it. On this day, however, I am forced to take a two-hour train ride with him. In an effort to get strangers to keep their distance, I dress my dog in his custom yellow harness that has the words, “DO NOT TOUCH,” written on it in large black letters. Besides that, he has a yellow ribbon – international symbol for “I need space” – tied to his leash. At the train station, we wait calmly in the furthest corner of the platform until the coast is clear. As we make our way toward the pet car, I see faces in a different car pressed against the window, staring at us. I ignore it, get in, and find our designated seats: a normal aisle seat for me, and a low platform where the window seat would normally be for the dog. I spread the dog’s blanket on his seat, and he settles down with his head on my lap. I casually stroke his ears, and as I wait for the ticket inspector, I rest my eyes for a moment. Out of nowhere, I feel air move around me, and the warm weight of my dog’s head on my lap is suddenly gone. I open my eyes to see a mother with two young children, one of who is eagerly trying to reach the dog over my lap.)

Me: *blocking the access to the dog much as I can with my body* “Whoa, hey! Don’t do that.”

Strange Mother: “My kids want to pet the dog.”

Me: “Sorry, he doesn’t like to be touched by str—”

Strange Mother: *scoffs* “That’s not true. I saw you petting him just now.”

Me: “As I was saying, he doesn’t like to be approached or touched by strangers. I’m sure you can see the large text on his harness and that he has pulled as far away from you as possible.”

Strange Mother: “Nonsense. All dogs like to be petted. I don’t understand why you’re being like this. My kids have a long trip ahead of them! Just let them pet the dog already!”

Me: *thinking to myself, “Are you for real?!” but trying to avoid a conflict and making a scene* “He does not want strangers to touch him. Many dogs don’t. I’m afraid you’ll need to find something else to do to pass the time.”

Strange Child: “Muuuuum, I want to cuddle the doggy!”

Me: “Sorry, sweetie, you can’t.”

Strange Mother: ”Yes, you can. Just call for the dog like this.”

(The mother suddenly lunges at my dog, almost punching me in the process, and starts going, “Here, doggy, doggy,” aggressively at him. The dog lets out a startled growl. The mother shrieks and jumps back. Her children start crying. Everyone is now staring at us.)

Me: *in complete disbelief* “What the h*** are you doing?”

Strange Mother: “The dog tried to bite me!”

Me: “He certainly did not.”

Strange Mother: “Liar! That dog is vicious! How could you bring such a beast on public transport?!”

Me: *getting mad despite myself* “Are you kidding me? The dog was minding his own business when you came here, all entitled, acting like he is some toy for your kids to play with. I asked you way more nicely than you deserved to leave him be. You basically assaulted us both, and now you think you’re the victim because you got growled at? Most other dogs would have taken a bite out of you for doing something that stupid!”

Strange Mother: “You can’t talk to me like that!”

Me: “I can, and I will. You need to leave.”

(The mother threw a few insults at me, and then finally grabbed her wailing children and left the car. It took a good ten minutes of distractions and several treats for my dog to stop panting anxiously and to calm down, but thankfully the rest of our journey was uneventful. I’d had my share of people overly eager to pet my dog before, but never someone who wouldn’t take a polite no for an answer. Even though my dog seems unscarred by the incident, these days I am even more reluctant to take him out in public. The thing that gets me the most about the whole thing, though, is the idea that a mother would insist on letting her small children approach a large, unfamiliar dog when specifically warned the dog was not friendly.)

Something To Beer-ate You On

, , , | Right | August 31, 2018

(I sell coffee, cookies, and other assorted foods and drinks on trains. My colleagues also sell beer, but since I’m underage, I am not allowed to. A customer gestures to an empty half-litre can of beer, and asks for another.)

Me: “Sorry, sir, but I am not allowed to carry alcohol in public locations, being under-aged.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! A colleague of yours also wouldn’t sell me any beer because they were Muslim. What sense does that make?”

Me: “I’m sorry that you feel this way, sir, but you shouldn’t judge someone for their religious beliefs, I think.”

Customer: “I’m not judging them, but I mean, what are you doing with your life if you’re thirty and won’t even sell someone a beer?”

Me: “Sir, look at it this way. I won’t sell you alcohol because of my age; my colleague won’t sell you alcohol because of their religion. It’s nearly the same.”

(The customer accepted defeat and waves me off. What I’m wondering is how someone could judge another when they themselves need three-quarters of a litre of a beer before four pm?)

Beer The Change You Want To See In The World

, , , , , , | Friendly | August 13, 2018

(I’m sitting at the very front of a train when a homeless man carrying an open beer can approaches me.)

Homeless Man: “Excuse me, mate. Can you spare some change?”

Me: “I’m afraid not, sorry.”

(I can, but I don’t tell him that. He goes down the carriage, asking everyone, then goes into the next one. Half an hour later, the train is reaching its end and I’m the only one in the carriage. He returns and walks straight into the wall at the end without breaking his stride. He looks at it for a minute as if he can’t quite process it, then he looks at me.)

Homeless Man: “So, how are you, then? What’ve you been up to tonight?”

(Not wanting to agitate him, I chat to him for a few minutes, whilst making sure to stay in CCTV view.)

Homeless Man: “So, I’ve been friendly, and I’ve given you some nice company. And I know you’ve got some change on you, so could you help me out?”

Me: “I really can’t.”

Homeless Man: “Why won’t you help a homeless guy? I’m just trying to find a place to sleep!”

Me: “I make regular donations to homeless charities; they all say if I give you money, it’s just going to keep you on the street. You need to seek professional help.”

Homeless Man: “But I’m not on the drugs, or the booze, or anything!”

Me: “I’ll help you out by giving you a tip. Maybe tell people that when you don’t have a beer can in your hand. I’d love to believe you, but I can’t right now.”

(He sulked and wandered off.)

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