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When Suddenly Not In Rome

, , , , , | Right | January 6, 2023

I’m on vacation to Rome with my best friend from the USA. After a long visit to the Vatican Museums, it’s time to visit the gift shop. My friend wants a replica of the Keys of St. Peter’s, so I pick them up and try to pay in contactless form with my card, but the transaction is refused. I try to pay with my card by inserting it into the machine, but it’s still refused. At this point, the shop clerk pipes up.

Clerk: “Are you sure your card is enabled for abroad transactions?”

Me: “No, it’s not, but how’s that— Oh!”

And that’s how I managed to claim the Vatican was part of Italy in front of everyone! My friend had to pay for it herself, but she was gracious enough to accept the offer of a sandwich to make up for it.

Good Bosses Reward Good Workers

, , , , , , | Working | January 6, 2023

I am in for my last day of work before going on a big vacation to Ireland. This is my first big vacation in the two years that I’ve been with this company. I’m talking to my boss about it.

Me: “I’ve found the local versions of [Convenience Store Chain] so I can get my food, and all my coaches between towns are overnight, so I don’t have to pay for a room.”

Boss: “Why are you doing that for your trip?”

Me: “Well, I don’t have a lot of money. I never really pay for hotel rooms or eating out. It’s both a budgeting thing and helps make my trip more adventurous!”

Boss: “Hmm. Oh, that reminds me. You’re being awarded [sizeable bonus] right now.”

Me: “Wait… What?!”

Boss: “Buy a drink on me, and send me a photo.”

After I have recovered from the shock and realize that my boss just threw a bonus at me out of nowhere:

Me: “I’d love to send you a photo, but I don’t have a camera.”

He walked into his office, grabbed one of his nice cameras, and let me borrow it for my trip. It was an amazing trip, and I have an amazing boss!

With A “Mama Bear” Like That, This Cub Didn’t Stand A Chance

, , , , , , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: california-old-timer | December 5, 2022

This took place in the summer of 1975. At the time, my sons were nine and seven, and they were in the Cub Scouts. Like most kids, they quickly made friends with the other kids, and as a dad, I made friends with the other dads that volunteered. Most of us got along well with the families except for [Mother] and her son.

[Mother] was extremely clueless about her own son and basically refused to parent him. She was more into the lifestyle of a mom, being in mommy groups, and spending her husband’s money rather than being a good parent to her son. The dad was a good person but worked a lot so he was absent. Their nine-year-old son, [Kid] was a NOTORIOUS BULLY. He was overly aggressive, he hit other children, he stole items, and he was extremely disrespectful toward other adults. When the other parents brought this up, [Mother] would make constant excuses for him.

Mother: “He’s just a boy! He’s just expressing himself! Your kids started it!”

What made it worse was that [Mother] would pacify her son’s behavior with sweets, toys, and other things that he wanted.

Because of this, the other parents and I didn’t invite [Mother] and her son to events that took place outside of Scouts. [Mother] would often call our home about getting sleepovers or having her son play with our kids, which we were adamant about not happening. If we didn’t give in, she said:

Mother: “You’re bullying my son by excluding him! How could you do that to a child?!”

She also threatened to call the governor for discrimination because she’s a baptist.

In late June, the other parents and I were talking about a beach trip to Santa Cruz and bringing our families with us. We talked through everything among the ten other moms and dads, planning this out. [Mother] must have overheard what we were saying.

Mother: “Can you take my son with you? I have to do something with my husband.”

Me: “What?! Where?”

Mother: “To Santa Cruz.”

Me: “Uh, no. You and your son are not invited. This a friends-only trip.”

Kid: “You’re a big meanie!”

He kicked me in the leg and ran away.

Mother: “Look what you did! Child hater!”

She chased after him.

Because this was a big trip, we decided to go shopping and hit the road on Friday. We had to do lots of shopping in bulk to reasonably feed twelve adults and eighteen kids.

My wife and I, along with four other parents, were watching the cars and keeping the kids occupied. For a brief moment, I turned my attention to my car to turn the air conditioning up cause my kids said that they were hot.

I turned back around and [Kid] was there with his bag and [Mother] was peeling out in her station wagon. We are all just in shock, asking ourselves, “Is this really happening to us?”

The boy’s mother had given him a note that listed his allergies and an emergency phone number. We called — no answer. We couldn’t leave the kid there alone and we were not going to bring him with us, so we opted to call the police. We put the kid in the car to keep him out of the sun, and we made the call. We report [Mother] for the abandonment of her child. They sent an officer out in about fifteen minutes.

As the other parents and I were heading back to the cars to wait for the police, we saw that [Kid] was pulling my four-year-old daughter’s hair. The reason why? The kids had some snacks in the cooler and didn’t want to share them with [Kid]; he didn’t ask them nicely, just demanded that they give him food.

As we ran toward the cars, ten of the boys pulled [Kid] off of my daughter and started to BEAT HIS A**! Now, the kids had two years of rage toward this kid bottled up inside, so what took place wasn’t surprising.

By the time we got there and broke up the fight, [Kid] was bleeding and crying. He called us all mean and started cussing us out and hitting things.

Kid: “I want to go on the trip! I want to go on the trip! I want to go on the trip now!

He kept parroting this over and over again until I yelled at him to shut up, which only made him cry more. Now, I will admit I was probably in the wrong here. Maybe I should have extended some compassion, but my child was crying and being harassed.

The police arrived soon after and we explained what had happened.

The police took [Kid], and apparently, he was dropped off at his father’s job. [Mother] received a child neglect charge. When she saw that our kids had beaten [Kid] up, she tried to charge our kids for assault. It was dropped because it was self-defense.

Forcing Conformity Is Pretty Rude, You Know

, , , , , , | Related | September 22, 2022

I’ve been having a pretty tough year mental-health-wise, and thanks to a plan made by my family long in advance, I’m currently experiencing a month of said year in a completely unfamiliar country without any access to my safety net. I’m handling everything as well as I can, but two weeks of daily panic attacks will really wear you out. At this point, I’m completely dependent on my sensory aids to function, including my headphones, which have caused many problems in the past from my mother (who is a therapist, and aware of my anxiety disorder) considering me wearing them “rude”. 

I’m already pretty exhausted by the events of this particular day when she pulls me aside on our group walk to get lunch.

Mom: “This is a fancy restaurant, so you can’t wear your headphones.”

I haven’t been informed of this rule before, and it seems strange, to say the least — what about people using hearing aids or translation apps?

Me: “Will they kick me out?”

Mom: “No, but it’s rude! We’re going to go and have conversations, not wear headphones or look at our phones.”

Me: “Right, but wearing my headphones is what makes me able to have conversations.”

Mom just sighs angrily and stares at a nearby building, marking the conversation over.

Wanting to avoid any more fights, I remove my headphones at the door and stow them in my bag. Unfortunately, between the lasting stress of having an argument and intrinsic anxiety about 1) eating, 2) in public, 3) using a foreign language, and 4) surrounded by people who are mad at me, soon I’m having a panic attack without access to any of my coping mechanisms.

I’m making a valiant effort to keep from causing a scene by hyperventilating or crying, which means closing my eyes and putting all of my focus on my breathing. Needless to say, this barely leaves any room for social interaction. I can’t handle any eye contact, and I’m communicating in nods and short whispers.

A question is directed to me about a place I went, and I can barely formulate a sentence.

Me: “Um, I— I saw the, um, I went to— i-it was called, it was the, uh—”

My mom interrupts me, sounding annoyed.

Mom: “[My Name], you can wear your headphones if it’ll make you talk. I thought that you’d participate in the conversation.” 

I scrambled to dig the headphones out of my bag, and I could FEEL the serotonin flooding my brain as I put them back on. I was finally able to put my thoughts in order and finish the sentence, and I spent the rest of the meal speaking and having as good of a time as I could while riding off the rest of the panic attack.

I still don’t know how a TRAINED PSYCHOLOGIST could think that banning my coping mechanisms would somehow magically make me neurotypical!

Miles And Miles Of Impossible Demands

, , , , , , | Working | September 21, 2022

I live about two minutes from my office in Florida, and I’m a key holder. I’m on a planned vacation… in Mexico. I get off the ship and notice I have multiple missed calls from my boss. Being young and naive, I call, thinking there’s some kind of emergency they just need phone help with.

Manager: “Hey, the store opener locked themselves out and I need you to go over and let them in.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s not possible now. Remember? I’m on vacation.”

Manager: “Come on! It’ll only take a minute.”

Me: “I’m in Cozumel, not across the road.”

Manager: “I don’t know why you’re being difficult about this. It’ll only take a minute!”

Me: “I. Am. In. Mexico. I’m over 2,500 miles away! I’m not home.”

Manager: “I just don’t understand why you’re being so difficult about this.”

I just hung up because you can’t fix stupid or geographically challenged people. I texted the other key holder who lived ten miles away. She was FLOORED that the manager was that freaking stupid and went over to open the store up.

When I got back, the manager tried to write me up. I made her pull up GPS and find directions to Cozumel from our location. Then, I picked up the write-up and dropped it in the shredder in front of her. The look on her face when it showed forty-seven hours by car was priceless. I NEVER heard another peep about it.

From that point forward, I never answered any work calls on vacation, either! Lesson learned.