A Storm Of Kindness

, , , , | Right | December 16, 2020

My husband and I are driving home to New Jersey after visiting relatives in Mississippi. It is a long trip — about twenty-two hours straight through — that we have made many times. Our route home takes us through the interstate in Virginia.

On this particular trip, a large hurricane is approaching Florida. Many people are evacuating the state entirely and going to stay with relatives elsewhere. We are amazed at the number of Floridian license plates that we see on other vehicles on the road.

We stop at a rest stop. We get out of the car and see pallets and pallets of cases of water.

I walk up to the security guard standing near the pallets.

Me: “Excuse me. What’s with all the water?”

Guard: “The State of Virginia is aware that many people will be coming to Virginia or passing through Virginia to escape [Hurricane]. Anyone that comes through here can get a free bottle of water. We also have free coffee, instead, and some snacks for kids.”

Me: “Are you serious? That is just awesome! I love Virginia for doing this!”

Guard: “You are welcome to grab a bottle of water or a cup of coffee if you’d like.”

Me: “Thanks, but that’s okay. We aren’t coming out of Florida, and we’ve got drinks and snacks in the car already. I’m just so impressed that you guys are doing this.”

Guard: “Thank you, ma’am. Y’all have a safe trip.”

And so it was, for the rest of our trip through Virginia; every rest stop had free water, coffee, and snacks. Go, Virginia! You guys are definitely getting it right!

This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for December 2020!

Read the next Feel Good roundup for December 2020 story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for December 2020!

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Disorder Until You Place Your Order

, , , | Right | December 14, 2020

I work as a barista at a small coffee shop. We have signs indicating which way the line forms, and yet we frequently have people get confused about where they’re supposed to enter it, and, therefore, we have a lot of line cutters. It’s store policy that I cannot tell a customer that they’ve cut the line, unless they ask me or another customer complains. It’s stupid, I know, but I’ve nearly been written up over it before.

We’re already rushed, and there’s a line stretching nearly to the back of the store. It seems impossible to miss, and yet a customer not in line waltzes up to the counter and starts ordering. No one makes a comment that I can hear, so I serve the customer as quickly as I can, move him along, and then take the next customer in the line.

Customer: “Did you see that he cut the line?”

Me: “Yes, sir, I did. Unfortunately, I’m not permitted to say anything to a customer who cuts the line unless another customer complains. May I get you started with one of our [seasonal drinks]?”

Customer: “What do you mean? You saw him and you didn’t say anything?”

Me: “Sir, I’m not allowed to tell a customer to get to the back of the line unless another customer makes a complaint that they cut the line. Now, what can I get for you today?”

Customer: “Well, I’m making a complaint now!”

Me: “Unfortunately, sir, the customer’s already been served, so I can’t do anything about it now. In the future, if you let us know in the moment, we’ll be sure to assist you with the issue. What can I get for you today?”

Customer: “What do you mean, you can’t do anything about it?”

Me: “I can’t un-take his order, sir. May I please take yours?”

At this point, my coworker has moved beside me to start pulling the line, but since we’ve only got one register, she can just get orders started; she can’t ring people through.

Customer: “I just don’t understand why you couldn’t do something when you saw he cut the line!”

Me: “It’s store policy, sir. If you would like to make a complaint, there’s a survey at the end of your receipt, and you can mention that this store policy was not satisfactory to you. Now, what can I get started for you today?”

Customer: “The survey will be at the end of my receipt?”

Me: “Yes, sir. And I’ll give you your receipt at the end of your order. May I take your order?”

Customer: “It’s just not right. We were all waiting in line, and he held everyone in here up!”

At this point, the line is stretched out the door because no one else can cash out. But just as I’m not allowed to confront line-cutters, I’m also not allowed to try to hurry customers along when they’re at the register.

Me: “I’m very sorry, sir. I can assure you that your wait won’t be much longer, once you place your order.”

Finally, he does, grumbling the whole time. After he’s out of earshot, my coworker turns to me.

Coworker: “He took twice as long complaining as the line-cutter did ordering.”

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This Snobby B**** Just Kicked Your A**

, , , , , | Legal | December 11, 2020

Years ago, when I was young and optimistic in college, I took up karate. I really have no thought that I would ever need to defend myself. I may have even taken the class because a good-looking male friend said he was taking it.

The day I get my yellow belt, I am running late so I don’t change out of my gi before heading out the alley door of the gym toward the bus stop at the library. A fellow stops me. This is in the capital city and I am often stopped by homeless folks asking for money or just wanting to ramble to another human.

Today, though, I just don’t have the time.

Me: “Sorry, I have to be going.”

He grabs my elbow as I push past and yanks me around. I am shocked.

Guy: “Snobby b****!”

He shoves me against the wall and my head meets the brick quite soundly. Then, he punches me in the face.

And what I’ve learned kicks in. Pardon the pun.

I punch him in the throat three times quickly and he takes a surprised step back. I then kick.

I miss what I am aiming at but connect sharply with his thigh. I hear and feel his femur break.  

He drops to one knee with his broken leg now bent quite grotesquely.

And then, I forget everything I learned, grab him by his hair, and punch him with a roundhouse to the jaw. Both his jaw and my finger break. He falls the rest of the way to the ground.

I stumble to the bus. The driver asks if I am okay. He offers to drop me off at the hospital as I am bleeding from my nose and eye. I am dazed and say I just want to go home. He drops me off at the bottom of the steps to my apartment and I go up slowly.

My roommate sees me come in and frantically asks what happened. I tell her I was mugged behind the gym. She wants me to go to the hospital, too, but I am dazed and tired and say I just want to soak in the tub. She draws me a bath and I just sink in and listen to the ringing in my ears.

I don’t know how much time passes before she comes back into the bathroom and says that the mugger has gotten someone else, too.

I am getting a little less foggy.

Me: “No, I don’t think so.”

Roommate: “No, listen. There was just a story on the news that a fellow was found badly beaten in the alley. They want anyone with information to call.”

Me: “Yeah, the guy who mugged me didn’t mug anyone else. I’m pretty sure the guy they found is the mugger.”

Roommate: “I don’t get it. Who would have beaten him up?”

Me: “Me. I beat him up and left him in the alley. I guess we’d better call the police.”

We do call. An officer comes. I explain what happened and he insists I go to the hospital. My roommate comes with me. We ride in the back of the police car and I half-expect the cop to just take me to jail. My head is still ringing.

I am diagnosed with a broken finger, a cracked eye socket, and a concussion.

The cop sticks around and drives us home. He stops at the convenience store near our house and buys a six-pack of beer.

Cop: “Now, listen. I know you can’t drink this with the meds they just gave you, but you deserve it. I can’t believe anyone would assault someone actually wearing their gi. That makes me laugh every time I think about it.” 

Me: “I only have a yellow belt.”

Cop: “Apparently, that was enough.”

Me: “Well, if I’d done it right, I wouldn’t have a broken finger.”

The cop laughed and drove us back to the apartment, walking us up to the door. He gave us his card and told us to call him personally if we ever needed help.

After that, I took karate a lot more seriously, working my way up to a black belt before graduating from college. I also took my own safety more seriously and went on to teach women’s self-defense. I’ve not punched another human in anger since then and hope I will never have to. I’m a lot more aware of my environment since then.

My hand and face still hurt when it is cold and damp out — my reminder some thirty years later.

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The Most Frustrating Fungus Among Us

, , , , , | Working | December 7, 2020

I am staying at a hotel on a business trip, and our group decides to try the in-house restaurant. We all put in our orders and present our room keys so that the meals can be charged to the corporate cards attached to our rooms. I decide I want to try the stuffed mushrooms.

Now, from the start, it is obvious that our waitress does not want to be there. She is constantly rolling her eyes, grunting, sighing, and just hurling out non-verbal cues that say she wants to be anywhere but at work. On its own, this wouldn’t be a problem. Long shifts are a thing.

When our meals are brought out, everyone’s plate comes out but mine. I think it might just be taking a bit longer, but a few minutes pass with no sign of it, so I finally flag down our waitress.

Me: “Excuse me, miss. Do you know how much longer my meal will take to prep?”

The waitress gives me another disgruntled look and sigh.

Waitress: “Uh, yeah. We’re out of mushrooms, actually.”

Me: *Pause* “Okay. Um…”

I glance at the menu and decide to go with my second choice.

Me: “Could I get the chef’s special salad, then?”

She gives another dramatic sigh but pulls out her pad, notes it down, and walks off. The salad comes out pretty quickly, so we are all willing to just laugh it off. However, when the bill comes out, I find that the stuffed mushrooms are still listed.

Me: “Um, sorry, but you’re still charging me for the stuffed mushrooms.”

Waitress: “You ordered them.”

Me: *Pause* “But I didn’t get them because you were out. I only got the salad.”

Waitress: *In a really clipped tone* “You ordered it; you pay for it.”

I’m getting a bit fed up now.

Me: “No. I pay for what I got, and what I got was a salad. That’s it.”

Waitress: “Ugh, whatever.”

Before I could say anything else, she turned and walked away. Naturally, I was pretty ticked at that point, so I went up to the host stand and laid out my problem to the host. He immediately recognized the issue and corrected my bill to exclude the stuffed mushrooms. We finished up and headed to bed.

I ended up acting on a hunch and mentioned the issue to the desk worker while checking out the next morning, asking them to check to make sure nothing had been charged. I got to see their eyes bulge in shock when they checked through the listed expenses for my room and found that “someone” had billed me, not once, not twice, but SEVEN times for a “miscellaneous purchase” for the same amount of the stuffed mushroom dish.

He immediately went to get his manager, and she got the charges taken off, apologizing for the mixup. Given the look on her face when she heard the whole story, I’m guessing the waitress will be in for a stern talking-to about it, at the very least.

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Only One Type Of Egg In The Whole World And They All Come From The Same Chicken

, , , | Right | December 2, 2020

I am taking food orders as a server. My customer is a fifteen-year-old girl.

Customer: “I’d like a two-egg combo.”

Me: “How would you like those eggs cooked?”

Customer: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Like sunny side up, over easy, poached, etc.”

Customer: “There are different types of eggs?”

Her family and I both explained to her that there are different ways to cook eggs and that they don’t just always come scrambled.

She eventually chose over medium, thinking that it would be runny.

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