The Butterfly Defect

| UK | Right | February 15, 2017

(I’m answering the phone at a small zoo; mostly, this is people asking for directions or prices, but we get the odd… interesting call.)

Caller: “Hello, there’s a large moth in my garage. Could someone come and get it, please?”

Me: “A moth? We do have a butterfly hall. Do you mean you’re local and you think it’s one of ours that’s escaped?”

Caller: “I don’t know! I live in [Town 20 miles away], and there’s just this big, brightly coloured moth in my garage, and now I can’t go in there! I hate moths!”

Me: “Well, I’m afraid we’re not actually an animal rescue, and that really is a bit of a trip. It’s definitely not one of our butterflies that far away.”

Caller: “Can’t you help anyway? I’m freaking out here!”

Me: “Umm, it’s possible if it’s a big, bright species that it may be rare, and one of our staff may be willing to go and catch it for you after work, as he’s a keen photographer with an interest in moths. If you want, I’ll ask him. What colour is it?”

(The line goes silent for a moment.)

Caller: “Beige?”

Me: “I’m sorry, we really can’t help. Maybe you can ask a neighbour to let it out?”

Will Have To Gingerly Decline

, | UK | Right | December 29, 2016

(My friend and I have a Christmas tradition of a zoo day together. We always have a coffee half way round as it’s the best in the area. For Christmas, the cafe has limited edition flavours including chocolate orange and gingerbread. We get to the till and this happens.)

Friend: “Ooh, the gingerbread latté is back!”

Cashier: “Sorry, we only have amaretto, hazelnut, or mint available at the moment.”

Me: “Oh, okay, no problem. I’ll have an orange hot chocolate—”

Friend: “—and a gingerbread latté.”

Cashier: *raises hands laughing*

Me: “Oh, god… I’m one of those people today!”

Going For The Ice-Cream Tooth And Nail

| Somerset, England, UK | Working | December 16, 2016

(I work in a small zoo next to a beach town. I’m normally a zoo keeper, but I am in the gift shop today. Since the weather is getting hotter, we have started stocking our ice creams early, as well as getting in new ones to try out for the summer. I am at the counter when a middle-aged woman rushes in holding one of the new ice creams.)

Customer: “Hi. My dad just bought this ice cream, took a big bite, and his front tooth fell out!”

(In shock I look at the ice cream which is double caramel chocolate, obviously rock solid.)

Me: “Oh, gosh! I’m really sorry! We have new ice creams we are testing out. Is he okay?”

(The father, an older man rushes in behind, holding his front tooth.)

Customer’s Father: “Honestly, I’m all right! These things happen; I shouldn’t have bitten into it!”

Me: “I’m really sorry; can I offer you a refund or anything?”

Customer: “At least change your ice cream! I can’t believe it is so solid!”

Customer’s Father: “No, honestly, it’s okay! I can just suck it!”

Me: “At least let me wrap your tooth up!”

(I wrapped it in blue roll and handed it to him while he just smiled and walked away, happily sucking his ice cream with a massive gap in his mouth! I’m going to advise to the director to maybe not buy anymore of those ice creams.)

The Ugly Untruth

| USA | Right | December 13, 2016

(I am an educator at a fairly large zoo. On my break I occasionally zip a jacket up over my uniform shirt and walk around to see some of my favorite animals. It’s not required that I not wear my shirt while on break, but I like just enjoying the animals without being asked 200 times where this/that/the other is. I’m hanging out with our elephants when I overhear a father talking to his kids. He is very loud and very close to me, so I can hear very clearly what is being said.)

Father: “You see, kids, zoos only take animals that are perfect. And if an animal is too ugly or looks like it’s not out of a picture book, they kill it.”

(I have to blink a few times… I did NOT just hear that. Just as this happens one of our male elephants walks by. He happens to have very little hair on his tail so it looks bald and short.)

Father: “See! I’m surprised they kept that one alive, since he has that tail.”

(I almost have to sit down. At this point I unzip my jacket, pull out my ID, and approach him.)

Me: “Sir, I’m very sorry, but I work here and happened to overhear your conversation. I can PROMISE you that we would never, EVER kill any of our animals simply because they are ‘ugly’ or have physical abnormalities. In fact, most of the animals in our North American area are orphans, blind, crippled, or otherwise unable to survive in the wild. We actually take in a lot of animals who need help and rehabilitate them. I know many of our keepers and these animals are pretty much their children. They love them profoundly and would never, in a million years, allow one to be killed simply because they aren’t picture book perfect.”

Father: “Oh! Well, that’s so good to know! Thank you!”

(I just… I can’t. Where did that idea even COME from?!)

Gorillas In The Blacklist

| CA, USA | Learning | November 28, 2016

(We are on a field trip to the San Diego Zoo with a class and a couple of others. We approach the gorilla exhibit with a sign reading: “Please do not make direct eye contact with the gorillas.” So what does our teacher do? Exactly that.)

Teacher: “Oh, I gotta try this. But if I do this, I’m gonna do it right!”

(He searches the exhibit and finds the alpha male, a very, very large gorilla who is idly eating his food, and the teacher just mad dogs him. He stares directly at him, doesn’t look away for a second, doesn’t move, rarely even blinks.)

Gorilla: *starts noticing Teacher staring, gets up, and starts grunting and pounding his chest and generally makes a lot of noise*

(This begins to freak out all of the other gorillas and they do the same thing.)

Zookeeper: *quickly approaches the exhibit and looks at Teacher* “Sir? I need you to leave immediately. Where are you from?”

Teacher: “I’m from [High School].”

Zookeeper: “Okay. [High School] is banned. Please leave.”

(He didn’t make a huge fuss, but he was escorted out along with the rest of the students and chaperones on the field trip. He was lucky no one told the principal, but he’s still not sure if he and the school are still banned.)

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