17. You never know, you might be the only happiness in that person's day
This was when I was in my sophomore year of college while I worked at a campus dinning facility. The cafeteria was mostly staffed with minimum-wage/slave-labor students and you would be lucky to get over 10 hours a week. But there were some students who had been there for a few years and were 'promoted' (i use that term lightly) to sous chefs or managers. The amount of smug given off by these people, who had only worked there for only a year or so more than the rest of the employees, was so thick that it made you sick to your stomach. When in reality all they were doing was defrosting burgers or dishing out french fries. The rest of us had to clean dishes or sweep or some other less than glamorous task for any given night of work. I remember hearing one sous chef say, "I get a break in a half an hour when one of the workers takes over for me."
Needless to say, I didn't really care for anyone I worked with and I only talked with people when they would talk to me. The people who were on my pay grade were okay for the most part, but it was obvious that the student managers had favorites. I did my thankless job, got my measly paycheck, and moved on to another job as quickly as I could. I never spoke ill of anyone and when I would talk with people I would try to carry on a conversation and seem interested in what they were saying. I did the same for the guy in question when I worked with him. Over the course of an entire semester he and I talked MAYBE 3 times? 4 times at most.
This guy was in his mid-30's with a good deal of acne and a higher pitched voice and from the few encounters I had with him I learned that: he was a yellow belt martial artist in pursuit of his black belt, a band major (or something like that), and lived with his mother. Not a bad guy by any means. He seemed to take pride in his work and loved to tell corny jokes. He had worked there for a few years (I am not sure how long he was in college) but they never promoted him so he and I were receiving the same pay and doing the same type of jobs.
At the end of the semester they had to let go most of the student workers because they were closing the dinning hall for the summer. He and I worked the final day, which is when he shook my hand and told me how grateful he was. I was very confused at why he would say something like this to me when we had interacted so little. And as we walked out of the building I overheard one of the managers with a bit of a gnarled lip and flared nose say to the other manager, "Shawn and Dave just shook hands," like he had just spread some sort of disease to me.
I would later come to learn how the [other] workers treated him. This guy would hit on all the female workers and apparently none of them would give him a chance. Granted, they were 18-20 and he was a lot older so I understand how this could be taken as creepy. He was always really eager, saying stuff like "We get to serve food to hungry students!" "I can't wait!" This, his appearance and situation in life were fodder people used to ridicule him. I am not sure how much of it was behind his back or to his face. But no one else would really talk to him or eat with him. If I had known all this while I still worked there I would have made more of an attempt to reach out to him.
I'm not really sure where he is now or what is doing, but after a few years I went back and saw the same people as still working there.
18. Nothing beats an ol' fashioned random act of kindness
I work at a pharmacy that also has a lunch counter. The waitresses and cooks often play the lottery during their work and on their breaks, etc. One time I was unusually working early during the day and a cook that I had never met came over and bought a scratch off. She handed me 2 dollars and asked me to pick her a random ticket (from a selection of about 20). The ticket that I chose for her won $5000. Her husband had died from cancer a few weeks prior and she was struggling to raise her 6 year old daughter by herself. The money from that ticket helped her keep her car so that she could continue working.
19. This is one of the best compliments I've ever heard
In my senior year of high school, I was in a US government class that everyone had to take. The class was kinda boring and most of the other students weren't exactly the shiniest peanuts in the turd, so to speak. Anyway, the teacher tried pretty hard to at least make it interesting or entertaining, but nothing really worked. I felt kinda bad, so I always at least pretended to be paying attention: nodding when I made eye contact with him, asking questions randomly, etc. Nothing extraordinary but enough to keep discussions moving.
When the semester was almost over, we were doing some busy work in a computer lab when my teacher asked if he could see me out in the hall. Naturally I began to wonder what I had done wrong, but he assured me it was nothing to be worried about. When we stepped out, he told me that his toddler son was growing up, and asked if my parents did anything special when raising me. I was a little uncertain of what he meant so I asked him to clarify. He said, "Well you're a pretty smart kid, you seem to get along well with most people, and I just wanted to know if there was anything special your parents did when you were a kid I can do as a father, so maybe my little guy will end up like you."
I kinda stood there in shock for a minute and muttered something or other in a feeble attempt to answer him. I couldn't get over the fact that he was asking me what he could do as a dad so his kid would be like me. I didn't even feel like I did anything that special in his class, but I guess common courtesy and decency goes a long way sometimes. That was and still probably is the best compliment I have ever received.
20. That moment when you need a hug and someone is right there ready for you
When I was in high school, one day, just on a lark, I walked through the hallways handing out stickers. They were those silly little 99 cent sticker packets you see at Walmart. I bought about fifteen of them and just perused the halls in between classes handing them out.
I walked past a girl I'd never seen before and peeled off a sticker that said "You're Beautiful!" and featured a chipper little flower on it with a smiley face. I walked over to her and stuck it on her shirt and "Have a great day!"
I took a step to walk away and she grabbed me by the back of my shirt and just started sobbing. I turned around to hug her and she just fell all to pieces in my arms. We stood there, in the hallway, embracing each other for a minute or so. She took a step back, dried her tears with the back of her sleeve, touched the sticker and croaked a feeble "Thank you."
I saw her a few more times after that but we never spoke. It was an incredibly powerful moment between two strangers... I guess in that moment we lived an entire friendship.
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