Category: Family & Kids

The Importance Of Life-Saving Sandwiches

| AZ, USA | Family & Kids, Health & Body

I work at a large mine in an isolated area. As a member of our Technical Rescue Team, I have been called many times to assist the local sheriff’s Search and Rescue.

One day in late May, when wildfires less than 20 miles away are suffusing the air with smoke, we receive a page to proceed to a canyon near the state line. This canyon has a highway carved into a steep rock wall, with the debris pushed down into the chasm. In the past, our team had been called to the area to remove the remains of drivers who crashed through the guardrails, so we are ready for the worst.

When we arrive, the SO officers tell us a father and his three sons have “hiked” to the bottom of the canyon and are stranded. They actually scrambled down approximately 600 feet of broken rock, and then found that climbing back up was impossible. It is after 5:00 pm when we arrive.

By the time we manage to get rescuers to the bottom and formulate an extraction plan, darkness has set in. I am the first down, making contact and bringing water and flashlights. Other team members follow close behind, and we move the group (father with sons 6, 7, and 9 years old) to the raise point. One of the team members brought a backpack with sandwiches, granola bars, and water. The boys agree to wait for the sandwiches until we reach the top and gobble up the granola bars (I’ll admit, the one I had was the best ever).

The trip back up the fractured rock pile takes nearly two hours, most of the time at least partially suspended on the main-line rope. There are several small incidents (lost cell phones and tennis shoes, rolling rocks, etc.) on the way up, but topping out and disconnecting was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. The family is rushed to a waiting ambulance for evaluation, and my team leader and incident commander examine the other rescuers and me carefully before allowing us to stow our gear and get ready to leave.

I remembered that I had the sunglasses of one of the children in my pack, so I went to the back of the ambulance and opened the door to return them. That’s when the youngest asked, in one of the smallest, most plaintive voices I’ve ever heard, “But what about our sandwiches?”

When we drove away into the dawn, the father and three boys were standing in front of the ambulance eating sandwiches.

Grandma’s Cake Cures All

, | Germany | Awesome, Family & Kids, Food & Drink

(This is actually a happy story, not an angry one! The fairly new cafe/bakery kitchen I work at is mostly run by young, enthusiastic but non-professional workers. Our boss has encouraged us to try out new recipes we find interesting, and if they sell well they’re added to the menu. On this day I’ve baked an apple and fruit cake that I’ve learnt from my grandma. A customer comes in early, while I’m transferring it onto a plate for the display case, and gasps.)

Customer: “This smell! What is that smell?”

Me: “Probably this fresh-baked cake!” *holding up the plate*

Customer: “I smells like my grandma’s kitchen!”

Me: “Funny enough, it is a recipe from MY grandma.”

(The customer buys a slice of the cake and coffee and returns his dishes when he’s done.)

Customer: “It even tastes like my grandma’s cake. Incredible. Did you steal my grandmother?” *laughs*

Me: *also laughing* “Yep, we have her in the kitchen right now, making more cakes.”

Customer: “Oh, she would’ve probably loved doing that. Sadly, she passed away a few years ago.”

Me: “Oh, gosh, I’m sorry—”

Customer: “No, you couldn’t have known. You made me very happy with this cake today! Thank you!”

(The customer has become a regular, returning once a week to buy a piece of the cake — which has also become a staple in our menu. I have by now given him the recipe, with my boss’ permission, but he still comes in ‘for the feeling of having grandma bake it.’ I love this guy.)

Respect Your Elders Children

Voicing Her Thoughts At The Right Time

| Greensburg, PA, USA | Family & Kids, Musical Mayhem, Respect Your Elders

(I have not been having the greatest week. First my car starts throwing out warning lights, and then I get word from my mother that a close family friend, my brother’s godfather, has died unexpectedly.)

Me: “I should really go to the funeral, but I’m not sure I want to take my car out on the highway since it’s been acting up…”

Roommate: “Why don’t you take mine? I got it checked out before I drove home for my grandmother’s funeral a couple months ago, and I’m not going anywhere this weekend except for choir practice.”

Me: “Awesome. Thanks!”

(I get to the church where the funeral is being held and hug my brother’s godmother, who has always been “Aunt” to me and my siblings, although we’re not related. I’m sitting beside her while she looks at the program for the funeral, when all of a sudden she bursts out:)

Aunt: “I told them I didn’t want that hymn, but there it is! [Uncle] hated that hymn! I don’t want it sung at his funeral! What are we going to do now?”

(Suddenly I realize. I have my roommate’s car, which means I have her music books, jncluding the piece she sang for her grandmother’s funeral, which I helped her learn.)

Me: “I think I have something I could put in, [Aunt], If that would be okay with you?”

(It is okay with her, and with the organist, and with everyone at the funeral if I could judge by the number of people wiping their eyes. But the best compliment I got is what my aunt told me afterwards.)

Aunt: “You always loved to sing when you were a little girl, and your voice was okay, but it wasn’t anything terribly special. At least, that’s what I thought. Your uncle always used to tell me, ‘Wait and see. Wait until she grows up. It will be something really amazing then.’ And he was right.”

(That’s when I cried.)

A Thoughtful Gesture By Principal

| USA | Awesome, Family & Kids, Teachers

(During my senior year of high school, my mother passed away from stage-four lung cancer on the day before Thanksgiving. Since her passing, it has been a really difficult time for my family and with the holidays being right around the corner makes it a lot harder for us money wise. My mother was well known around my school district for being on the school board and volunteering within the community so during her battle and after her passing, my school has been nothing but great to my family. During the final class on the day before school lets out for Christmas break, I am called down to the principal’s office and when I see my dad sitting in the office waiting for me, I am not really sure what to expect, until the principal hands me a gift bag.)

Principal: “I know this has been a really tough time for your family and I wanted to give you my deepest condolences once again for your loss. [My Name] is a wonderful student and your family is well-respected within our district. We wanted to do something a little bit special for your family for the holidays.

(I open the bag and see a bunch of Christmas cards, gift cards for different restaurants and stores, and a bunch of Christmas cookies and candy inside, and look back at my principal speechless.)

Principal: “Your family has been a wonderful addition to our district and we couldn’t appreciate everything your mother did for us. Some of your teachers and other staff members in this school have each bought a gift card to a restaurant or store to help make this difficult time a little easier for you. I have a list of the staff members who helped contribute and I will read the names to you.”

(As the principal reads the list names of everyone, my father and I looked at the gift cards and each of them are worth more than 100 dollars. When he finishes, my dad and I are both close to tears and I am too speechless to even speak.)

Dad: “I don’t even know how to thank you for what you’re doing for my family.”

Principal: “You don’t have to thank me. [My Name] is a wonderful student and all of her teachers love having her in their classes. And [Mother] will be missed by everyone in this district. This is our way for giving back to you for all that you have done for our school. If there is anything else we can do for your family, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are here for you.”

(My dad and I left the principal’s office a couple minutes later in tears. It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done to us during an extremely difficult time. My father wasn’t sure how he was going to get through Christmas after the funeral expenses and the gift cards have helped us a lot!)

Living In The Stories We Tell

| Chicago, IL, USA | Family & Kids

Hey, y’all. I posted the story ‘Making Sure the Survivors are Surviving,’ about my amazing Grandma.

She passed away a few days ago, and I was reading through ‘Not Always Hopeless’ to try and cheer myself up when I found the story I’d posted about her. It felt like getting a little bit of her back, and it was the best I’ve felt since getting the news.

Thank you, thank you, for making things a little less hopeless.

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