Category: Respect Your Elders

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.)

Respect Your Elders Children

You’d Be Demented Not To Help

, | CA, USA | Respect Your Elders

(I am a customer in this story, observing this. It’s about 95 degrees today, and an elderly woman comes in to the store wrapped in a coat over a sweater.)

Worker: “Hi, Mrs. [Customer]! How are you today? Did you walk all the way here bundled up like that?”

Elderly Woman: “Yes. I’m running away.”

Worker: *laughing* “Running away? Was there another fight at bingo today?”

Elderly Woman: “No, my mom was being mean to me and I got mad and ran away.”

(At this, the workers eyes go wide; she mouths an apology to me before paging for another cashier. She leads the elderly woman over to a chair and encourages her to take off her coat and gets her a bottle of water. I hear her telling the woman to stay there for a moment and walks away to make a phone call. Curious, I wander over to see if everything is okay and hear her asking someone if there are any drivers to pick the woman up.)

Me: “Is everything okay? I can call a cab for her if you need.”

Worker: “No, that’s quite all right, thank you. Just making sure she gets home okay.”

(She goes back to the woman, who remembers she has a daughter with gentle prodding but can’t remember the phone number and didn’t bring her address book. The worker waves me over as I’m still standing nearby and asks me to stay with the woman for a minute. She comes back a moment later with her purse.)

Worker: “All right, Mrs. [Customer], let’s get you home.”

(She proceeded to clock out and lead the woman outside to a shady spot to wait for the cab, then went with her. When I went back a few days later and asked about it the manager told me the woman had a really bad bout of dementia and that the worker had recognized that and wanted to make sure she got back to the living facility safely. The woman was moved to a secured floor. I can only hope that if something happens to my grandparents or me that we have a worker like that to help us.)

Respect Your Elders Children

Good People Meet Good People

| CA, USA | Respect Your Elders, Teenagers Are Great

(This had been a really bad week where most of our customers, even the regulars, were absolutely terrible. We have been yelled at numerous times and basically been treated like we aren’t good enough for basic human respect. One of our elderly regulars came in. My coworker of the day and I are the two youngest people at our store and we help her pick out some gifts.)

Me: “All right, your total is $[total].”

Customer: “Okay, and thank you so much. My grandkids will love these. They’re such good kids and you don’t always find that with young people. Just like you two. You’re both wonderful and I’m always glad to have your help.”

(We thanked her and her kind words helped us get through the rest of the day.)

Respect Your Elders Children

Proud To Assist

| Allentown, PA, USA | Respect Your Elders

(I do not work in a store that has anything to do with computers, although we are friendly neighbors with a very large-name computer store. One morning, an elderly gentleman with a thick Middle Eastern accent enters my store carrying a tablet computer. After a few pleasantries, he asks:)

Customer: “You know anything about computers?”

Me: “A little.”

Customer: “Maybe you help?”

(We spend the next several minutes trying to resolve his email issue, but as my store does not have Wi-Fi, there isn’t much I can do. He tells me he tried going to the computer store but was told he needed an appointment, and he hasn’t been able to get anyone else to help. He even tells me that his grown children make fun of him for not being able to grasp computers perfectly, even though he has four college degrees.)

Customer: *reads my name from my nametag* “[My Name], you are only one who is nice to me.”

Me: “I can’t really help; I wish I could! If you go over to [Bookstore], they do have Internet and someone there can help.”

Customer: “But they not nice.”

Me: “Oh, they’re very nice!”

Customer: “Not like you!”

Me: *laughs* “Well, nobody’s like me.”

Customer: *also laughs* “Truest thing I hear all day.”

(He shops a bit and we talk about my store’s products. As we chat, I realize that, apart from his accent, he reminds me a lot of my deceased grandfather, whom I miss terribly; I had just been thinking of him the day previous, and crying because I felt like I hadn’t done anything since his death to make him proud. I call the bookstore and speak with someone in their customer service department who is a regular at my store. Once I explain the situation, she agrees to help, and I write down information for him.)

Me: “Okay, sir, you’re going to go out of my store and turn left, and follow the sidewalk, it will lead you to the door of our mall’s bookstore. Go to the customer service desk and ask for [Name]; she’s going to help you get into your email on their Wi-Fi.”

Customer: “I wish you could come and help me.”

Me: “I wish I could, too, but I’m the only one here. But she’s very nice; she shops here a lot. Come back and visit us sometime, okay?”

(He agrees and picks up his equipment and starts to leave. Halfway out the door, however, he stops and looks back at me.)

Customer: “I’m proud of you, [My Name].”

(It took me a few seconds to remember what I had felt with regards to my grandfather. Once I made the connection, I went in the back room and cried. Just to make the story a little more surreal, the gentleman has never returned to our store since.)

Respect Your Elders Children

Doing Right(click) By The Aged

Montreal, QC, Canada | Respect Your Elders, Technology

(I work for a company that produces a word processing software, which I am supporting.)

Me: “Thank you for calling technical support. Can I have your case number?”

(The customer provides the information. Just by the voice, I know the customer is an older lady. Usually, this means a 45+ minutes call, just because of the technology challenges.)

Me: “Could you right-click on the start button?”

Customer: “Okay, I have programs, documents, settings—”

Me: “That’s left-clicking. Could you please right-click on the start button?”

Customer: “Okay, but I still get programs, documents, settings.”

Me: “Could you describe to me, visually and step by step, what you are doing?”

Customer: “I’m putting the mouse cursor over the right part of the word ‘start’, and I click.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry; I was not clear. Is it possible for you to click using the right mouse button?”

Customer: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Okay, please pick up your mouse by the wire, and hold it up in the air.”

Customer: “I feel stupid.”

Me: “No, ma’am, you’re not. We’re all starting from different points. I’m a geek, so it’s normal if I’m a bit ahead of the curve, as far as this stuff goes. I just need to make sure that we’re on a level field, here.”

Customer: “Okay, it’s in the air.”

Me: “Great! Between your wire and your palm-resting are—”

Customer: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Okay, put it flat again, and put your hand on your mouse, as if to use it.”

Customer: “Oh, I get it, the place where my palm is resting.”

Me: “Exactly. Pick it up again. Between the wire and the palm-resting area, there is an area that is divided vertically. How many sections are there?”

Customer: “Two”

Me: “Great! Ma’am, I would like to formally introduce you to your left mouse button and your right mouse button. So when I ask you to right-click—”

Customer: “You want me to use the right mouse button!”

Me: “You’re a smart one!”

(It turns out that the older lady is 96 years old. She was doing her shuffleboard association’s newsletter, and her software had become thoroughly corrupted and needed to be reinstalled. We spend over an hour and a half. This lady had seen the advent of movies, TV, color TV, had seen the Model T, saw the first planes, radio and all. When I will be 96 years old, I just hope I am as technologically savvy as she is!)


*This post originally appeared on Not Always Right.

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