Category: Respect Your Elders

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.

Respect Your Elders Children

That Joke Landed On Its Smelly Feet

| England, UK | Pets & Animals, Respect Your Elders

(I am with my mum driving along, and we decide to pull up to a pop-up flower shop just along the side of the road. While waiting for my mum, I see an elderly man going back and forth from the flower stand to put flowers in his car. A lot of flowers. He has stuffed his car to the brim. On his way back to the flower stand he decides to knock on my window. I thought he might need help, so I opened the door to say hello. Bear in mind I am a constantly-bored 17-year-old and am not in the best of moods.)

Me: “Hi there, are you all right?”

Man: “Why do giraffes have long necks?”

Me: “I don’t know; why do they have long necks?”

Man: “Well, because they’ve got smelly feet!”

(And even though these were proper grandad jokes, they made me laugh out loud. He proceeded to tell me a few more that are equally ridiculous. He didn’t need to, but he decided that he wanted to cheer up a random teenager he didn’t know, and for that I’m grateful! Thank you, old man!)

Respect Your Elders Children

Be The Change (Giver) You Want To See In The World

| Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Kind Strangers, Money, Respect Your Elders

(I am serving an elderly man at the checkouts — nothing unusual, as the local area has both sheltered housing and lots of bungalows.)

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

(Man #1 gives me change from his coin purse; I count it up.)

Me: “Sorry, sir, this is a pound short.”

(Man #1 opens his coin purse again, but it’s mostly coppers. If it has been less than 50 pence I could have used coupons, but as it is, there’s not much I can do. The next man in line catches my eye and puts a pound coin on the conveyer belt. I pick it up and add it to the others.)

Me: “Oh! Sorry, sir, one of the coins was hiding! That’s [amount].”

(Man #1 brightens up.)

Man #1: “That’s fine, lassie; happens to all of us.”

Me: “Enjoy your day!”

(Man #2 steps forward.)

Me: “Thank you.”

Man #2: “It’s fine; hopefully someone would help my dad if he was a bit short.”

(I ended up using a 50p coupon for Man #2, based on a tiny dent on a cereal box. Not really supposed to for such tiny, near non-existent damage, but I was really glad to that man, both for helping the elderly gentleman and for doing so in a way that let him keep his pride!)

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