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Giving An Ear To History

| Wichita Falls, TX, USA | History

(I’m a server at a restaurant that’s really loved by the older crowd. I get my first table of the day, and it’s an older German lady and a middle-aged lady. I’m wearing pearl and diamond earrings that I got for Hanukkah a few years ago.)

German Lady: “What beautiful earrings! They are so very elegant.”

Me: “Thank you.”

German Lady: “Where did you get them?”

Me: “I got them for Hanukkah a while back from my mom.”

(The lady smiled for a second, then looked troubled.)

German Lady: “I am so sorry.”

(I assume she meant she was sorry for asking about something personal, but I get asked about my religion a lot, and I certainly wasn’t offended by it.)

Me: “Oh, ma’am, it’s no problem. Don’t worry.”

German Lady: “No, you don’t understand. I’m sorry for what my country did to your people.”

(I just stood there, shocked, not knowing what to say, because this honestly had never happened.)

Me: “It’s okay. You don’t have to apologize.”

German Lady: “I want to. Because you see, I was a kid when the Holocaust happened.”

(She went on to tell me what it had been like, how people were scared to speak up, if they even knew what was happening. She talked about when the American soldiers came in, and how nice they had been. She said one soldier even gave her her first stick of bubblegum! By the end of the conversation, I was tearing up. We hugged and she demanded I take a $20 tip from her. She promised to come back soon and tell me more if I wanted to hear. I can’t wait to see her again!)

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Tipped To Be A Good Christmas

| UT, USA | Holidays

(It’s Christmas Eve and only my manager and I are working. We both volunteered for this night since neither of us really have much family or traditions or anything like that. It’s about 9:50 and we’re starting to close up. It’s been a pretty good night despite the holidays and snow. I’ve gotten good tips and everyone has been super nice to us and given us treats for working. We get a call for a delivery, and it’s a fairly large order: 8 sandwiches, 10 bags of chips, 12 cookies, a pickle bucket, and 7 drinks. It takes the both of us around 20 minutes to get the whole order ready and luckily they are very understanding. I deliver to a hotel nearby and it looks to be an entire family sharing a couple rooms. The guy who called is very nice and gives me a $10 tip. I think it’s very good and go to leave when the grandmother calls out to me.)

Grandma: “Honey, how much did he tip you?”

Me: “$10. It’s very nice, thank you!”

Grandma: “Boy, you only gave her $10?! Honey, you got a family?”

Me: “Yes, but it’s fine. We just usually watch a movie and that’s it.”

Grandma: *pretty much yells at everyone else* “All y’all pull out your wallets and give the nice girl some money!” *looks at me* “Child, are you the only one working?”

Me: “No, my manager is with me as well.”

Grandma: “What time do you guys close?”

Me: “We close at 10.”

(It’s about 10:20 at this point.)

Grandma: *to everyone else* “Y’ALL BETTER DIG REAL DEEP, NOW.”

(Everyone is pulling out 1’s and 5’s and giving it all to grandma, and she counts it all.)

Grandma: “Here you go, sweetie. Share it with your manager. My child was supposed to make dinner reservations but messed it all up. So we called you and we’re so glad you were open. I apologize for my dumbass child keeping you open past close and that you aren’t with your family tonight. I hope this helps.” *hands me wad of cash*

Me: “Oh, my gosh, thank you so much. It’s really no trouble at all. I’m just glad you guys were able to get some food. Have a Merry Christmas!”

Grandma: “You, too. Thank your manager for us, too!”

(I got back to my car and ended up with a $60 tip! I got back to the shop and my manager cashed me out and I ended up with over $100 in tips from that night. I gave my manager his share of the last order and he tried to avoid taking it (because, technically, managers can’t accept tips) but I argued that since I was cashed out, it was my money and I could do what I want with it. He took it and we both laughed when I shared my story with him. If that lady or her family read this, this was the best delivery I ever made and I still share it with everyone I know! I hope you are all well!)

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Love Trumps Hate

| IL, USA | Kind Strangers, Non-Dialogue, Politics

I’m an Indian-American. It is November 9, 2016, the day after an unthinkable presidential election just happened.

After spending the morning in shock and anger, and apologizing to my Muslim friends for this horrible election, I head out for lunch. I deliberately choose a small Thai restaurant… one that doesn’t have blaring TVs.

When I enter, I am dismayed to see that I am the only non-white customer. Feeling very nervous and wary, I ask for a table away from these other customers, and brace myself for some very unpleasant, overheard “celebratory election conversations.”

Instead, I heard nothing but normal, everyday discussions, on families, Thanksgiving, etc. As they left the restaurant, several people also smiled at me in the familiar “quick hello” way I’ve known all my life in America.

I am very grateful to these customers, for giving me some peace of mind and hope, on a day when I needed it the most.

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Little Old Ladies, Big Old Heart

, | Japan | Kind Strangers, Non-Dialogue, Travel

I had to go to immigration to renew my visa as I’m a foreigner living in Japan. Once I reach the bus stop a little old lady is there. She asks me something but I don’t understand. Next thing I know she is offering me wrapped candies. I refuse, politely. Suddenly she is putting her hand, and the candies, into my jacket pocket. Okay, lady, arigato.

Later I stop at a restaurant for lunch. In Japan, sometimes you are expected to pour water for yourself. The little old lady seated next me gets up to get herself some water but offers the cup to me instead.

Thank you, little old ladies, for your kindness towards a foreigner.

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Your Day Is On An Upward Curve

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

(I am someone who is quite curvy, and has always struggled with my weight and how I look. In fact, I don’t enjoy being in photographs or looking at myself in mirrors.  I am working on my laptop by myself, when suddenly twin ten-year-old girls I have never met before approach my table, and we have this conversation:)

Ten Year-Old #1: “Hi! I just wanted to say… you are so gorgeous!”

Me: *in complete shock* “Oh! Thank you! That was so nice of you!”

Ten Year-Old #1: “You’re welcome! And I really mean it… You are so pretty! Hey, [Ten-Year-Old #2], come here!” *points at me* “Doesn’t she look so pretty?”

Ten Year-Old #2: “You’re right!” *to me* “I agree with my sister… You are so beautiful!”

Me: “Thank you so much!”

(I then notice their mother… and spontaneously decide on this next action.)

Me: *to their mother* “Excuse me… your daughters just made my day! They came to my table and said I looked so pretty! Thank you for raising such nice daughters!”

Mom: “I’m glad… and you are welcome!”

Me: “I would like to buy them, and—” *notices she also has a third daughter* “—your [Younger, Shyer] daughter each a cookie. I insist.”

Ten-Year-Old Girls: “Wow! Thank you… and we hope to see you here again soon!”

(I wish those girls knew just how much I appreciated — and still appreciate — their spontaneous comments!)

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