Category: Awesome Workers


Time For A Change

| Dallas, TX, USA | Awesome Workers, Time

(I’ve worked as a page at the downtown branch of the Dallas Public Library, and we have an announcer who broadcasts notices of special events to the building as well as opening and closing notices. At about 4:45 Saturday evening I hear the following:)

Announcer: “Attention, please. The Library will be closing in 15 minutes. Please gather your belongings and take materials for checkout to the first floor. Again, we will be closing in 15 minutes. Thank you.”

(Now, I think little of this until it crosses my mind that since we expanded our hours a few months back, no longer close at 5:00 on any day except Sunday. Sure enough, the announcer comes back mere seconds later.)

Announcer: “Attention, please. Obviously, I cannot tell time. We are not closing yet. Thank you.”


Cheech And Chong Is Never Wrong

| MN, USA | Awesome Workers, Bosses & Owners, Movies & TV

(Our center manager is named Dave.)

Coworker: *answers ringing phone* “Thank you for calling [Center]; how may I help you?”

Corporate Big Wig: “Can I be transferred to Dave, please?”

Coworker: “Dave’s not here, man.”

Corporate Big Wig: “How about [Other Manager]?”

Coworker: “Hold please.”

Other Manager: “This is [Other Manager].”

Corporate Big Wig: “So, you need to drug test the employee who answered the phones just now.”

Other Manager: “What? Why?!”

Corporate Big Wig: “For answering the phone with a Cheech and Chong reference. Then drug test me for getting it.”

(Isn’t it nice when corporate big shots are people, too?)


Very Re-Veal-ing

| OH, USA | Awesome Workers, Food & Drink, Pranks

(My sister and I have gone out for breakfast on a rare coinciding day off; it’s a very popular restaurant and we’re in high spirits at having gotten a table.)

Server: “Good morning! How are you doing?”

Me: “Oh, just fine. How about you?”

Server: “Well, they haven’t found the bodies yet, so everything is going according to plan!”

Sister: *laughing*  “Well, you can’t beat that.”

Server: “Just don’t order the veal…”


Trip To Hell Turned Into Trip To Helsinki

| Montreal, QC, Canada | Awesome Workers, Tourists & Travel, Transportation

(It’s my second time going overseas. A week prior, I was planning to spend a year in a specialized school, but my residence permit was denied shortly before my departure. Having the plane tickets already, I decide to still go for a vacation.)

Me: *in the car with my parents* “It’s really odd, but I don’t feel like I’ll be traveling today…”

(At the airport, the first flight out of my journey of three is cancelled. After the residence permit refusal, I’m pretty distressed, but decide to wait in the long line for customer service.)

Me: “Hi. I was supposed to be on the flight to Boston, and then to Reykjavik, and then to Helsinki. Is there anything that can be done?”

(The lady at the desk widens her eyes at the mention of two further connections.)

Lady: “Okay. Okay. Give me a minute.”

(She goes into focus mode as I wait, occasionally asking a question to a colleague. At that point, I’ve joined my hands, prayer-like.)

Lady: “Oh, please don’t worry; we’re getting you to Helsinki. It will be a little later than you would have. You’ll be on a flight to Frankfurt, and then to Finland.”

Me: “Honestly, right now I’m just really hoping that you get the kindness of your work a hundredfold!”

Lady: *laughing* “Well I’m getting married in a month, so good weather would be perfect!”

(I wished her the best. She had a colleague take my suitcase to get it checked in again, and I did make it to Finland. I hope her wedding was fantastic!)


Owner Owning Up

| Denver, CO, USA | Awesome Workers, Bosses & Owners, Food & Drink

(My wife and I are at a work conference in Denver. On our way out of town, we stop at a little cafe to have an early lunch. The place is empty, and it seems like there is only one waitress and a cook in the whole place. The kitchen is open so you can watch the guy walking around. The waitress is pleasant and brings us our drinks promptly, and takes our orders.)

Wife: “I’ll have the [Burger] with fries.”

Me: “I’ll have the pastrami sandwich with fries.”

Waitress: “I’ll get that started for you. Anything else I can get you in the meantime?”

Us: “No, thanks.”

(As we wait, we can overhear the cook talking animatedly on the phone, though we can’t really tell what he is saying. He puts our order on the counter, lets the waitress know, takes off his apron, and walks out the back. The waitress brings us our food and everything looks all right. The waitress leaves and we start eating.)

Wife: “These fries are kinda overdone.”

Me: “They are pretty crispy…”

(I dig around and see that the deeper I go, the more well done they are.)

Me: “Actually, these are burnt.”

(My wife digs into her pile to find the same is true.)

Me: “I don’t know? Is it worth sending them back? You know how much I hate making a scene or wasting food.”

Wife: “These are beyond ‘oops they are a little overdone.’ They are so hard they are actually painful to eat, and taste terrible. Let’s just ask the waitress what she can do about it. We don’t have to yell at her; just be polite and ask what she can do about it.”

(I waive over the waitress.)

Me: “These fries are really kinda burnt. Is there something you can do about it?”

Waitress: *grabs a fry off my plate and examines it* “I’m so sorry, these are inedible. I’ll get another batch for you right away, and I’ll cook them myself.” *as she’s walking away she mumbles to herself* “I thought I heard him say something about ‘not too overdone; oh, well.’ I should have known.”

(In record time the waitress has returned with lovely fries.)

Waitress: “Here you are. Again, sorry about that. We’re a little short today, and the cook is trying to handle too many things at once. But he should know better.”

Me: “No worries, I understand. Mistakes happen. Thank you for fixing the situation.”

Waitress: *goes into the back*

(We eat a while longer, and everything is pleasant until I get to the second half of my sandwich.)

Me: “What the hell? The second half of my sandwich is ham, wrapped in a single slice of pastrami so you can’t see it until you bite into it.”

Wife: “Seriously?”

Me: “Yeah, look…”

Wife: “It’s a good thing you aren’t Jewish, or, you know, allergic to pork like me.”

Me: “I can’t believe they would do that… It still tastes good, so I’m going to eat it anyway, but I think I should talk to the waitress about it.”

Wife: “You should.”

Me: “I think I’ll wait till after we’re done and have paid. I don’t want to give the impression that I am looking for free food.”

(We finish eating, ask the waitress for the check, pay, get the receipt back, and have signed it.)

Me: *to waitress as she is clearing the table* “Can I talk to you about something quickly?”

Waitress: “Yeah, what’s up?”

Me: “I just wanted to give you some words to take back to the cook. If you run out of pastrami, let the customer know, and ask them if they are cool with a ham substitution, or if they’d rather have something else. If you burn the fries, own it and make a new batch before you send them out to—”

Waitress: *cuts me off* “Did your sandwich have ham on it?”

Me: “Yes.”

Waitress: “Hang on one sec. I’m gonna grab the cook.”

(She calls over the cook who has recently re-entered the building.)

Owner/Cook: “Hey, I’m [Cook], the owner of [Cafe]. What can I do for you?”

Me: “Hi, [Cook]. I just wanted to give you a couple pieces of friendly advice. If you run out of pastrami, don’t sub ham without asking. It wasn’t a big deal for me, but my wife is allergic and it could have been a serious situation. If you burn fries, own it, and remake them before the customer sees it. If you get a reputation for trying to slip things in ‘unnoticed’ and only fixing them if someone complains, you will go out of business. In a cafe, your food needs to speak for itself, and if you have to redo things all the time because of simple mistakes like burning the fries, you won’t last long. I’m not after anything; I ran my own business for years, and I just want to see other small business owners do well for themselves. And this wasn’t exactly a gold star for you. However…” *points to waitress* “She was your saving grace. Whatever you are paying her, she deserves a raise because she was on point during our whole visit. If she hadn’t been so polite and helpful, I might have just left and let you stumble along.”

Owner/Cook: *shocked look on his face* “I… I… You’re right. I’m sorry. You nailed it on every point. I ran out of pastrami, and didn’t feel I had time, so I fudged it. I burnt the fries but thought I might be able to get away with it, cause they weren’t black. Thank you for calling me on the carpet. I really appreciate you taking the time to say something polite and that you showed an interest in my business, not just your own lunch. [Waitress], their meal is on me.”

Me: “As I said, I’m not after anything in this situation. We both ate our food, and have already paid.”

Owner: “No, not good enough! [Waitress], go reverse the charge on the card!”

(She walks away.)

Owner: “I already pay her more than any of my other staff because she is the best. But you’re right, she probably deserves more.”

Me: “Well, why don’t we forget the reversal of charges and you can give the whole cost of the meal to her as a tip directly?”

(Before he can answer, the waitress returns with a reversal slip.)

Owner: “Too late. It’s on the house!”

(We chat with him for another ten minutes and enjoy it. As we stand to leave I pull the cost of the meal in cash out of my wallet and leave it under my water glass. As I walk out past the waitress:)

Me: “I left a little something on the table for you.”

Waitress: “Thank you so much for talking to the owner. I’ve never seen him react like that with anyone before. He usually gets upset!”

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