He Didn’t Fully Understand What Happened Until Much Later
“When I was around 10 years old, I was sleeping over at my best friend Juan’s house. We usually stayed up late playing and would sleep in until like noon, which I loved because I rarely got to do that at my house.
At about 8 am, his dad came into the room and told me to get dressed because he needed my help. His dad was a big drinker, so either his breath reeked from last night or he had one for breakfast, either way, he was a bit buzzed. He told me he needed my help in picking out a toy for Juan as a surprise, and we were going to drive to Walmart.
So, we got in the car and drove down to the Walmart. It was a pretty awkward ride and he started asking me questions to make small talk, like how I was liking school and if I had a girlfriend yet.
We got to the Walmart and he took me to the toy section and asked me what toy I thought Juan would like. I walked around and saw Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter. Juan and I were huge Star Wars fans and even went to go see Empire Strikes Back in theaters when it was re-released, so I knew he would like it. He bought the toy and then we had another awkward car ride back.
He thanked me for helping and asked me to keep it a secret. I changed into my pajamas again and tried to go back to sleep, but about 10 minutes later his dad came in and surprised him with the toy and gave me a wink.
I found out a few years later that the reason he had me go on this mission to get the toy was because he had been wasted a couple of nights prior and hit Juan and he wanted to make it up to him.
As far as I know, that was the only time that ever happened, but I don’t really know since we lost touch after junior high.
It was all just really strange.”
All Of That Over An Order Of Calamari?
“I love saving money as much as the next guy, but there’s a fine line between being frugal and being cheap. I like to think that line is drawn right before you’re complaining to the Applebee’s manager to get your meal for free after the waiter brought out the extra honey mustard you asked for but failed to inform you that it cost 30 cents more.
When I was a sophomore, I went on vacation with a friend’s family to some beach hotel. Downstairs, there was a super upscale seafood restaurant where we went for dinner one night, dressed up in suits and everything. Unbeknownst to me, this family was really cheap. Not ‘frugal’ like they claimed, but cheap. First off, the hotel we stayed at was already paid for because his mom was a teacher and the school board gave them this as a ‘teacher’s weekend.’ Second, because we stayed at the hotel that the restaurant was attached to, we got 50% off our whole bill. Third, my mom handed his dad money for my food for the week that I can spend on any meal I’d like.
The meal started and the waiter started taking drink orders. I said: ‘Coke, please!’ And his dad, from the other side of the table, leaned over to me and said: ‘You sure?’ Everyone was staring at me while I ordered my drink. I said: ‘Yeah, I’d just like a Coke please.’ He piped up again: ‘Alright, well, if you’re going to be spending your parents’ money, then might as well go big!’
It was a $2 soda, but okay, so I just let it pass and broke the awkwardness by changing the topic.
The drinks were served and now came the time to order. His family decided for the table, for five adults, that the best plan of action was to split two small appetizers and eat free bread instead of getting meals individually. I had my own money, and when I went to order a steak, he said again in front of everyone: ‘Hopefully, you have enough money for breakfast!’
So at this point, I was basically engulfed in this soup of passive-aggressive comments and cheapskate mindsets that I slowly lost my appetite and just sat there while picking at the appetizer we got.
The appetizer was fried calamari served on a bed of spinach. The calamari was gone and the plate of greens had been sitting there for about five minutes. The waiter, who had just started and was being trained that day, came by and picked up the plates. All of a sudden, his dad said out loud for the restaurant to hear: ‘Where’s the spinach?’ The waiter rushed over and asked what the problem was, trying to diffuse the situation. He might as well had walked up and kicked him right in the balls because his dad erupted in rage. He had taken the waiter cleaning the plates off the table as some personal threat and had gone off the rails. My friend stepped in and tried to calm him and he said, and I quote to his own son, ‘I’m not going to calm down. You’re the kid, I’m the dad. Remember that.’ He eventually calmed to a point of where the manager not only comped him his half-priced order of waters and calamari for free, but a second free meal to ease this magnificent burden in this man’s mind.
I remember being dumbfounded with how weak I saw him for the rest of our friendship. To completely embarrass yourself and your family over calamari, Jesus man.”
They Had An Experience She’ll Never Forget
“I had a friend growing up who had saints for parents. They had to have known my home was a terrible place to be because they never sent me back there even after their child and I did the dumbest stuff ever. I don’t even know why they put up with it, to be honest. They would just send us both to her room. Sometimes, I think we just pushed it on purpose to see how much her parents would tolerate. The answer? Pretty much anything.
One time, when we were older, her mother took us to a concert. My friend and I loved the same music and even had our own ‘band’ complete with electric guitars and amplifiers and a microphone her parents let us use inside the house. Her mother agreed to chaperone us to see a concert.
The concert was inside a pretty small club and everyone was smoking pot. As rebellious as my friend and I tried to be, we were innocent in the ways of getting high at that time. Her mother hung out towards the back of the venue and we went right up front. It was an amazing experience for a young teenager at their first concert, but we started feeling incredibly loopy. People near us were blowing smoke into the air, into our faces – a layer of mist hung around the ceiling.
After the concert, we made our way to where her mother was standing the entire time. We got into the car and her mother said: ‘Girls, I think we might have gotten a little high.’ Then she took us to Burger King and we ate a ton of whopper juniors, and my friend and I were annoying the entire way home.
I still send my friend’s parents a Christmas card every year. They tolerated me out of love for their daughter but they also gave me a safe place to experience life and be a kid. I still think of that night and chuckle to myself because the image of her straight-laced mother bringing us to Burger King just cracks me up and is one of the happiest memories I have of being a teenager and not being made to feel inherently bad, but it also is a bit strange and unbelievable sounding especially when I realize it was probably not her moms first experience with the munchies and maybe they were as entertained by some of our hijinks as we were.”
Well, We Didn’t Think The Trip Would End Like That
“My good childhood friend, her mother, and sisters were moving to Colorado, and her dad was staying a year behind to save up some money.
I took a road trip up there a week after her mom and sisters were settled in so that I could help my friend move in. The plan was her father would follow us behind her car with some more of her stuff, and a couple days later, I’d road trip back with him when it was time to go home.
The trip up there was fine, and we had a good time before it was time to go home. Right before her dad and I were supposed to head home, her mom dropped some pretty terrible news on him.