Freshman year of college, I was fortunate enough to get a job at the university book store. You know that place you go at the beginning of every semester to spend all your money on textbooks? Sure I was workin for the man, but this was the perfect set up for me. It was located on campus so I didn’t have to commute far from the dorms. Plus I got to buy all my books without standing in that huge line the first week of school. Not to mention, outside of the first 3 weeks of school, it was absolutely dead. Almost no traffic besides the occasional parents coming to visit and buy a t-shirt. It was the easiest most laid back job I could as for. Impossible to ever screw up here, or so I thought.
One day during the first week textbook rush, my manager calls me over and asks to help a student. This is normal since my only job that day was to help lost students find their lifesavings in textbooks. However, this student in particular needed my help because he was blind. When I say blind, I don’t mean just bad vision or thick glasses, I mean waling stick and dark sunglasses because he is completely blind. It’s pretty hard to find these books with vision let alone when you can’t see anything so I gladly oblige.
He handed me his course list and then I left him by the register with my manager while I began my search. These book shelves are organized by courses so it was pretty easy to find most. But what I found in this job is that you can never say with certainty what book the professors want for their class. Sometimes the book titles don’t match what is listed for the course but students recognize the right books based on what the professor presented the first day of class. One of the books on his list wasn’t matching what we had on the shelves, but it was pretty close. I carried his books to the register and said the dumbest thing I’ve ever muttered in my whole dumb life:
“Hey, I wasn’t sure about this one. Does this look like the right book?”
“I don’t know. I’m blind.”
He wasn’t angry. If anything there was pity in his voice. His tone said I may be blind but your stupidity is way worse.
Luckily no one else was close enough to hear what I said, so embarrassment here was minimal. In fact, I’m able to find humor in this story. I just hope that if he does remember our exchange, he too can look back and laugh at it. Shit! I did it again!
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