The fall after I graduated high school, I worked at what used to be known as "Clean Flicks." My friends from Idaho and Utah may remember these video stores. They rented edited videos. People loved to rent a rated R movie that had all of the swearing and violence cut out. I wasn't really a huge fan of edited movies myself (some would be like 20 minutes long), but it was a job that paid well and was full-time.
It wasn't the busiest of places, as you can imagine, and I often passed the time watching The Sound of Music, reading books and talking on the phone. One day in particular, I was on the phone with my best friend, Anna. I can't remember what we were talking about but I do remember she was "on one." Not high or drunk or anything but... she might of well have been.
We've all had our moments.
So we're talking and she's being crazy and I see that a customer is about to walk in the store, so I tell Anna to hang on. She gets all hyper-indignant (I'm sure in a joking way) and tells me I better not hang up on her. I am getting more nervous as this customer has now entered the store and I am saying really slowly and clearly:
"Anna. I am NOT hanging up. I am just putting the phone down to help a customer. I'm not hanging up."
I put the phone on the counter and for SOME REASON Anna is making the most ridiculous noises known to man. As I'm helping the lady at the counter, I see her eye the phone and I suddenly tune in to all of the crazy things Anna is babbling. There was silence between the customer and I. Just us in a big quiet video store listening to Anna go on and on.
By this point, I feel like an idiot for not just hanging up the phone to help the customer. I mean really, that was some pretty crappy customer service. I'm so embarrassed by my mistake that I break the silence between us and explain:
"I'm so sorry! I am a big sister in the big brother big sister program. She has mental disabilities and I couldn't just hang up on her. I hope you understand."
I didn't deserve the smile and knowing nod I got from that nice edited-video-renter but I was also glad no one called my manager.