Aside from being a full time student, I've actually held down a couple jobs. During the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college I got a job through my mom at a local funeral home. It didn't pay all that well, however, it was a first job and I needed gas money....to get to my job.......to pay for gas money....to get to my job....(You get the idea). So, my job at this funeral home was that of an usher. I basically held doors open for families during funerals, washed and drove the hearse for pickups at the hospital/hospice/house where the person passed away, etc. Pretty much. I was the $7 p/hr bitch. I was fine with it though since I had a job and something to add to my resume aside from morgue assistant to my mother.
Now, people would think that a funeral home is all serious and morbid business. However, that can't be farther from the truth. About two or three weeks into the job this interesting little event happened that will forever be ingrained in my memory:
My shift started out normal, as normal as one can be dealing with the dead and their family members. After setting up for a service for a family who had just lost their uncle, a young woman came into the funeral home and asked the receptionist for her grandfather.
Now, whenever someone comes in asking for a family member they generally mean to either pick up their personal belongings or their ashes. This time around, it was ashes.:
Receptionist Cher: Welcome to [Funeral Home] how can I help you?
Young Distraught Woman: Hi, I'm here to pick up my grandfather. I was told he would be ready today.
Receptionist Cher: All right, what's your grandfather's name?
[the name is given and us ushers are called over]
Receptionist Cher: Her grandfather is in the back. Can one of you go get him?
One of the other ushers went to retrieve the ashes since I had never done it before. After a few moments the guy returns and whispers into Receptionist Cher's ear that he can't find the ashes. With a wide eyed expression the receptionist asked Young Distraught Woman to wait a moment since the urn is having final preparation work.
*NOTE* Whenever someone tells you this red flags should instantly fly up in your head that something is wrong. Why? Well, when you have a date and time to pick up something, it should damn well be ready.
Young Distraught Woman did not know this rule and just agreed to wait. Meanwhile, myself and the other usher are also called over and we're told:
Receptionist Cher: We can't find the ashes. They're not in the back. Check the offices, the flower room, and if they're not there, check the trash cans in the back to make sure they weren't thrown out.
Yep, we basically went dumpster diving to find a bag full of gray dust. Oh yeah, she completely lied to this woman, the ashes weren't even in the urn that this woman bought. They were still in a large Ziploc baggy......somewhere.
After vigorously searching, and dumpster diving, we were able to locate the ashes. Now, you have to remember, my dear readers, that a service is going on in the included chapel. Why must this be remembered? Well, the uncle being mourned over in the chapel had also been cremated.
I'll give you a minute.
Have you made the connection yet?
Yep. That's where Young Distraught Woman's grandfather's ashes were.
Apparently, the two bags got switched around since the people who did the cremating couldn't tell the difference between 34 year old dust, and 84 year old dust!
As soon as the service ended we quickly ran into the chapel and switched the two urns. Luckily, both families were cheap (or poor) and bought the same urn.
Young Distraught Woman got her grandfather, and the family in the chapel finally got their uncle back. Everyone happy. Well, everyone but the people involved in the "man"hunt.
Needless to say. That was one of the best days ever. I went dumpster diving for ashes that turned out to being mourned over by the wrong family.
I miss working there.