The feeling of dejavu was overwhelming as I hit the shops, armed with the endorsement letter from CTF, hoping to get some donations to be used as prizes for the 5c challenge.
Even though I had been in this situation before I couldn't help but feel nervous.
The first store went surprisingly well. I told the assistant store manager my story. I spoke from the heart (a lesson I learnt the hard way last time) and received a genuine response that he would get back to me after talking with the store manager.
My second attempt didn't go so well. I went into a busy cafe and was taken out the back to the manager who was sitting at a computer desk. To my surprise, the manager was a guy that I had spoken with a few nights before at another cafe whilst enjoying dinner with a friend. With this fresh in my mind, and remembering how friendly and chatty he was, I was counting my chickens. What a huge mistake that was. His first words to me were "old school paperwork", referring to the manilla folder I had in my hand (which held the endorsement letters). I was totally unaware at the time what he meant by that comment. After an awkward silence I began to tell him about a message that I had sent to the cafe over Facebook a week earlier when he cut in telling me that wasn't the way to apply for a job. I laughed and told him I wasn't interested in a job and launched into the reason I was there. Unbeknown to me, someone had entered the room behind me (he would have known why this was the case had he been listening and not playing poker on the computer- yes you did read that correctly...poker!). I was still in mid sentence when he spoke. The girl that stood behind me, barely 16, looked nervous and was as pale as a ghost. She was clearly not feeling well and needed to go home. The grilling he gave her, in front of me was atrocious. I wanted to get the hell out of there. He told me to come back after 3pm and began lecturing me about how busy he was, that his wife was due to have a baby in the next few weeks, he was trying to run two cafes and was about to start renovations. I was so mad, if that's all he had to worry about he was a lucky guy. I threw the paper on the desk and walked out. I felt sorry for the girl that was unwell. At least I could walk away from the idiot. I could not believe that he had treated me that way let alone how he was towards her. In this day and age no one should be treated like that in a workplace.
I felt deflated. I get that not everyone is going to be interested in the cause. To them it's just another sob story of something they don't relate to.
I was enjoying a caffeine fix when I realized that I had missed a call. It was the assistant store manager from Big W telling me to come into the store and he would organise a donation. Ten boxes of chocolates were donated to my cause.
My faith in humanity was restored!
Thank you Big W Karingal.