(I work as a transporter at a hospital, pushing patients to tests and operations and the like. After a while, you get to be a pretty good judge of character — who’s going to be a crank, who’s scared, who needs cheering up, who wants to be left alone. I am picking up a patient for surgery who is probably 16 or 17 and is accompanied by his mom and step-dad. I don’t know what he is scheduled for, but I get the feeling that he is nervous and covering by mouthing off. But boy, is he mouthing off. This kid is being rude and disrespectful to both of his parents, but especially his step-dad. Back-talk, cussing, yack yack yack. I keep my mouth shut, because it’s not my business. I only have to spend another ten minutes with this kid and then I’m off to the next person. We get on the big patient elevator, the four of us with me behind his wheelchair (patients aren’t allowed to just walk around), and the parents off in front and off to the side against the walls. The patient is still just laying into his step-dad and starts to make fun of the crease between his step-dad’s eyebrows, comparing the deep furrow to a part of the female anatomy.)
Patient: “F***, look at you and that f****** stupid c*** on your forehead, haha!
Mom: *glancing at me* “Shh, stop it! You’ll offend the transporter!”
Patient: *with a sneer* “Yeah, whatever. She’s got one, too.”
(I’ve had enough. I lean over his shoulder so he can look me dead in the eye and point to his stepdad’s forehead.)
Me: “Yeah, and if you keep up with a mouth like that, that is as close as you’ll ever get to one.”
(The elevator went dead silent for a beat and then his parents started laughing so hard that we almost missed our floor. Except for a sheepish “Yeah, true,” the kid was silent the rest of the way to the OR.)