*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
My mother worked at a jewelry shop in the 1960s. While working at the shop one afternoon, one of her coworkers went to the ladies' room, used the facilities, and then walked back to the floor where everyone else was hard at work making costume jewelry out of rhinestones.
After using the ladies' room, my mother's coworker had inadvertently tucked her skirt into her girdle. As if that weren't embarrassing enough, she had also tucked the end of the toilet paper roll into her girdle and was trailing a line of toilet paper across the shop to the door of the ladies' room.
The roll continued to un-spool as she walked, and the train of toilet paper grew longer with every step.
The owner of the shop was the first one to notice that something was wrong. His desk was located in the center of the shop, midway between his employees and the ladies' restroom. That meant the poor woman had to walk right past the boss on the way back to her workstation.
My mother saw the boss widen his eyes in disbelief as the woman walked past him. She said his grin spread from ear to ear, but he didn't stop the woman or pull her aside to tell her about her toilet paper snafu. He simply watched her walk past.
The woman walked back to her workstation, and the train of toilet paper followed her every step until she sat down. By the time she took her seat, everyone in the shop had noticed, and more than a few had started to giggle.
The giggles did not subside after the woman sat down and got back to work. In fact, the laughter became more and more contagious.
When she stood from her chair to fetch a tool she needed, the laughter exploded into a chorus of guffaws and chortles
Finally, the owner of the shop had enough. He walked over to the poor woman with her toilet paper train and yanked it free. "Fix your skirt," he told her. The fun was over.
According to my mother, the boss was angry at his employees for laughing at the poor woman instead of coming to her defense. However, he could have helped her sooner, but he waited to see if someone else would help her instead. So he could hardly complain about his workers' lack of compassion.
The woman in the story is my aunt, and she has always been a good sport about telling the story. In fact, she often laughs along with everyone else when she tells it. I'm sure the incident was mortifying for her at the time, but she can look back on it now and see the humor in it.
The moral of the story is that it's always better to help someone in need instead of standing by and doing nothing. If you see someone struggling, lend a hand. You never know when you might need a helping hand yourself.
My mother always felt bad for her sister, but she also said it was one of the funniest things she had ever seen. She said the look on her face when she realized what had happened was priceless.
Do you have a story about an embarrassing moment? I would love to hear it. Share your story in the comments section below.