In 30+ years of retail, I've had my share of bad experiences. I've been overworked, poorly paid, laid off because my next paycheck would bounce anyway, fired for taking lunch (the day after being chewed out for not taking lunch), nearly run down by a dump truck full of wet sand, earthquakes, nearly drowned by leaking roofs, and something very close a real fire. Hell, I was even been robbed at gunpoint once. But the worst day I've ever had at work was many years ago, and it was far worse for one of my cashiers than it was for me.
We had a cashier, an older woman, and one of our best. Her husband was an armored car guard for Brinks. She got a call one day, a little before noon, that her husband had been shot in a robbery. The first call, they didn't know what hospital he was being taken to, so while we're waiting, I had some decisions to make.
I'm the only manager on duty, which is to say, the only one with keys and alarm codes, and I can't leave the store open without a manager there. But she's in no condition to drive, and there really wasn't anybody else there that I trusted with a crisis like that. The closing manager wasn't scheduled to show for a half hour. So I was actually getting everybody ready to clear the store so I could close it when the second call came, but the closing manager showed up early. (Note: When I mentioned that plan to the #2 guy in the company later on, he said "Well, of course, what else could you do?" I work for some pretty awesome people.) So the closing manager got a 30 second heads up, and we were on the road like a bat out of hell for a hospital about 20 miles away.
Now, all that is tragic, but not, sadly, especially noteworthy. What made it noteworthy was what happened at the hospital, for whom I have nothing but the highest praise.
First (we didn't find this out until later), the ambulance driver deliberately lied to the press about what hospital they were taking him to (this was the big news of the day, an armored car robbery at a grocery store). This gave them about half an hour before the weasels showed up. The hospital had someone waiting at every single entrance to the building to get her out of the public areas and into a place they could keep the press away. They'd danced this dance before, and hated the press with great passion.
By the time we got there, the surgeons had determined that he was already dead, but his body hadn't realized it yet. Now, technically, once they make that determination, the operating room is part of the crime scene, and it's a felony for them to disturb it. But he's technically still breathing, and his wife wants to spend some time with him before he stops. And they're not going to let her into an operating room with blood on the walls up to their waist, so they cleaned him up and moved him to a recovery bed so she could be with him, and the law be damned. (So far as I know, there were no consequences to that decision for the doctors or hospital, other than a good, or at least better that it might have been, night's sleep.)
By then, the press had showed up, feeding on any lurid detail they could get like the vampires they are, but they were stuck in a waiting room, with no access to her.
Then the real performance art began: the Brinks guys arrived. There were three of them: the husband's immediate boss, who didn't have to be there, but felt obligated anyway. The guy in charge of whatever office they worked out of, who did have to be there, and would, I think, rather have been anywhere else (I know I would). And a guy from the corporate office whose title was, I am certain, Vice President In Charge Of Bullshitting The Press. I have never seen *anyone* who was smoother at talking and talking and talking, and saying absolutely *nothing*.
Under other circumstances, it would have been a real joy to watch. At that point, I felt comfortable leaving our valued employee in their very capable hands.
The day of the funeral, some people from corporate came to run the store, so everyone who worked with her could go if they wanted. She had more coworkers there than the deceased. And that's why I'm still working here, over 20 years later.