I worked my way through high school/early college as a guitar teacher at a local music shop. What a GREAT frikin' job for a kid. The money was good and I got to practice ALL the time. I got influenced by all kinds of people I normally wouldn't have had contact with (that old guy down the hall, the REALLY old trumpet teacher, the metal head, etc.) It made me a pretty good player.
Most of my students were kids that were terrible and didn't want to practice. This one student was a girl from my high school. She was a piano player who wanted to learn a little guitar. So she decided to take lessons from me for a few months. It wasn’t anything too exciting or spectacular. I mean, she practiced and she showed up. That was about it.
One of the other teachers was learning how to tie balloon animals one day. I was sitting in the showroom waiting for my student to show up (they were always late... all of them..) so I say, "Can you tie me up a black cat?" He did. It looked just like the dog, the hamster, and the alligator he made for the other people in the store... except mine was black.
A student finally showed up so we went back in the studio and had a lesson. I put the cat in my bag and taught more lessons.
A little later the girl from my high school showed up. About 10 minutes into the lesson I could tell she was having a terrible day. I, trying to be nice, decide to cheer her up.
"Hey, it looks like you're having a bad day. Do you want a present?"
She looks at me like I'm nuts and says, "well... sure."
I pull the cat out of the bag and say, "Here! It's a black cat balloon animal."
She immediately bursts into tears... Big, sobbing, snot running tears...
A few minutes later she pulls it together and says, "I'm sorry... I'm a mess. My cat died this morning... she was black."