Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Yelling Match

I drove over to the closest grocery store Monday night to just grab a few things for the week. Normally it's a pretty tame place when you stop by early in the evening. People are there shopping on their way home from work or after dinner. The customers tend to be families. Monday night was like a twilight zone episode.

When I arrived, I realized I had forgotten my list, so I was running through the store trying to remember the few things we needed. I had about finished up, when I suddenly recalled something else that had been on my list. At this point I have no idea what that was because events wiped it out of my mind.

As I headed out of the water/soda/juice aisle and turned toward frozen foods at the back of the store, I noticed an old man yelling to my left, by the yogurt section. He looked like an old prospector with a long, scraggly, gray beard. The object of his ire, a young father with his son, was right in front of me, passing juice and headed to dairy. The father had his son's hand and they were walking toward his wife who had their daughter sitting in the cart by the milk.

The old guy was yelling something about "In this country we watch our kids and don't let them run wild." The little boy in question was probably about 4, maybe 5. He was at that active little monkey stage little boys (and sometimes girls) go through. I bet he had been thinking about scaling the yogurt case, or maybe ran laughing from his dad. It didn't matter, because his dad had him.

The dad said, "It's OK, settle down. I've got him." or something like that.

The old man though would have none of it. He was working himself up into a lather and I was caught right in it when he let loose. "Why don't you go back to Mexico!" He snarled loudly. "We don't need your kind here."

The father yelled back, "I'm Hawaiian, man....I'm not Mexican..."

"Go back there! Go back where you came from! Stupid wetbacks! We don't need your people here. This is our country..." The old man continued yelling at the father.

The father was getting upset and started swearing at the old guy, who just kept yelling racial slurs and telling the father to go back to his country.

I stood there, completely stunned, mouth hanging open. There were multiple comments running through my mind. "But Hawaii is part of the USA... You want this family to go back to paradise? The father has his little boy, why are you yelling at him? Who is really the problem here?"

As I turned to where the mother was, she looked at me with a sad smile and said, "My son was..."

I interrupted her, shaking my head, and said, "But he's just a little boy... he's just a little boy..."

All the while the old man was spitting hatred their way and the father was swearing in a low voice and telling the old man to shut up. The young children were trying to ask their parents why the old man was yelling at them. It was simply awful.

I turned my cart and headed right to the checkout with tears in my eyes, totally stunned by what I just witnessed in my friendly neighborhood store.

1 comment:

stacey said...

oh my heart ((hugs)) to you and prayers for all of them