It’s Thursday night around 7:00 at a local “corner” store. It was a little bit busy. There were enough customers to cause a line to form. As with most places today, there was only one register open, a young girl. The young lady kept the line moving, however, more customers kept entering, so the line grew. The line now consists of 7 customers. Coming from the back room of the store, the manager on duty came out and opened the additional register. “Next”, he said.
It was the woman’s turn so she steps forward to make her purchase. During her transaction a new customer walks in and gets in line behind her. This upsets one of the men already in the line, waiting his turn. He shouts out to the man who “jumped” in line, “Hey buddy, you better come back here and get in the “f-ing” line like the rest of us!” There was no response from anyone. The man yelled again, “You think you are “f-ing” better than us?! Get the “f” in line!”
As the woman completes her transaction she turns to the rude man and says, “Sir, please remember there are ladies present.” Immediately the man response by repeating the woman’s words in the singing sarcastic voice, “There are ladies present, you “f-ing cu__!” (That’s right! He called the woman the “C” word!!) Her eyes shot wide open and she froze.
What would you do? What happens next? If you were the manager on duty, what would you do? If you were the woman, what would you do? If you were the man in line behind the “bully”, what would you do?
Whatever you are telling yourself you would do-no matter what part you pick-you are wrong. I can tell you, with unwavering certainty, what happens next: NOTHING.
Oh, I know, you are telling yourself, “Well, if I’d been there . . . “.
But the reality of this story is that no one did anything. Once the woman remembered to breathe again, she turned and went to car. The “bully” was waited on NEXT, just so he would leave. Feeling empowered now, the man exits the store and upon spying the woman sitting in her car. He takes one more opportunity to get one last shot in, while in a public parking lot. “Go “f” yourself, LADY!” And with that last blast of evilness, the man gets in his car and leaves.
The woman, sitting in her car, realizes that no one stood up for her, no one protected her, no one even objected to this woman being called one of the most offensive names possible. No one did anything. Not the customers. Not the manager. Not even the woman. FEAR had paralyzed them all.
Oh, you can tell me this story is wrong. You can tell me how “that just wouldn’t happen”. You can tell me that no “red blooded American would allow that!!”
You can tell me all you want but I know the truth. You see-
I am that woman.
This is our world. This is our reality. I had just been a part of a whole room of adults being attacked by a BULLY! And guess what? The Bully won. He won because angry violence is alive and well in our world. He won because we each saw ourselves as the next “target”. What is sad it that we never saw ourselves, as a group, bigger than the bully. How sad.
So when we tell our kids that if they experience a bully “Go find an adult”, we better hope the bully bothering our child is a child bully. Apparently adults can’t handle ADULT BULLIES-not even me.