After overhearing a conversation between two men this morning in Panera Bread and experiencing a weird situation with my daughter in Penn Station at the end of last week, I, the Sandwich Lady, changed my post subject today. Instead of posting about a Sandwich Generation topic that most of you will relate to–helping my mom with her DVD player–I HAVE to blog about a different topic because it is near and dear to my heart.
The two men’s conversation was about the tragic Navy Yard shooting yesterday in Washington, D.C. They were questioning how this man, who had trouble in recent years, still had security clearance and access to the Navy Yard. It is a question that is being debated on TV and radio–I heard it driving my daughter to preschool this morning. And I think it’s because as humans, we tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Most of us believe in the inherent goodness of people. Most of us throw around, “She’s (he’s) crazy,” without actually meaning that he or she is mentally ill and capable of shooting people.
I think it’s time for us to listen to those instincts that are sending off warning bells in our brain.
Here’s what happened to me and KB the other day in Penn Station. Some people will think I overreacted or I was rude, but I’m going to claim it as not giving people the benefit of the doubt. (And if you know me at all, you know this is a HUGE step for me because I do this to a fault. . .)
KB and I were waiting in line to order our subs, as this is her new favorite place to eat. A man around 50 came from the back of the store and touched her head like he knew her. It all happened so fast, I can’t tell you exactly how he touched her head, but I had to look at him twice to see if we did know him. She also turned around to smile (I was holding her), and she saw it was a stranger and immediately buried her head into my shoulder.
THEN HE DID IT AGAIN–except this time he started flipping up her hair in the back–and I said, “STOP!”
I looked at him, and he didn’t look completely well, and I kept waiting for someone to come with him; but he was there by himself. And that’s when I realized that well or not, he was able to come to Penn Station by himself, order his own food, pay and so on, and so he needed to know this was not okay.
So, HE STARTED TO TOUCH HER AGAIN, and I said, “You need to stop touching her. You are a stranger. She doesn’t like to be touched, especially by a stranger.”
He said, “Oh, yes, some kids are like this.”
Some kids are like this? ALL KIDS SHOULD BE LIKE THIS?
I wanted to leave immediately. I said to KB, “Let’s go. This is a long line.” And so on.
Of course, she started crying. “This is my favorite place. You said we could eat here.” And so on.
So, I stuck it out, and we ate, and so did he–about three tables behind us, but we made it and got out of there.
So, my story is on a small scale of NOT giving someone the benefit of the doubt–this man probably meant no harm. But it was weird, my mama bear instincts were up, and I spoke up to protect my child.
It’s always easy to see once a tragedy occurs (hindsight is 20/20) that someone probably had some information that MIGHT have been able to stop someone from shooting or bombing others. But that person didn’t think that their loved one or friend could actually go as far as he/she did. What do you think? Should we stop giving people the benefit of the doubt–on a small or large scale? I would love to hear your thoughts!
bear photo credit: Little Bear Shenandoah (http://www.flickr.com)