Recently I was second in line at a popular fast food drive thru. After an unusually long wait the man in the car ahead of me jumps out of his car wildly enraged. Eyes bulging, he was practically foaming at the mouth. This man ran back to the original window where the clerk had taken his payment demanding to have his money refunded. This clerk sent him back to the second window where he was to receive his order. As this man kept running (back&forth) by my car, he seemed to be searching my face for some sort of approval to his anger. I’m not sure what the look on my face was like, I just know his behavior caught me off guard.
Now he is standing outside his car, screaming at the top of his lungs at the young woman who was appologetically refunding his money. Then he took his order, and threw it at her through the window. He got back into his car and sped off. I then pull up to the window. This young woman is visibly shaken ,and bracing herself for the possibility of further abuse from me. This was even more disturbing to me than his deplorable behavior. We are becoming a world where people who behave in such a horrible way are being accepted as somehow having the right to berate and humiliate another human being.
I felt like she in some way thought it was okay for him to treat her this way. This man had not been insulted, abused or hurt in any way. He was enraged because he had to wait a little longer than usual to be served. Her hands trembling she proceeded to apologize to me. I told her I was so sorry she had been treated that way. I told her I was even more sorry that I had not come up with some sort of a way to stop his awful behavior. I assured her no great tragedy had occurred simply because I had to wait a little longer than usual.
The truth is a tragedy had occurred. She had been verbally abused by a man with a highly distorted view of entitlement! Even worse I realized that I had unconsciously accepted this as “the norm” in our society today. I had seen this whole thing happen before my eyes, and had done nothing to stop this abuse. I like to think of myself as a good person and yet my response to what I had just witnessed was to do nothing. I now understand completely how atrocities occur while good people stand by. Who would have known the profound lesson one might learn by simply going through a drive thru. I will do my best not to fail this lesson again! 😉