I’m going to preface this by saying: I am a stereotypical suburban white lady. My knowledge of the challenges and struggles that people of color face daily is limited. I have been living in a blissful bubble of ignorance for the past 29 years and have only recently began to realize how ignorant I truly am. That being said, I’ve been debating on writing this post at all. Usually I only write about things that directly affect me on a daily basis. What I want to write about today was a one off incident. If anything I write here in comes across as ignorant or offensive, please know that it’s not intentional and feel free to comment/share where I can make improvements.
I was sitting with my family in a local fast food restaurant. There were two employees goofing off in the dining room. They were young, and the manager was nowhere to be found. I wasn’t angry, nor in a hurry. My first job was in a fast food restaurant. I know how things go, especially on a Sunday afternoon when business volume is slow.
We step up to the front counter to place our order. The older woman taking our order was new and had a terrible time figuring out the register. I was confused why no one was helping her, but didn’t really think too much of it.
At least until she came out to “clean the dining room”. She stopped by our table, apologized for our wait and then proceeded to criticize her coworkers. Most of the employees behind the counter were people of color, so when she approached our table in hushed tones complaining about how “they were all lazy”, and she wished her manager would hire more “people like her” so they could get stuff done; the reason her coworkers weren’t helping her became apparent. Especially considering that I could see the rest of the crew working smoothly together behind the scenes after the racist cashier made her way out to the dining room.
I couldn’t say what I wanted to say (well maybe if you weren’t such a racist asshole, your coworkers would be more willing to help you out) because the kids were sitting with us. Instead Hubs and I responded with a look of disgust, before she realized we didn’t share her racist viewpoints and dashed away. Little noticed.
“Why doesn’t she like those boys, Mommy?” She asked innocently, noticing the two young men of color standing behind the counter.
I took a moment to think. On the one hand I was glad that my Little doesn’t see an issue with physical differences, but on the other I felt like she lost some of her innocence as I had to explain to her that some people don’t like other people who look different because of their skin. God bless my Little as she looked right at me and said: “Oh. Well that’s dumb.”
I smiled and answered: “You’re right. That is dumb. People are people no matter how they look on the outside, and they all deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.”
She nodded and said: “Yep!” then the moment was over and she returned to her sandwich. We finished eating and Little made sure to say a very loud thank you to the two boys still standing behind the register, with a smile and happy wave as we walked out the door. They returned her genuine smile and we made our way to the car.
We won’t be back to that Wendy’s, and I even went out of my way to write two different complaints about the location on various social media sites as well as contacting cooperate. I never got a response from any of them, but at least they’re aware of the issue. Even if they chose to ignore it.