Iíd love to go through my day without coming across something that sticks out and rankles with me. Whoever you are, thanks for letting me vent. Iíve repeatedly written that I am a complete wuss, a ífraidycat, someone who does not like confrontation. But there always comes a moment when you just have to stand up for yourself, or something, and refuse to give in.
A few weeks ago, I was working; doing my weekly rounds about town, and it was lunchtime for the kiddies at the nearby school. After the bell rings at 11:30am, hordes of screaming, shouting, laughing, uniformed children stream out, heading home for lunch. Most of them walk in pairs, chatting away with friends, or teasing and playing all the way home.
This particular day, two children were walking down the sidewalk, and the little boy, no more than six years old, is drinking a bag of water. We call those shilling bags, and itís what sold at the school for refreshment. The little man finished his bag of water and casually tossed it to the side on the street. My coworker saw him doing so and gently told him not to litter, and asked him to pick it up and toss it in a garbage can.
(On a side note, where, oh where, are the garbage cans?)
The little litterbug paid mind, and actually picked up his trash and kept on going. His little friend was obviously upset and kept muttering under her breath and egged him on as he kept walking. He looked back, saw that my coworker had disappeared, and he once again threw his trash on the ground. This time, I felt it my turn to say something, so I did.
I asked him to pick up his garbage, and he did, and right when I was about to tell him why it was such a bad idea to throw away his garbage on the street, a cab driver on the other side of the street decided to choose that exact moment to yell at me: ďOh yeah? Well youíre not supposed to be parking there!Ē He had observed the entire episode, and instead of helping enforce the lesson, he chose to belittle the issue Ė and in the process, the child who needed to learn a valuable lesson was forgotten. I could see the little boy and girl giggling on their way home, the garbage in question long forgotten and strewn on the street once more.
I stalked over to the cab driver, and began my tirade. In that moment, I lost my fear of confrontation Ė choosing instead to give him a piece of my mind. I guess when one is passionate about something, they will find the courage to say something. And did I ever say something! I laid out the issue, pointing out that he was in fact wrong about the parking violation, and really, quite frankly, he should just have kept quiet. I did not give up until said rude cab driver apologized.
(Yes, the knees were wobbly by the time I finally walked off.)
When I related the story to other friends, the general consensus was that there were many cab drivers who had a similar attitude, and were just as rude, or worse. I have had my share of run-ins with nasty cab-drivers, but I also have my go-to cabbies that are a dream to work with. Courteous and kind, always willing to help, theyíre a treasure. Again, it boils down to attitude. Obviously, that man had a bad one Ė but how to deal with such a problem. My confrontation was a one-off, as in other instances Iíve followed the golden rule: ignore, ignore, ignore.
There is a time when that rule needs to be tossed out. Iím glad I did then, but I certainly donít plan on confronting a mob of angry cab drivers. And I definitely know not to fight if I am in the wrong either. What I do know is that at the end of the day, a child was forgotten in the process of two adultsí argument, and he didnít learn his lesson. Will there be other chances? I hope so. Will there be another adult to ruin chances? Hopefully not always, but itís always good to brace for disappointment should you encounter resistance from the very people who should be helping. Everyone says it takes a community to raise a child. Well, itís up to us; every day is a chance to do so. Rude cab drivers notwithstanding! ††††††††††
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