Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What Would You Have Done?

Ashley's mom, at Pipecleaner Dreams, posits this question after sharing her experience of a group of middle school aged boys in a grocery store who started singing "Once upon a time" (apparently a reference to the Tropic Thunder movie) while snickering and laughing at her deaf/blind daughter.
I don’t feel like I handled the situation very well, but I also don’t know what I should have done differently. Do you have any suggestions for me?
It's a tough one and quite frankly, I don't know the answer. Although to me, it's obvious (realizing, of course, that others may disagree) that something had to be said or done. But what exactly?

Ashley's mom let them know that she understood their reference and told them "to stop immediately.” When they walked away snickering, continuing to look back at her daughter while performing a sing song of “Once upon a time…Once upon a time….once upon a time…” she followed them down the aisle, proclaiming that her daughter is beautiful and asking how they thought their mothers would feel about them at that moment. Although the boys were getting angry, at this point, one of the group insisted that the others leave the store with him.

The best response I can come up with at the moment came from Amazing Grace, a commenter at Pipecleaner Dreams who suggested coming back with "Once upon a time there were these three boys who were very mean and said really stupid stuff . . ." except that I'm pretty sure my 'Once upon a time' would have been a fair bit nastier.

So, dear reader, I pose you the question ... 'What would you have done?'


Punkys Dilemma said...

I can't even begin to think of what I would do, I would be so angry. I might not be capable of holding myself together very well and may go into a raging fit of anger. And if that were to happen....not very nice words would come out of my mouth. I imagine it wouldn't be a very pretty picture. Course, in reality....I may just walk away and be pissed for the rest of the day thinking to myself, I should have said this or that!

Kris, in New England said...

I'm not a person that stays quiet when injustice occurs, even if it's not directed at me personally. Which makes me wonder if anyone around them heard those boys, and stood by doing nothing.

I can't even begin to imagine the challenges faced by parents with disabled children; this just adds to the list of things that leave me in awe.

It sounds like she held it together pretty well; she should be very proud of the example she gave to her lovely daughter. Perhaps the boy who got them all to leave understood the depravity of what they did.

Absent smacking them all on their entitled arses, I'm not sure what else she could have done.

Balancing Act said...

Knowing me I would have been so outraged and done something maybe...perhaps... regretted. I would have followed the boys (depending on the age) until I found the parents of those children and made sure the parents knew what kind of children they were raising. Hopefully they would have been horrified as well. I would have made sure the store manager knew so that they would not be allowed in the store again.

I got upset when my older one said he wanted to change his name because some boys were making fun of it so I can't even begin to imagine what I would have done in this particular situation. (Michelle - this wasn't what happened at camp thought)Kids can be so cruel and not to mention sadly some adults.

doorkeeper said...

sigh. I took a long time to think about this. And took into consideration the ages of the perps. Kids are usually cruel, and middle-school is THE WORST age. I have often said that they should all be anesthetized until they're more mature.

That said, there's no excuse for such behavior--and kids hunt in packs, the pack-mentality makes the cruelty more common, quicker, longer-lasting...but if you can separate them out, single one out for attention, you can usually embarrass the snot out of him, and then the pack falls apart...

If I could have kept my cool at all, that's what I'd have done. Followed them, yes, and politely engaged them (while backing them into a refrigerated cooler? :-))
Focused on the most vulnerable--asked him how he'd have felt if that was his sister...or mother...or daughter. Kept talking so the little shits couldn't get a word in edgewise...turned the focus on each of the others as they tried to interupt and get control of the situation.....embarass the shit out of them.....thank them for their time and walk away.

Provided I hadn't beaten them to death with a summer squash, or something.

I'd have done that even were I an "innocent bystander" who didn't even know the mother/daughter.

I hope, that is.

And, too, we must realize that in this day and age, where (especially American) children are taught to have no respect for adults or ANYONE or ANYTHING, they might just have got rude and snotty...sometime there's NO "teachable moment."

The summer squash idea looks mighty good...has a handle and everything.....

Ways to get kicked out of the market!