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The Think Write Thursday topic for March 9, 2017 is to tell a story about bullying. A time you witnessed it and stepped up or maybe a time you witnessed and did nothing. Or, if you haven’t had a personal experience with bullying, feel free to write a fiction piece on this topic.
Kat suggested this timely topic a while ago and I have been hesitating to schedule it, not because I don’t think it’s a great idea, but because I couldn’t think of an actual story I had to tell about bullying. That’s the real reason I added the bit about writing a fictional post on the topic. Of course you know that as soon as I actually did the thinking part of Think Write Thursday I remembered a story where I witnessed bullying.
It was 1989 and I was at King Richard’s Faire with my first husband, Rick. (I realize I don’t write about Rick here very often but just know he’s a good guy and a great dad and I consider him part of my family.) We had spent most of the day at the fair and we were looking to get something to eat. The lines were incredibly long and slow but I had my heart set on a turkey leg so we waited. And waited and waited. Finally, a young boy of about 14 came out with two turkey legs and the first two people in line paid and went on their way. The next person in line, a very large man, started yelling at this boy about how long he had been waiting. And he just wouldn’t let up. He was going on and on about the time and the lack of preparation on the part of the kitchen and the expense and who even knows what else. And he was swearing. The kid tried to answer him but eventually just stood there as this guy rained down insult upon insult. Finally, I spoke up and told this man to knock it off. I pointed to the long line behind me, said we were all in the same boat and that this child was not responsible for the situation. It was at this point that Rick, who had been standing silently next to me, pulled on my arm and whispered what are you doing? do you see how big he is? he’s way bigger than me and he’s not going to punch you because you’re a girl, he’s going to punch me. But I was not dissuaded and I looked this big man right in the eye and told him to stop with the yelling, stop with the complaining, and stop with the swearing.
And something very interesting happened.
He walked away. First he shook his head at me and called me a meddlesome bitch, but he walked away. Let me say it again. When confronted and called out for his bad behavior he backed down and walked away.
Now. I’m well aware it could have gone in a completely different direction and Rick could have wound up with a concussion. But it didn’t and it made me realize that sometimes all it takes is one person to stand up for what’s right. I’m glad I got to be that person in that moment.
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