It was a quiet Sunday morning and I was out for a walk. I was standing by the crosswalk waiting for the light to turn green. There was a man on a wheelchair who was struggling to get through the intersection. He was very fat and his stomach stuck out in the cold air. He just had about 5 to 10 meters to get to the sidewalk and the light had already turned. As the cars waited, I went to the guy and told him I would help him get to the sidewalk.
He mumbled ok and I quickly got him to the sidewalk. As I was pushing up on the sidewalk, a plastic liquor bottle fell to the sidewalk. I stopped and walked over to get it for him. He screamed “No, no… f*ck, f*ck, f*ck no, leave it!” I paused and watched him slowly bend over to retrieve it. “Everyone just keeps taking my stuff!”
Once he got his bottle back, I gave him one last push to the level ground and asked if he was ok. He gave a quiet “Yeah” and slowly moved on.
I lined up behind a guy at the coffee shop while he was paying. Then I heard a gruff voice say “The line up is back here!” I looked over a few feet to my right. A tall and angry looking, heavy set white man raised his hand with his thumb pointed behind him.
Confused, I took a couple of steps back and wondered how I missed the line. The customer in front of me left. The cashier looked up and said “next please”. Because I had stepped back, the cashier looked at the big buy and gestured him over. He then walked into what would have been my spot. A lady at the other line for a different cashier looked at him and said I was in the right line.
I walked up behind the big guy and said “I guess I was in the right place.” He was tall, my head only came up to his shoulders. But he was overweight and out of shape (not that I was any better). My annoyance started to move towards anger and I’m sure he heard it in my voice.
He turned around and to my surprise, he apologized. I just nodded and said “It’s ok.” He was about to order and then turned around again and offered to swap places. I told him it was fine. He explained that at the other outlets, you line up in the center and the cashiers calls for the next one in line rather than this outlet where you line up in front of the cashier. I gave him a pat on the shoulder “I understand, enjoy your coffee and have a nice day.” He said the same and left.
I’m glad our guardian angels made sure we didn’t ruin each others day.
It was my first year in Canada. We were all in our car and I wanted to ask my dad about a word I heard at school. I waited for a lull in the conversation and asked “Pa, what does chink mean?”
He paused. My 13 year old brain sensed there was something wrong.
“How did you hear that word?”
I told him a classmate said it to me during recess. It was something tossed my way in a very casual manner that I didn’t even sense anything wrong with it. He told me the next time my classmate says that, I should tell my teacher. My memory is fuzzy what happened when we got home. I’m pretty sure both my parents spoke to me.
That school year, I learned almost every racist term for every race from my class mates.