Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dear Jerk behind me in line at the grocery store

If my children hadn't been with me today, I would've decked you. Right in front of all those witnesses.
I know that you were quite vocal in your displeasure with my son today, and I congratulate you about not only embarrassing yourself and us, but about making a little 8 year old boy feel truly humiliated.
You see, this is the type of behaviour I expect from kids his age at school, though luckily there hasn't been any. But not from a 40 something old in a public place.
I realize that the loud squeaking coming from him bothered you. In fact, I think even the cashier heard you complaining about it, and she was a few feet away from us. And I couldn't help noticing you giving him a dirty look when he kept jerked his head back repeatedly. I especially am impressed with your sensitive nature when you loudly declared "there's something wrong with this kid"!
My son's tics got progressively louder after that, and he couldn't wait to get back into the car. Him and I both.
Your insensitive and thoughtless act has done damage to a sensitive young soul. I am very glad that my 6 year old daughter had the sense to scold you and tell you to 'stop being rude'! You see, she understands that when someone is different - we do not point or loudly talk about that difference. She also understands that the person that is different than her, has the same feelings that she does, and therefore she wanted you to stop making her brother feel bad.
If you had been nicer, or perhaps more sensitive, I could have told you that my son has Tourette's. He has involuntary tics. He squeaks, he grunts and he blinks his eyes a hundred times a minute. He also shrugs his shoulders and leans his head backward.
These don't usually occur at the same time, and they are usually not loud/pronounced enough for anyone to comment on them. Surpressing a tic only works for a short period of time. And it requires tremendous amount of concentration and effort, time better spent on other things - you know, like being 8 years old. A tic is like a sneeze, you can hold it back for a while, but eventually it has to come out.
I am mortified at your behaviour, I am amazed that I felt powerless to defend my son - normally I am much more confrontational when I feel strongly about something. I guess you took me off guard.
I went home and talked to my son about people like you. We both agree that you wouldn't make a very good friend.
Today I had a glimpse of what life could be like for my son. But I also had a glimpse of the strength that his sister displayed and the grace with which my son handled the situation. I would've burst into tears if I had been 8 and I had a grown up talk about me like that.
My son is wise beyond his years.
You however, need to go back to kindergarten.
I think you may have missed out on the first lesson:
Treat others like you want to be treated.


Laura said...

Oh. My. God. What a gigantic a$$hat JERK. He deserves to be publicly shamed, I wish he read your blog.

On the other hand? You obviously have two stellar kids, and you do not for one second need to feel embarassed. I don't think anyone in that store would have felt digust toward anyone besides the small, small man who needed to make fun of a little boy to make himself feel good.

Fned said...

Oh, Michelle, what a fucking idiot! I'm so sorry that your son had to go through that. Good thing he's got the strength and intelligence to realize that some people are simply stupid. Your daughter too is so amazing for standing up for her brother at her little age and giving that asshole a piece of her mind.

I think you should print your letter and send it to the jerk. With copy his management. And the local newspaper.


Fned said...

OOpsss! Just re-read your title and realize he was standing behind you IN THE LINE.

I somehow got the idea he was standing behind the check-out registry.

I guess you can't send that letter to him or his boss.... but still send it to the newspaper... let the bastard know what an absolute idiot he was.


The Woman said...

what an ass I would have decked him anyway

kristi said...

What a dillweed. Some people have no couth. I would have said, "Wow! Some people are so rude and inconsiderate of others with disabilities. GAAAAHHH."

That girl said...

Laura - I know, right? An ass, he was.

Fned - Yeah, I wish I could give him a letter, now after the fact. But lucky for me, I never have to see him again.

Woman - Hehe...I'd like to have you around in tough situations.

Kristi - Thank you. I feel the same.

Sayre said...

Isn't it amazing how stupid adult people who should know better can be? And how brilliant little children who don't are?

That guy needs to be taken out to the parking lot and slapped around.

Tori :) said...

I am absolutely mortified!! That is just horrible. What a jerk!! This made me totally cry. I am so sorry that there are such losers in this world.

Your kids are awesome.

L said...

what an asshole. I am sorry I was not there to tell him off. What an idiot. It's a kid. Even if the child did not have tourette's, there's no need for another adult to be rude like that. That your son cannot help what happened with his body and the ticks just make this moron's actions even more despicable.

You handled it very well considering.

When things like this happen - not being prepared for rudeness - I often stew and think...I wish I had said...

More often than not, when I am not prepared, it is best left unsaid.

Still, what would you say next time, god forbid, that would get the message through?

Churchill once said to a woman who accosted him and called him a drunk, "Yes Madam, but tomorrow I will be sober. You, however, will still look..."

I don't remember, you can google it.

Perhaps you can say something like, "You're right. Like X% of Canadians, my son has Tourettes. It is, however, likely that science might find a cure for it. It is too bad science cannot cure immature and rude behaviour in adults. Thank you, have a nice day."

L said...

oh sorry, that was me Leilani.

That girl said...

Sayre - The funny thing is he probably has no idea how much of an effect something like this can have on a family.

Tori - Thanks, my kids are awesome. So are yours.

Leilani - I was totally wondering who that was...thanks for letting me know that it was you :-)

You're right though, some things are best left unsaid.

Just telling it like it is said...

Being a person of dyslexia I can possibly ( not sure) understand what it must be like to have such a beautiful child full of life and beauty. Don't you for once ever let the beauty of him or who he will become depend on the people that he many come in contact with...after all no one except my father believed that I would be an ER nurse...God gives us gifts and expects us to figure out what it is that we are supposed to do with them,....sincerly a girl that had to ride the short bus

Jazz said...

One word:


tweetey30 said...

OMG People.. That is terrible but I am glad to hear you guys got out unscathed though and your daughter stuck up for her big brother. You could always publish this letter in the local news paper.. LOL.... That would embarrass him if he reads the paper.

Dave said...

You fixed it with the talk with your son. I hope you also told your daughter she was pretty cool.

Eileen said...

You are a much better person than he is.
Good for you for raising such intelligent kids (we know they didn't get that from their dad - haha).
I often wonder what the world would be like if children ran it. I'm sure it would be a happier place.
You're a good mom.
As far as the other guy goes...smile...it pisses people like that off.

jolie-jordan said...

I hate people like this. They have such small minds and are the first to bitch when we have kids that are picked on and angered so much by the time that they are teens that the shoot up their schools.

Why can't these people see that it is us that sets how society evolves and that the young only learn what they see.

I am so sorry that your' son has to go through life with this and then to have people be cruel to him is simply too much. Luckily he receives love and encouragement from others and has a good support system at home.

Keeping you all in my heart.


jolie-jordan said...

Oh and next time smack the bastard in the mouth. He/she seems to understand anger. The Idiot. I know...now I sound just as bad...I simply hate people who hurt others...especially kids.


Awesome Mom said...

What an asshat! He needs a brain implant!

HamiHarri said...

Ugh! I can't believe what a jerk that guy was. I am so proud of your daughter for sticking up for her brother - and your son too!

Crazy Working Mom said...

OMG, that guy needs to get a clue! You're right that your son is wise beyond his years. Honestly most children are more sensitive then adults.

What a jerk!

Helene said...

what a Fxxxing jerk. I think I would have slapped the imbecile. It's lovely to hear however, how your 6-year old stood up for her brother. And how sweet that you and your son agreed the jerk 'would not make a good friend', he's probably a sad lonely bastard, but that's very sweetly put. it enrages me, but the hormones don't help.

Scarlett said...

First let me say...how sorry I am that your son, daughter and you would have to go through that with a grown man. Ridiculous! You have an awesome daughter whom you have obviously taught well! Kudos to her for sticking up for her brother like that!

Great blog!