I was buying a simple postage stamp at a convenience store this afternoon. There was a long-ish line to pay the attendant, and so I lined up and waited patiently.
That's when this man came in with a young kid. I can only assume that this kid, who was about 10 years old or so, was his son. Right from the time they entered the store, you would think that they thought they were alone. This man was just an asshole to this kid, calling him a spoiled brat, and demeaning him in every sentence.
I looked around the store to see everyone's reaction to this, and it was obvious that they were just as uncomfortable as I was. The look on their faces basically said that "its none of my business how he treats his kid" and they all pretended to ignore him.
I sat there in line wondering if I should say something to this man. He was in his 50's, and very frail. It would take nothing but a stiff breeze to blow him over, so I was obviously not worried that he would hit me. But, I stood there silent, insult after insult, that he threw in his son's face. I wondered if this is how he treated his son in a public place, how would he treat him at home?
But still, I stood in that line silent. Those of you who know me, you know that silence is not a trait that you would ever use to describe me, but still I wondered if I was my place to tell this man to shut up and leave the kid alone. I came to the conclusion that it was none of my business, and I didn't say anything at all.
After the father and his son left the store, the remaining few people in the store that were still there from when he came in, seemed a little taken back when I yelled out, "what a complete ASSHOLE!!" A few faces told me without words that they agreed with me, but still nobody said anything, and I paid for my stamps and left.
As I was driving away, I was just stewing about what I had seen. I was replaying it over and over again in my head and I couldn't forgive myself for not saying anything to the father. I reasoned to myself that if someone was calling another person fat, ugly, or a racial slur, certainly someone would say something, right? Yet, here we were saying and doing nothing to stick up for this defenceless 10 year old kid who is certainly getting mentally abused on a daily basis by his deadbeat father. I basically sold that kid down the river and having the chance to help him, I simply turned by back on him.
Shame on me...
How sad. I felt sick to my stomach that I sat and watched idly by, and witnessed this horrific patterned behaviour and I let it slide...
I can't help but think that I am a coward... But what would you have done?