Who's the Bully Now?
Two weeks ago, my husband and I drove into a Chic-Fil-A drive through in Clearwater, FL. We drove into the parking lot and around the corner in hopes of meeting the back end of the queue. Before we got there, we encountered a vehicle parked dead center in the parking lot. We stopped. We weren’t sure why that car was parked there, especially when the traffic in front of them was moving. We sat there and grumbled amongst ourselves, wondering if the car was part of the queue or not. We were there for a good three to four minutes before another car stopped behind us. So as not to hold up traffic, we decided to drive around the car in front of us and into the queue. Please note that there is no mention of race in this paragraph. It was not a racial matter to us.
The windows of the car in front were darkly tinted. There was no way to assume who was in that car at all. Should that have mattered? As far as my husband and I were concerned, a person was being disrespectful for blocking the passage way to the queue. We assumed wrongly that his or her car was stopped there for a reason, so we proceeded ahead of the driver.
The situation was made into a racial incident by the driver of the parked car. She drove up along the passenger side of my husband’s truck and threatened to “kill our white asses.” Pardon my French. After we moved up in the queue, she drove in behind us and screamed at the attendants that we cut in front of her. One of the attendants asked us if that was the case. My husband tersely told her that we did not cut ahead and then continued ahead in the queue. But I guess Chic-Fil-A’s policy must be that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. All the attendants passed us by and saw to it that the woman behind us was placated. One of them radio-ed the personnel inside the establishment that we cut ahead as she was passing us. We were not allowed to order.
So, who is the bully here? Did the lady not know she was parked right in the middle of the parking lot, blocking traffic? Did she not know that it is not right to impede traffic, no matter what color you are? Did she not see that the queue was moving in front of her? If she was so busy in the car to not notice traffic moving forward in front of her, how did she know we were white? Why did she assume so readily that we were creating a racial slam just because we cut in front of her and happened to be white? Would she have thought differently if we were African American? To avoid a confrontation, we did not push our case. But my husband and I felt bullied out of a meal.
A quote from Eleanor Roosevelt would be of great value in helping this lady and others know that not every white person is out to get her.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
By making a scene, she was allowing our action to rank as an insult when it was not really intended.