Monday, July 15, 2013

A Little Story

I don't watch the news.  Ever.  I hate to see what's going on in this world.  I also try to shelter my children from it.  I only want them to worry about which color crayons to use while coloring in their books.  I do, however, get on Facebook.  I had to log off completely yesterday.  There was too much hatred and I didn't like it.  It did bring back some memories though.  Here's a little story that may be seen from both sides.

The year was 1999.  I was 21 years old and at the time I was living in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.  I had a little job at a mall there and was making ends meet - barely.  (The reason I was there is for a whole other post that one day I'll get up the nerve to write.)  I also remember the date.  It was December 24 - Christmas Eve.  I was about to head home to Savannah for Christmas.  I had gotten off of work, closed out and grabbed a little bite to eat.  I called my mom and said I was coming home, but I would be late getting in.  It's over a 4 hour drive between Atlanta and Savannah.  And just the luck to have it I ran out of minutes on my pre-paid cell phone as I was talking to her.  I had been holding out getting another minute card because I knew I would be getting some for Christmas.  The time was about 8:15 pm.  I had a car that was on its last leg and I owed WAY more on it than it was worth.  Between where I worked and where I was staying I had to go through a rough neighborhood.  And that night my car died on me in the middle of this neighborhood.  I remember being so happy that a little convenient store about two blocks away was still open because almost everything else was closed being that it was Christmas Eve.  I walked in and asked the man if I could use his phone.  It was an older black man.  He looked at me and asked "What are you doing in here?"  I explained that my car died a couple blocks down and that I didn't have any minutes on my phone.  I asked again if I could use his phone to call a friend.  To which he replied "No, you may not.  You can leave."  I couldn't believe it nor understand what I had done, but I wasn't going to argue so I walked outside and stood outside for a minute looking around.  I was trying to figure out what else to do when he came outside behind me and told me to leave again.  I asked him if he sold minute cards for prepaid cell phones and then he got loud and called me some nasty names telling me to leave.  Then another black man came out of the store with him and was staring at me.  He didn't say anything, but the looks he gave said enough.  

I walked back to my car.  Crying.  In the freezing cold.  I was scared, sad and felt totally helpless.  I sat in my car bawling my eyes out for a little over an hour.  Then someone stopped and let me use their cell phone.

 The day after Christmas I got a new cell phone with a contract so that I wouldn't ever run out of minutes again.   And I also found another way from work to home so I wouldn't have to go through that neighborhood again.


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