The Atrabilious Nihilarian

(Again, this is basically a copy/paste from my facebook – this was originally posted as a comment on the original post.   The original post has been shared at least 20 times, and I wanted the people who had shared it, to be able to see the update if they read the comments).

I went back in to the deli today… it was very “pretty woman”-ish.

I asked the owner if he remembered me… and he said no. I said “what time did you close yesterday?” He said “6pm, I close at 6pm unless I am sick, and then I go home when I go home.”

“I came in here a little after 5 last night, and you were mopping the floor behind the counter… I told you I wanted to buy a sandwich, and you said ‘no, we are closed’, you told me that the kitchen was closed… so I asked you if I could buy an ice cream cone, and you said no”.

“Oh, you came here with that man”

“Yes, I brought a homeless man with me, I wanted to buy him some food”

“Kitchen was closed, all I had was turkey, I was waiting for a delivery, even today, all I have is turkey.  All I can sell is turkey sandwiches.”

“You didn’t say that. You said that you were closed, and that I couldn’t even buy an ice cream cone”

“Well, I am old, I did not hear you”

“But you replied to me when I asked, you told me to go to Jimmy John’s”

“Do you know that man, he has someone buy him a meal today? She bought him a pizza slice and took it to him”

“Do you realize that the man is homeless, that maybe he relies on the kindness of others to survive?”

“What does it matter to me if a customer comes in and has money to pay, I give them food”

“It matters because *I* was going to buy the food. I had my credit card out, and wanted to BUY a sandwich, and when you said the kitchen was closed I said I would like to buy an ice cream cone and you told me no, go to the Jimmy John’s”

“Well, I care not if he is homeless, I have a business to run, I can’t give things away.”

“No one expected you to. I wanted to pay for a meal for the man. And short a meal, I wanted to buy him an ice cream cone. But you would not let me. And that is sad, and I was heartbroken at the thought that people mean so little. I just wanted you to know that.”

And then I left.

In the long run, I don’t know if my telling the man that what he did was mean will matter.  I doubt it.  I learned back in kindergarten that calling people mean, even if they were, had little to no effect.  But I could not just leave it.   I needed to tell him.  I wanted him to admit he was wrong, though most of me knew that wasn’t going to happen.  So I settled for getting clarification that what happened was done intentionally.

Despite his words today, his excuses that he did not hear me, even though he clearly answered me when I spoke to him, that he did not remember me or our exchange, but could converse plainly and evenly about exactly what happened, that he was sorry, though he clearly was derisive toward Michael,  and any attempt to help or show him any kindness, I at least walked away knowing without a doubt that what I experienced yesterday was not some kind of miscommunication.  That it was intentionally done.

I did, at least, get clarification that Michael was allowed to finish his meal in peace last night, and that he was not disturbed or bothered after I left.   I am happy for that.  For him.  For a bit of peace and comfort after such a humiliating event.


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