I feel awful.
I went out to grab some food this evening to take home after doing errands all day. Was in a pretty good mood as well. I walk in, walk up to the counter to the gentleman who says not one word (not a greeter, totally fine). I give him my order, and afterwords he says “I’m sure people have asked, but are you okay?”, clearly referring to my facial deformities/tumors in my face.
Now, I have no problem talking to people about these things in social and personal contexts, in fact for the most part I’m happy to be answer questions. But this completely caught me off guard, I mean the guy says not one word and is just staring at me from the moment I walk up to the counter. To be fair, I am SURE what he asked comes from a place of caring, but how is that literally your first words to a person you’ve never met before? How is your first interaction with a person to point out the worst thing about them?
In that moment, I just felt a cold stare pour over my face as I curtly replied “I’m fine.” And I feel awful about that. But you know what… why should I? Again, willing to give this guy the benefit of the doubt and say he had good intentions, but people have boundaries for f—'s sake! All I’m expecting is to get some customer service from you, not to have you ask me about some personal shit! How is that okay to you?
God damn, life is hard sometimes.
Sorry, rant over.
Honestly, Adam, you have a right to be angry.
I remember one day when I was in my early 20s, I went out to eat with my family for breakfast after Church. And while we were waiting for our server to come take our order…he came up to me, looked at my arm, saw all my scars and says “Hah. What happened? Decide to play a game of tic tac toe on your arm?” EXCUSE ME? >:(
I was so upset and so embarrassed. I am 9/10 sure that he was just being rude and not just trying to make light of a situation. Which it was STILL inappropriate. So I get it.
I am sorry that he didn’t realize that something like that is very insensitive. And I’m sorry that even if he was trying to be kind that instead he didn’t just ask you how your day was. To me it is not professional because you just NEVER know how a person is going to feel. You could complain to the supervisor. But I have no idea how worth that is. He could likely get in a lot of trouble. That is for you to decide. But, you have every right to be upset.
I love you so much, Adam. People suck sometimes
You have all the right to be pissed. By reading this, I am. So… I can only imagine how it was to be in this situation. But of course, you don’t have to feel awful for this nor for the way you responded. Even though that’s totally valid and understandable to feel that way. You didn’t expect that, so it can be difficult to have the reaction you’d like at the moment.
As you said, maybe it was genuinely motivated by a caring intention. Or maybe this person doesn’t really know how to handle social interactions. Anyway, you are right, this wasn’t the place or the way to ask this. When you’re a customer, you don’t necessarily expect to be asked that kind of question, nor in such a way. Context also plays a role in interactions.
When I was homeless I had many occasions to interact with random people. Some of them were genuinely mean, but there were also people filled with good intentions… but they were quite frustrating most of the time. They had this unique capacity to ask silly questions and put me under a label that would have defined my entire life. They were willing to discuss, to understand, but sometimes it was very ankward because they just talked to me based on how they perceived me at first. It was a weird mix between fascination/interest (?) for my situation and some kind of unwilling pity. That frustrated me and made me feel more awful about myself and how I could be perceived. But I couldn’t really be mad at them as they just wanted to be kind. It was only weird interactions, a bit surreal.
Anyway, I realize that it’s certainly not useful to share that.
The essential holds in a few words: I love you so much, friend. You are a sunshine.
I’m so sorry about that.
Forgive yourself for responding in a way that was not as good as you would have wanted. It’s OK. Not a one of us is perfect.
You are so gracious to not only refer to this person as a “gentleman” but also to recognize that their intention probably wasn’t to be malicious. That is so very, very kind of you and really please give yourself the same kindness.
If you still feel burdened by the interaction, next time you’re in there if you see the same guy, just tell him - hey - you caught me off guard the other night. Sorry about the way I responded. You certainly don’t owe him an apology - but it can be so relieving to make amends if you feel awful about the way you responded to a situation.
(I had to to this a couple months ago. I was rude to a guy working at the post office. He was HORRIBLE and really rude to me, but I responded really, really poorly. After I left I pretty quickly knew I needed to make amends. Next time I was in there I told myself, if he’s there, I need to apologize. And he was. So I did. And I haven’t even thought of it again until just now - it all lifted for me.)
Peace friend and much love to you.
I’m really sorry that that came across in such a negative and overly personal way. I can’t imagine how that must’ve felt. But dude, we’re right here for you. People to vent to, to just get the words out that you know you shouldn’t have (even if you wanted to) give back to this person. You are loved by this community and so cherished, not just because of the color of your skin or by the way you look, but your heart man. You have such a pure and loving heart that cares for people. And I’m so blessed to know you and be able to call you my friend. I was so thankful to be able to learn about the things you’re dealing with, and guess what? Variety is the spice of life my guy! You are the first person who I know and actually talk to that has been diagnosed with what you are dealing with and it makes me feel like I’m living a fuller life knowing that you’re here and that you’re a fighter. I’m really glad to know you and can honestly say you’ve spoken so much positivity and love into my life. Thank you for everything you’re doing man. You are loved.