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The Stake of Humanity

I did something I never thought I’d do. I called someone out for being rude. Let me explain. I was waiting in line at one of my favorite local coffee shops. There was a woman who was trying to find a sandwich. I won’t go into all the details, but I want to be clear that the staff was very professional and doing EVERYTHING they could to try and find something that worked for her. When they could not meet her “demands,” she made some type of comment like, well, maybe I’ll have to go somewhere else. This is where the voice I didn’t know existed suddenly emerged. I said nicely, but to the point, “well, maybe that is a good idea—to go somewhere else. You are being rude and this staff does not deserve to be treated this way.” She literally stomped her feet, gave an exasperated look and, in fact, did go somewhere else. After she left, the staff thanked me profusely.

Why does this matter so much and why now more than ever?

I would love to say that this type of behavior rarely happens but unfortunately, it is happening now more than ever. Somehow, as a collective society, there is a normalization that is happening around the way people are treated. I am voting that not only has the behavior become rude and disrespectful, it is a sign that we are losing our humanity. Friends, this is a big stake. The behavior I witnessed was dehumanizing, devaluing, dismissive, degrading and more. As I reflect on it, I realize that I am not just seeing this type of behavior in my hometown—it’s everywhere right now. What I realized in this moment was that it is not OK to be silent. In the past, I would have thought—oh, this is none of my business, let the staff handle it, etc. Let another state handle it. Someone else, not I.

There is a price for staying silent and if we continue to stay silent and not stand up for our basic human rights and humanity, I am concerned for our future. Calling out behavior that marginalizes others and shows lack of respect matters. It also shows other people that they matter and are valued. How many times has one of us felt alone when we didn’t think anyone else was in our corner? I know that when humanity is at stake, JOY is at stake.

I have committed my life’s work to making sure that everyone I meet knows joy. Through this situation, I realized there is a lot of work to be done. While I certainly don’t like calling someone out, the inappropriate treatment of the staff was affecting their joy. Sometimes making bold moves and asking fearless questions is what is needed and will ultimately move us forward.

Our humanity is at stake. We can heal. We can transform. We can do better. I can do better.

Blessings, Peace and JOY—

-Deb