I just witnessed one of the worst things I've ever seen.
As I was walking out of the grocery store, I noticed a woman in dirty clothes holding the hand of a small child. She was speaking to a woman putting her groceries into the back of her Lexus. I saw this woman wandering the parking lot earlier, so I figured she was asking for money. I did a quick accounting of the cash in my wallet and knew I didn't have any to part with until my next paycheck.
As I got closer to her, I noticed that the woman with the groceries had pulled out her wallet and was handing her a twenty dollar bill. I thought, WOW... that's generous. She could get a lot of food for herself and the kid with that twenty.
I opened my car two spaces away and started to get in when I heard the giver of the money begin to lecture the woman with the child. "Make sure it goes to FOOD!" I turned to look over at them when I heard the nasty tone. The woman had barely pulled the bill away. Her eyes didn't change at all. She wasn't hurt. She's heard this before. "Yes, ma'am, I'm going to take it right now and go into the market."
Lexus Lady wasn't convinced.
"Just make sure you don't go buying anything ELSE."
"Make sure you feed this little girl of yours."
And then -- and this is what fucking got me -- the bitch looks directly at the little girl and says, "Aren't you hungry???"
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???
She gave the mother a few more jabs before she finally walked away with her daughter and her twenty dollars. I backed up to leave, and then I just had to say something. I rolled down my window and said, "Next time, you should just keep that money in your wallet."
I went to drive away and that's when I heard her say, "Bite me, bitch."
And you don't ever call me a bitch and get away with it.
So I backed up further and closer, right behind her car, and then began to give her a piece of my mind at the top of my lungs.
"YOU WAITED UNTIL SHE TOOK YOUR MONEY AND THEN YOU STOOD THERE AND JUDGED HER!!!"
We went back and forth a few more sentences. She was getting pretty heated, too, defending her position to judge. I told her again, next time she should save her money and this time I judged her and said,
"And spend it on another pedicure!"
To which she said, "Look who's talking in your Land Cruiser!"
To which I replied "I bought it USED, Lexus!!!"
At that point, we were both being assholes. Still, I got my important words out first.
I drove away and found the woman with her daughter in the parking lot. She was like, "Woah... easy killer, it's cool." I was still heated and said, "NO IT'S NOT COOL! She should not have judged you!" But she still had that look on her face like she's been judged before and this is just how it goes and that maybe I should just chill. Maybe she was right, but I felt like her daughter needed to hear that it was not okay for some bossy lady to be so mean to her mommy.
And then I hoped she would go into the store and buy her an ice cream. Because that's food, dammit.
I cried all the way home and thought about the possibility of someone else out there being cut to the quick for being on the street and in need. Yeah, we don't know any of their stories, and yeah, a lot of them might have made a lot of bad decisions in their lives, but the hell if it's for us to stand over them with money and then lecture them about their choices.
Maybe if she would have read the reports last fall about the number of homeless children in the U.S. being as high as one child in every 30, she might have been a little nicer. Or maybe if she knew that many women and children are on the street because domestic violence and abuse, she might have kept her mouth shut. Or maybe she still would have lectured her, who knows.
We don't know anyone's backstory. We only know what we think we know. This woman obviously thought she was doing something nice and I thought she was being a judgy bitch. So I'm guilty of judging, too. That's okay... I'd still give her a piece of my mind tomorrow.
Being a jerk under the guise of being charitable is still being a jerk. If that's you... watch out! Some of us don't mind being stared at by strangers in a parking lot and we WILL call you out on your bullshit. Maybe we won't stop everyone, but sure as hell THAT one won't be giving any $20 lectures anytime soon.