Friday, August 21, 2009

Change Is Due

We arrived at lunch time, how convienient huh, at the venue where I would be working with 110 adults with Down Syndrome from around the world. Joe and I chose a table and watched the general hub bub as the world delegates lined up for food, chose tables and picked friends to sit with. Very, very typical. There were several servers each manning a chaffing dish with a specific type of food in it. As the delegates came along they would choose food and be served food by these uniformed waiters and waitresses.

I've been at a billion of these over my lifetime and uniformly the food is slopped out with the efficiency of a prison cook. But as Joe and I watched we saw that those serving were smiling, chatting, even, god forbid, laughing. It was probably the most interactive line I've ever ever seen. I was then distracted by others who were there that I'd met on my last trip to Ireland. There were many to say 'hello', there were many who wanted to catch up.

The day ended as a rousing success, more on that in another blog, and Joe and I were making our way out of the hall. Just outside the door one of the young servers, a man barely out of his teens, he was talking with deep upset with one of the others. I signaled Joe to stop so I could get my wheelchair gloves more securely in place. It took me just long enough to hear what was being said, he said ...

"I teased those people when I was in school, a bunch of us even bullied them, I had no idea, no idea that they were just people. I can't beleive I was like that. I feel just so damned mean and ugly. I smiled at them and every time they smiled back I wanted to cry. Why didn't anyone tell us that they were people.'

Joe and I talked about his realization and agreed that he was at least beginning the journey of challenging his own prejudice. Cause you see, as much as he may deny it, he knew they were people. He just didn't know that they were equal. Aye, there's the rub.

8 comments:

Kristin said...

I am so glad that young man opened his eyes enough to realize the error of his ways.

Brad said...

Simply amazing. It brings tears to my eyes when 'normal' people get it. Somehow the impact is so powerful when they get a realisation like this. Bravo to that young man.

Wishing 4 One said...

Amazing. I had good chills as I read your post. SO gald that young mans eyes were opened. My parents introduced my sister and I to disibilties at an early age. We used to tag along when they volunteered at Beep Ball, a baseball game for the blind. We used to go to the factory that employed intellectually challenged people only. I have a special love in my heart for all people, but especially those who are challenged mentally or physically in some way. Thank you for posting this great event. I am SO HAPPY that I found your blog today. Will follow along from now on.... -ICLW

Chelle said...

At least he has come to his senses and is being apologietic about it. He won't do it again, and if he has children, he will teach them to be kind. It is wonderful he had that epiphony, even if it is a little late.

T Lee said...

I'm so glad that over time people eventually come to their senses and realize their mistakes (although it would be a better world if we didn't have to wait for it to happen).

The Unproductive One said...

It's so refreshing when people, once they're older, can look at their previous actions and realise that they may have indeed been wrong. Then to go and verbally acknowledge that they were in fact wrong - amazing, just when I've given up on the human race, something happens that makes me believe in them again.

ICLW

WiseGuy said...

You know the fact that the man realized his mistake is perhaps the biggest thing.

Some people continue to act like fools, for all their life!


ICLW

STC said...

i also had chills reading your post. it read like a meaningful short story to me. so happy to have found you.