A group of teens, swarming towards the subway door, came face to face with a large woman, trying to get by them carrying two shopping bags. One fairly tall teen girl slammed in to the large woman, clearly purposefully, clearly aiming, successfully, at getting laughs from her friends. They moved quickly on through the door, the large woman did not. She stood there for a second, then walked a few feet over to the wall, leaned against it, and cried.
Those girls will never know, and maybe wouldn't care if they did, the human devastation they left in their wake. A woman, crumpled and crying, using the wall for support as if her back had been broken by the weight of their disrespect. I don't know what to do in these circumstances but I headed over to say something, someone had to say something. We all saw it. We all knew what happened.
Silence is consent.
Silence is complicity.
Silence is collusion.
But before I got there another woman had arrived. She's someone I see around from time to time. She has an intellectual disability and works in one of the stores in the mall. She stood with the woman, talked to her quietly. Soon, they were laughing.
I rolled away, not needing to do anything,
I don't know what was said, I do know that when laughter starts - healing is underway.
What struck me as wonderfully ironic was that the woman who arrived to help wore a tee-shirt with the logo of a community living organisation. Sometimes slogans stay slogans, sometimes they become action - "community living" isn't a concept it's an action.