Sunday, December 30, 2012

Trying to Say Goodbye To What Happened

It all happened because I wanted some cheese. Nice cheese. Expensive cheese. Applewood smoked cheddar. Brie. Danish Blue. Joe and I were choosing the cheese and, once done, I slipped it into my wheelchair bag. Then he went his way to do his part of the list, I went mine to get the stuff that was assigned to me. I picked up crackers. I picked up pumpkin loaf. I picked up bread. I picked up a bagful of stuff. Then, as we always do, Joe and I met and I transferred my stuff to his cart and then headed out of the store.

This is a store that we've shopped in at least twice a week, barring times when we are on the road of course, for five years. We have nodding acquaintance with many of the staff there, some of whom greet us by name. Our rituals are not unknown to them. I left Joe in the line up and headed off to the liquor store to pick up some beer. We were having a nice day. We had the Messiah on in the afternoon, we'd had a lovely morning doing Christmas stuff.

I picked up the beer, once again putting it in my bag as I always do. Once again in a store where we shop regularly. Once again in a place where staff know us and say hello. I turned my chair and found three people standing blocking my way. One of them, a woman, was glaring at me. She was clearly very, very, angry. I was confused. I was further confused when I recognised them as being from the grocery store that I'd just left. They followed me, FOLLOWED ME, into another store, why?? That confusion was heightened by the fact that they'd blocked me in. I get very claustrophobic in these situations. I don't think that non wheelchair users understand, even slightly, what being pinned in like that feels like. When it happens accidentally it's frightening, when it happens purposely, it's intensely threatening.  I looked at them helplessly. She glares back, arms folded over her chest, her stance aggressive.

Before I could say anything. The woman says, loudly, "Are you going to pay for the cheese you've taken from my store." I was shocked. I begin to babble. My heart is beating hard in my chest. I am an honest person. I value my reputation for being honest. I never steal! Ever. Nothing. It's one of the Commandments for heaven's sake. It's wrong. I tell her as I am fumbling in my bag to find the cheese, that I must have forgotten, or missed it when I did the transfer over to Joe LIKE I HAVE DONE HUNDREDS OF TIMES BEFORE. That I'll pay for it. She just stands there, glaring saying, "Are you going to pay for the cheese?" I keep grabbing to the bottom of my bag, trying to find the cheese. The beer cans are in the way. I can't find the cheese! I CAN'T FIND THE CHEESE.

She asks several more times.

They continue to stare at me.

Others are now staring too.

Others are now seeing me as a fat, disabled thief.

I don't think I can bear the embarrassment and the humiliation.

I am angry at myself. I should have been more careful when I transferred the stuff over. She is so sure that I've stolen that I am sure I have too. I do that. When accused of anything I immediately, at first impulse, feel guilty and apologise. I can't find the cheese.


Finally, as the seconds tick by, as the demand for me to produce the cheese intensifies, I am full of blind panic. I ask, helplessly as I'm shaking now, for the man she brought with her to help me get the beer out of the bag so I can produce the cheese. People everywhere are staring. He approaches to help. He's a big man. She brought him along, I don't know why, he had nothing to do with this. I recognise the other woman as being from the cheese department. He helps me get my bag empty.

There is no cheese.


I've taken nothing from the store.

Guilt switches to anger. Intense anger.

I have been targeted.

Publicly accused.



Everyone who saw what happened, the first part of the story, will not know that the accusation was groundless. That I had been followed from one store into another and falsely accused. I will always be a thief in their eyes. She stole from me my reputation, yet I am considered a thief.

Before continuing, I need to tell you that I value my reputation. Like everyone does. But, for me, I know that people make assumptions about me because of my weight, because of my disability. I know that I belong to a visual minority which is subject to prejudice and stereotyping. I know that we are often seen as benefit gobbling, non contributing, scum. I know that there are those who believe that's we'd be better off dead. I do what I can, in my own little way, to try to demonstrate that not only do I have a good quality of life, I also have qualities that I bring to my life and to the lives of others. Those who know me, know that I strive to be a decent, honest, caring man. I may fail from time to time, but I do strive to be the kind of guy that people think is a 'straight up dude.' So losing that reputation costs me. Hurts me. Deeply. And ... as it turns out, angers me beyond belief.

I am outraged.

I point at her and tell her, loudly, that she has falsely accused me.


She said, "I never accused you of anything."

Then she says, "You weren't even sure if the cheese was in your bag."

I don't have to be sure.SHE DOES. I demand that she accompany me to the store, find Joe and see that the cheese is with him and being paid for. She and her gang flee the store. I have to make my way out. The beer is left on the shelf where it was placed when I was trying to find the non-existent stolen cheese. It takes a few minutes as the aisles are full of Christmas displays. I find her and her cabal at the bottom of the escalator just outside the store. I demand she come with me.

I see Joe. Standing innocently in a long line. I shout to him, "This woman has accused me of shoplifting the cheese, show her the cheese!!"

She leaves me and goes to him. Joe, looking shell shocked, shows her the cheese. I see her talking rapidly to him. I find out later that to him, TO HIM, she is apologising. She has yet to apologise to me! She comes back to me. We have further words. I tell her that what she has done is reprehensible. I accuse her of targeting me, at least partially, because I have a disability. That she was operating on stereotype. I find out later, after she protests to me, that she has said to Joe, "this has nothing to do with his disability." At the point she is speaking to him, I had not raised the issue of my disability. She did.

I tell her that she can expect a report, I want the name of the owner of the store. She is the store owner. Then I ask for a contact for the  franchise, even owners have someone above them. She gives me her card.

Joe then joins me and we leave the store. I write a letter of outrage and protest as soon as I get home. It is sent to the corporate body of the franchise chain. I copy her, That begins another saga that is yet to be finished.

Here's the thing.

I can't shake this.

Those moments in the store, being blocked in, being accused, pleading for understanding, being stared at by others, desperately digging in my bag, seeing this big man brought along, now I understand, for intimidation approach me to take stuff out of my bag, keep replaying in my mind. The faces of those other customers, those employees of the other store, who stopped to watch, to have their prejudices confirmed, I can still see.

I am deeply hurt.

Damaged even.

I have trouble going back to that mall. A place I've always felt safe and even welcomed. A place where, until then, I had a good reputation with the clerks, even the security people say hello. This entered into my afternoon at the concert, my Christmas itself. I had to keep forcing it away.

Normally I am better at shaking off these things. You have to be when you are different. But I think it's easier to brush off judgements made based on what I look like rather than those that are made about who I am. I think, too, that my reputation is something I deeply value - I always knew that, but I didn't know how big a deal that is to me.

It's big.

Really big.

I'm telling you all this now because I've decided that I don't want to take this into the new year. I want to leave it behind. While I will still have to deal with this next year, I still have an active complaint to process, I want this out of my head. One of the best ways I have of doing this is taking what is going on in my mind and putting it on paper.

I normally don't ask favours of you, as my readers. But I am going to now, I do want comments on this blog post, but please try to refrain from telling me what I should or shouldn't feel, what I should or shouldn't have done, why it's not a big deal, don't tell me how you would have handled it better or give me advice about it at all. I'm really not strong enough for those things at the moment. Please too, if you know where this is or the store I am referring to, please don't contact them on my behalf, I fight my own battles. What I hope from this is simply support. Sometimes that's all that people want.

For me, that's what I need.


D. said...


(You have my support, of course; that was pretty poisonous. We are kind of hardwired to get flustered if we are accused of something especially if we didn't do it [the guilty have learned to mimic this reaction, too] but her behaviour was unconscionable.)

I will boycott Eaton Centre on my next trip to Toronto.

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry you went through this. I know how easy it is to get flustered and start second-guessing yourself when someone throws accusations - it's an awful feeling, both during the event and afterwards. I hope you are able to get some resolution on the situation, for the sake of being able to move past the awful squirmy feelings, but either way, I will be wishing all the best for you and Joe, not only in the holiday season but all year round.

Dave Hingsburger said...


Please don't boycott anywhere. The Eaton Center doesn't even have a grocery store. I didn't mention the place or the store because I don't want to use my blog that way for this kind of action. The mall where this happened isn't responsible for the incident. I really don't want any action, just support. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry that this happened to you. L

pattib said...


Tamara said...

What a totally outrageous thing for someone to do. Before accusing someone of anything - privately or publicly - you think you would make sure it was true, wouldn't you?

And even if you had missed the cheese as you transferred your items to Joe, you would think that someone would simply ask if you might have accidentally left with out checking out the item, wouldn't you? Even if you had really walked out without paying for it - that would be a civilized way to handle it. It's not like you stashed it in your bag and zoomed out the store.

So outrageous. Hope you can find some way to leave it behind and move on. I, unfortunately, am not so good at that - but I wonder if it's because I don't address things the way I should when they happen. Had my own "falsely accused" situation this year - not public, but among friends and very hurtful. Haven't left it behind at all. hmmm You have me thinking, Mr. H, as always ... :-)

Anonymous said...

So sorry this happened. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Andrea S. said...

You have my support, always. I hate that this happened to you. And I hate that although she saw some need for apology (to Joe!) she failed to recognize that she owed a far bigger apology to YOU, personally. And her hypocrisy in claiming that she wasn't accusing you (!??!!!) -- only in the mind of someone in profound denial can her aggressive question, "are you going to ..." be read as anything other than a blatant accusation.

It also breaks my heart that you have to ask people not to say that it wasn't a big deal. I understand why you ask this -- you ask it because there is so often someone who comes along who does this. And sometimes they might be concern trolling (ie they say it knowing it will hurt but putting on a facade of caring in the hope of getting away without being challenged on it). And other times they may be sincerely very well intentioned, but failing to realize that their dismissal of your concern is really only meeting their hope of deflecting their own discomfort and not really helping YOU. But still hurts either way.

Andrea S.

Anonymous said...

Dave--I suggest that you consult an attorney. You may have legal options open to you, depending upon the laws in your area. At the very least, a consultation will tell you what kinds of steps to take.

I'm so sorry that this happened to you. There is nothing worse than being falsely accused, unless it's maybe being aggressively blocked in. It's doubly intimidating when one uses a chair, and everyone is looming over you. Very threatening.

Best wishes, Dave. I know that you have the tools to put this behind you. Maybe not soon, but it will happen. I have faith in your resilience.

Jan Goldfield said...

Of course you have our support from the Deep South of the US.
This woman and her reprehensible actions have invaded your space. Do not let her live there rent free. Evict her.

Becca said...

Ohmygosh, that's reprehensible!! I'm so sorry you went through that - I felt anxiety reading your account of what happened, and can't even imagine what you must have felt. I hope your letter is heard, that a very sincere apology is presented to you, and that steps are made by that craptastic store owner to make sure she *knows what she's doing* next time she even so much as *suspects* something has been taken from her store. I spent nearly 20 years in retail management, in high-shrinkage locations, and the cardinal rule is that in order to stop or accuse someone of taking something, you have to have physically SEEN the item get taken, know where it's stashed, and not let the person in question EVER leave your sight between the point of theft and their attempt to exit the store. Ugh.

Cindy B. said...

I agree with the others that I too am sorry this happened to you.

Our local grocery store has a sign asking people to pay for items before they put them in their recyclable bags because I guess that is the latest way of shoplifting.

If she truly thought you had stolen from her store, she should have stopped you as you exited and not waited until you entered another store. I can understand that shoplifting costs all of us but her response to what she thought you did was completely unreasonable.

I had a day when I did accidentally leave a store with unpaid for groceries. When I went to load my car, I realized that I had stuff on the bottom of the cart that I missed. Then, the question of what to do - Do you go back to the store and confess (do you end of up on the list of unwelcome shoppers???) or do you go home and stew. I have accidentally double-charged for things a few times there so I am afraid I decided that the next time that happened, I wouldn't comment and the store would get their money anyway.

painting with fire said...

What a horrible, humiliating, upsetting experience! I too would have trouble leaving it behind and going back to the mall, let alone the store. I had a similar experience years ago with a museum - we had gone in through disabled entrance because we had my mother with us, didn't get the normal ticket as a result and were then accused of sneaking in without paying. I haven't been back since. My mother was dying of cancer at the time, this was supposed to be one of our last outings to a place we always went as kids. I didn't write the letters I should have as you have done and maybe that will bring you some closure if you get a good response. Otherwise, all I can say is I sympathize with the awfulness of the experience and hope you can let it go so that you don't give those horrible people power over you.

Alison Cummins said...


Anonymous said...

You have my support and empathy - as you had [everyones] in your original post when no one knew the specifics. We ( and I presume to speak for your readers) adore you, and would be there for you as you have been for us. I pray for a closure of this for you. I am so sorry this happened and offer you a huge huge huge hug. Let OUR collective love and appreciation of who you are and what you mean to us wrap around you and provide comfort.

Anonymous said...


I concienciously did not read the other comments before giving you my feedback to this situation.

At first I have to admit, that it was nothing that had to do with your daily workplace situation which I was worried could have been about. Yes I sometimes search the internet for articles about the person I care for... And was very worried.

But I can feel and see myself in this situation. Trapped and accused and also very shure I did nothing wong and still being targeted.

The words stupid people and missing empathy are running around in my head in circles. It is a hard circle to break, to breath and to believe again. I would be very angry still.

And I admire someone whos is able to break it and going into the new year with new hope!


Jan said...

Dave you definately have my support and empathy. This woman needs an extensive course in customer relations and should really be in another line of business where she does not come in contact with people. Maybe cleaning septic tanks where she can deal in the filth that she seems to see all around her.
Hugs to you and I hope you can put this to rest, but I know this will be difficult.

Moose said...

I'm so sorry this happened.

What she did was outrageous. It crossed every line in the book (in quite a few books) when she talked to Joe about you, as if you weren't even a person to be dealt with directly. You're enough of a person to be accused but when it turns out to be a false accusation, you're not enough to get an apology.

That's demeaning and belittling and just downright disturbing. I'm so sorry this happened to you, and I hope the corporation understands how poorly this type of behavior looks on them.

Anonymous said...

And by the way; I am glad to read a comment from Andrea S. again :-)

Josiah said...

I'm sorry.

It was wrong.

I hope you are ok, and that this year is everything you want it to be.

Belly (Liz McLennan) said...

Well, damn, Dave. I'm so sorry to read this, know that you're struggling with it.

Sending healing thoughts and love.

Flemisa said...

You know the person you are. You know your history and reason behind your thinking. Only you can fully understand your hurt and pain. And only you can control that reaction and how you process it.
My support and encouragement to deal with it in a way that leaves you stronger and proud of what you have done.
And we can all learn from it.

Anonymous said...

some things and some days just suck...I absolutely understand how the thing that was really off the wall and undeserved just live in your head and will not go away. The feeling just inhabits you and your body and gets bigger and bigger until it you think that it bigger than you and it might just explode. I hate that it takes so long for the bad to remove itself from your head - yet all the good just runs away from you so that all you feel is the bad. And that bad thing just keeps growing. Good luck with battling back the bad and finding the good.
Jamie Lynn

Ceeej said...

Reprehensible is a good description. So sorry this happened. I completely understand your initial reaction of assuming you were in the wrong - I tend to jump to the same conclusion.

You have as much comfort and support as words on a screen can provide - I'm very sorry this happened to you AND in your favorite season. Just so wrong.

I'm glad you don't want any advice because I have none to give! There's no answer/magic eraser for this hurt to your heart. Time and love alone will cure all.

Best & warmest thoughts to you and Joe.

AkMom said...

You have my support, Dave.
All of your responses match how I would have felt except I would have cried.
Being trapped and looked down upon would have sent me into (what I now know is) a panic attack.

It is big. It's huge. I do hope you are able to put it "in a separate file" and feel relief from the anger that is justified.

Do let us know if you get response from the higher ups.

I hope you and Joe and the family have a happy New Year, free from such disrespect.

Anonymous said...

That's terrible and wrong, I'm so sorry something like this happened to you. I can see way it's being hard for you to deal with it, it would be difficult for anyone to go through this. There is no justification for what happened, you have my support.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What you when through was HORRIBLE, Dave, and there is no minimizing it. To be cornered and publicly branded as a thief is unthinkable. And then for her to not acknowledge her viciousness and not to give the loud and public apology you deserved, well, I can understand why this still shakes you.

I think that woman could use a good dose of public humiliation and shaming of her own. I would not be as kind as you and ask others not to visit their wrath upon her in kind for your awful treatment. Frankly, were I you, I'd name the store, name the woman, and call upon my faithful readers to visit her and tell her EXACTLY why they will never, ever patronize her store.

But then, I am not you. And I think that's a very good thing. I'm sorry this happened to you, and you have my full sympathies.


Liz Miller said...

Sending my love, my support, and my hugs (if they would help).


Anonymous said...

I’m so sorry this happened to you. Wishing you peace and recovery.

kmilyun said...

Peace, Love, and Joy

CapriUni said...

Dave --

I admire your decision to try and drop this wrong and this hurt done to you with the rest of 2012's trash.

I give my sincere wish that something good, of even greater magnitude: wonderful and beautiful and kind, fills in its space in 2013.

Anonymous said...

What a awful thing to happen to you Dave!
I'm glad you have taken action with the shop owner.
I feel the same way about my Integrity.....Its not for sale and is very important to me!
I want you to know that I support your action.
Thanks for sharing with us what it was that upset you so much! I was worry about you!
Praying you get your inner peace back soon.
Love to you and Joe.
LinMac (Linda in Dublin)

Anonymous said...

Dave I posted anonymously to your original comment something like I was struggling too about something. Someone sent me something on fb so I will send it to you. Not often I quote the Dali Lama "Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace."

Easier said than done I suspect for all of us but worth aiming towards.

I know how I would feel if this happened to me - awful. I know how I feel as I am currently in a situation where I am being bullied. You - me -we all are worth more than that but it is hard to "switch off" our reactions.

Hope that in the next few days you are able to get your "inner peace" back. Good luck and best wishes for 2013 x

Kristine said...

Thank you for trusting our large-but-small community here enough to share. And count me among those willing to give support always! I'm so very sorry that it happened, and that it hurt. (And, in the general present tense, that it happens, and that it hurts.) So jaw-droppingly over-the-line, and it sounds like the apology and aftermath were jaw-droppingly insufficient. I hope that I never make another person feel like they made you feel. Inexcusably terrible.

I'm glad you're acting on this, and I'm glad that you do so according to your own conscience. It's not about external pressure, one way or another. I appreciate that you live very true to yourself--honoring your own feelings, giving yourself space when needed, speaking up when you feel it, refraining when you don't. I appreciate the candor with which you share your experiences.

Suddenly, I'm tasting some very bitter irony in the accusation of dishonesty against one of the most truthful people I know....

Anonymous said...

Holy cats, what a BULLY that woman is! And I bet she knew exactly what she was doing, blocking you in; it's a little hard to miss that you're towering over someone preventing them from moving. I bet that's why she did it -- because she *could* physically intimidate you. What a coward!

I'd be a little spot of candle grease after being treated like that; weeping, quivering jelly. With suicidal ideation, not kidding. I'm glad you were able to tell us about it. I'm glad you were able to write a letter of complaint. I think you deserve loud, public vindication; I also wonder, though, if your reputation is as fragile as you think. If I saw someone behaving as that woman did, I'd be damn clear that she was the unreasonable one. She sounds like poison.

And thank you, again, for beautifully bearing the banner of honor and integrity. Yes, you do. Yes, in this very incident.

Purpletta said...

How horrific! Hurtful, cruel. I am so very sorry you have had to go through this. This cheese lady is fortunate you are the person you are, for the way you have handled it is an example for all of us.
Thoughts and prayers are with you as you work through this. Thank you for being the light you are, for sharing with us, for sharing the YOU you truly are...
We are here in great number if we can do anything at all to help --
Know that you are cared about and greatly respected --

Tricia said...

I am so very sorry that happened to you and you absolutely have my support.

Maggie said...

I wish I did have some notion of how such an awful thing could be handled "better" -- by which I mean, with less pain for YOU.

If I did have such a notion, I could at least feel virtuous for not sharing it.

But instead I'm just horrified on your behalf. What a wretched thing for her to do -- and to someone who is himself so scrupulously honest, fair-minded and giving.

Sending plenty of love and light your way, hoping that they help.

Anonymous said...

I was hyperventilating reading this story. I've been in similar circumstances. It's awful. It's humiliating. It's wrong.

Congratulations on your ability to see a way to leave this amoral interaction behind.

I wish you and Joe the best, and here in Wisconsin we know some things about cheese, if you're needing it.

Beth said...

Ugh! "I am the owner." *shudder* How horrible! And that she evidently preferred to talk to anyone but you, too!

Funny-ish related anecdote: So far, I've been accused of theft (in this case, ugly glares and being asked to show my receipt) only once. (I was out alone, so the person hadn't the option to talk to someone else after they began.) What did the person think I was stealing? Two huge pillows during a pillow sale. True, the pillows weren't in bags, that because the store didn't have any big enough. Plenty of other people exited, pillows (and occasionally other items) in carts, but me in a wheelchair with pillows on my lap, I must be hiding something, though clearly not the pillows. I laughed before producing my receipt. If you're gonna steal something, obviously you want it to be huge and inexpensive. :-P

@Cindy B.: I've actually gone back to correct the error. I didn't end up on any list, but the people at the store know me. Still, I can't imagine anyone would end up barred for insisting on giving them money.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Thank you all so much for your comments. This is exactly what I needed. I needed to hear that what I was feeling was justified and that the trauma was serious. I kept telling myself that I was weak because I couldn't shake it. In fact the feelings that rose in me were very dark and they scared me. Your comments have been a huge help. I can't tell you what it means to have had this happen here today. I've always said that I've got a terrific blog community here and for that I'm grateful.

CT said...

Dave, without doubt your reaction was justified. When someone comes out of the blue with an accusation like that, quite literally vibrating with anger, and *physically pinning you in place,* it is a concerted and deliberate assault.

What it does is shake your very core sense of self, the most private and intimate sense of security you have. Your sense of self. That's hard enough when you are alone or have private supports to turn to, like Joe. When you are alone and in public, it is cruel and deliberately shaming. To have to stutter through the disorientation would have been horrible.

It strikes me that this is what you fight the good fight against for people with intellectual disabilities -- those whose sense of self and view of the world s continually challenged for accuracy and believability, just as a matter of course. You fight, Dave, daily to arm people against situations like what you just experienced, to help them find and strengthen that sense of self and voice in advance.

What a horrible experience for anyone. How powerful a way to address it. I only wish you and others didn't go through it. We are all at risk for that kind of assault, just some moreso than others.

Louna said...

How awful! I hope you are able to find some closure, and that the letter to the higher-ups brings a satisfying result.

jayne Knight said...

I am speechless which is a first for me.
You are one hell of a man. You know what you will do but I will not stop thinking of that image of you made to feel so frightened with that crowd so willing to judge and not help. I think maybe there were some too shocked to help, I hope.
All the support in the world to you.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

You have my support 100%.


clairesmum said...

Just catching up on reading blogs. this just stinks, and is definitely not fair - tho we know life is not fair, events like this are visceral, reaching and staying in our spirits not our brains.
want to add my voice in support, and comfort.
for me EMDR has been helpful in changing my responses in situations that affect me in that "powerless, shame-shaking terrified child' way. Having disconnected some of the old stuff from my 'real adult' I usually have a little more time(couple of minutes, anyway) to think/respond before the shame hijacks my brain and body. do what works for you, hoping for more peace for you and joe in the coming year.

Alice Fraggle said...

I'm sorry that you were attacked like that. It's about all I can say - but I am truly sorry that you were attacked - it should never have happened so publicly or forcefully. I do hope that the store follows up with you on your complaint as it was quite a big deal.
Sending hugs to you. I hope that writing this post will help you leave it behind, and that you can enjoy the start of the New Year without it needling away at you.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that this happened to you!! It was really a huge deal!!

My integrity was once questioned in front of just one other person. The other person happened to know me well enough and correctly identified the accuser as a bully, so the accusations weren't taken seriously for even one second. But I still remember how small and inadequate the whole incident made me feel! It really shook me up.

I hope you soon find peace again. I'm sending prayers, hugs and warm wishes yor way....

Debbie (NJ)

P.S. I don't tell you this enough -- I love reading your blog every day. I always get so much out of it. Thank you so much for continuing to write it!!!

Rachel in Idaho said...

Good Lord, Dave, of course you're upset! How horrid!

I just don't have more words, at least not words I will post here. Support you got. Lots of it.

Kimberly said...

You are absolutely justified in every one of your feelings. I am so angry that this happened to you, a man who advocates for kindness and fairness and respect for everyone. I am so very sorry this happened...

Jeannette said...

And you have my support indeed.
I had something similar -- but MUCH smaller -- happen to me several years ago, and it still comes back to haunt me now and then.
Blessings, Dave. May you shed this as the clock strikes twelve for a new year.

wendy said...


I could feel your absolute horror at being accused all the way from here. I am unbelievably sorry this happened to you. They had no assume, to follow you, to intimidate you, to insult your good name...none of it. It is especially shocking because this is a store where you are well known and where your shopping routine is well established.

Then I am shocked and angered that she would apologize to JOE! He wasn't the one she humilated in a public place 2 minutes before.

I hope your complaint goes to the top and is dealt with appropriately, though I can't say I know exactly what that would look like!

I'm just so sorry.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I'm so sorry this happened to you. No wonder you are upset. I hope that posting about it does help you leave it behind.

Anonymous said...

It's cool that you try to be seen as a 'straight up kind of guy" and show people how good life can be.
But I'm learning the futility of 'showing' people anything. You can never control or I dare say, even influence what others think.
In spite of my advanced degree etc., some people will never see me as able because I have a disability. I could build a rocket ship and fly myself to the moon. They wouldn't be phased. These people don't react to me, but their idea of me.
Same with the cheese lady. It wasn't about you - it was about her and what she chose to see.

Laura said...

I had this happen to me in a store I regularly frequent. It was AWFUl. The difference was that for me the manager who knew me well stepped in and told the cashier who was harassing me about something similar and had told me he was going to call police in nature that I was good customer and she was sure I wouldn't have stolen anything. But I felt very much like you did even though I did get the apology. It took me a long time to go back and a long time to go back. When I returned after some months that cashier was not there and I never saw him again, I am so sorry that thus happened to you. As I was reading I could feel my on anxiety rising because to some extent I remember feeling like you did. Try not to let that one person sour you on going out or going about your business just say you always have

Anonymous said...

Justified....ohhh you bet!!!The more I read the angier I got...was even holding my breath. Holy, what happened to innocent until proven guilty. This womon should NOT be working with the public, what an awful way to handle a situation. I am very sorry this happened to you Dave, and do hope that sometime, some way, you are able in even a small way be able to make peace which such a horrific situation. Such an awful thing to happen to such a wonderful being. Supported 100%!!!!

Princeton Posse said...

Wow Dave, 56 responses! This speaks to a deep seated fear I have that I of being falsely accused. I've had nightmares about it!