If you witnessed someone bullying a person with special needs, would you let them get away with it? That very situation was caught on camera at a grocery store when a customer began to bully a bagger. Wait until you see how the woman in red, in line behind the bully, reacts.
Peter, a bagger with special needs, was working at a Glen Rock, New Jersey grocery store called Kilroy’s Wonder Market when things quickly became uncomfortable for bystanders. A customer began to abuse Peter, who happens to have Down Syndrome, saying she believed the bagger with special needs was moving too slow.
Making derogatory comments towards Peter, she blasted the young man, not caring how it made him feel. Slinging verbal abuse, she called the bagger with special needs retarded and questioned why the market was even allowing him to work in the front of the store rather than keeping him in the back, where he wouldn’t be a bother to customers who were in a hurry.
To say witnesses had a strong reaction is an understatement. One woman, in particular, happened to be a school teacher, so she decided to bestow some wisdom on the critic. She was going to teach the lady in front of her a lesson in respect. After the rude customer remarked that they had entered the “slow lane” and used the derogatory term “retarded,” the fellow customer quickly spoke up.
“That isn’t the word we use anymore,” she snapped back. “I work as a teacher and I try to be sensitive to someone’s needs,” she added, imparting a lesson in compassion on the bully. “Sometimes we all need to do that,” she continued. When the bully was undeterred and continued to make condescending remarks, the teacher said, “I think we should have good manners.”
When the bully used the term “retarded” yet again, the teacher dismissed her. “Are you done so I can move on?” she asked. Then, she taught everyone watching the biggest lesson of all. Rather than just preach, she put her words into practice. Moving to the bagger’s side, she embraced him in a hug, telling him to pay the rude woman no mind.
Luckily, it was all part of a social experiment for the ABC show “What Would You Do?” with host John Quinones. The show sets out to put unsuspecting strangers in awkward situations to find out what they would do, just as the name implies. Although Peter and the bullies he encountered were actors, the reactions were definitely real. Those who spoke up weren’t acting, and the clip will quickly restore your faith in humanity.
Each and every time they were presented with the uncomfortable display, bystanders spoke up, coming to the boy’s defense. Even when they are told to mind their own business, they insisted the bully stop. “It is my business. Anytime I see anybody being discriminated against,” one fed-up customer said. “You’re mistreating this young man, and you ought to cut it out. You’re not back in here. I’m telling you.”
While the world is full of bullies, it is also filled with builders, the individuals who cheer people on and defend them from the critics who aim to destroy the self-worth and self-confidence of others. Each day, we have the choice of whether we too will be a bully or a builder, just like everyone in this clip. Hopefully, we will also decide to lift up others, inspire them, show compassion, and bring joy, building up our fellow man rather than tearing him down.