It’s been a crazy couple of days moving back to Boston for school and getting settled. Apologies for my lack of posts.
Yesterday, however, I had an experience that I wanted to share, in order to set an example for others. The difference with this story as opposed to many I tell, is that it is overwhelmingly unkind. Just bear with me- I promise it serves a purpose.
On the other hand, it made me appreciate the many kind people that are around us, reminded me why kindness is so important, and gave me a very personal reminder of how a lack of kindness can really hurt a person.
My friend and I were going out for our first night back in Boston. Quick disclaimer that is relevant to the story: we are both 21.
When we got to the bar, the bouncer let my friend in ahead of me, then laughed in my face when I handed him my real, government issued North Carolina drivers license. He condescendingly said to me “Honey, just go home.”
I sometimes have some trouble in Boston using a North Carolina license, because it is a more uncommon one around here. Yet, usually they verify it under a scanner and let me right in. Never before have I been laughed at and humiliated and treated as such.
I repeatedly told the bouncer it was real, offered him other forms of ID including a Passport card to back myself up, and tried to refrain from expressing my anger. I was frustrated and, well, angry.
Then, again very condescendingly, he told me I was bothering him and that he was confiscating my license. “It’s mine now,” he said, as he put it in his back pocket, “go home.”
After witnessing what was going on, my friend walked in to get a manager. I wasn’t going to leave without my license, and let this bully of a man treat me like this and win.
After what already was an extremely infuriating sequence of events, my friend came out to talk to me and turned to head back in and continue speaking with the manager. The bouncer stopped her, after already having had let her in, and said “actually at second glance, yours looks fake too.” He didn’t let her back in and put it in his pocket alongside mine.
This man was completely taking advantage of his authority, basically violating our rights, all while spewing out sexist and rude comments because we refused to give in.
My friend and I stood out in the cold for hours, upset and angry, until we eventually were able to get a hold of a cop and get our licenses back.
I always say that there are more kind people in the world than unkind, but unfortunately this doesn’t mean the unkind ones keep to themselves. I know this wasn’t a necessarily “serious” situation, but it was a simple example of how individuals can and sometimes do abuse their authority and belittle others.
It made me feel empathy for the many people who go through situations like this on a daily basis because of their race, religion or ethnicity. It reminded me to stand up to unkindness and not to give into it. It empowered me to stand up for myself and use my voice, and to not let the humiliation and frustration win.
Most of all, it reminded me of how important kindness is. It seriously has an effect on people, even in the smallest of situations. It is so powerful. Don’t ever be the bully. Don’t ever be unkind. Unkindness is incredibly powerful, too.
*Featured image: http://www.imagesbuddy.com/img/kindness-quotes/page/40/*