What goes around, comes around…

What goes around, comes around…

Something happened to me last week here in Melbourne, Australia that had me so enraged, I banged out an angry email to my close friends and vented on Twitter in total frustration.

On my third day in Melbourne, I went to the grocery store to pick up few things. Standing at the back of line only three people deep, an employee opened up a new checkout and waved me over to him. I put my three items down on the counter and no more than 5 seconds after putting them down, a middle-aged couple rush up behind me and the woman pushes my things forward and huffs, “move it up! Move it up!”

I think her instructions were directed at me and also at the cashier who didn’t make any motion to move up the conveyer belt and make room for her items. Then her equally leathery-skinned partner takes his basket and DUMPS them on the (still unmoving) belt on top of my items. He’s also shouting, “move it up!”

Irritated by their extreme rudeness I say, “excuse me, I JUST put my things down and you weren’t behind me. If you give me a moment I could have moved them.” There was no rationalizing with this barbaric couple, the man shouts, “get it out of my way! Move it up! I don’t know how you do it in YOUR country but that’s how we do it here.”

At first I assumed the dig at “YOUR country” was because they assumed I was American due to my accent. Later I realized it probably meant whatever Asian country they believed I was from. Those words lit a fire inside me. I said to the cashier (quite loudly and with surprise) “My goodness! I thought Australians were polite! What a shocker!”

The poor cashier hid a smile and looked at me almost apologetically.  The woman saw the smile and that we were looking at each other and shouts, what’s this? What’s this thing you two have?” Waving her crooked finger between myself and the young gentleman checking my groceries. “Do you think we’re funny?”

Me: “Oh, I DEFINITELY don’t think you’re funny.”

Leathery woman: “Well I think you’re funny! Ha! (beat) Ha!”

Leathery man: “It’s because we’re not the same colour as them they think they can do those things.”

Whoa! Leather Man…you hit a nerve. I should mention that the young kid working there was perhaps 19 or 20 and dark skinned though I am not sure of his ethnicity.

I was so shocked and angry my skin was actually tingling. I smiled at them, I smiled at the poor guy at the checkout and thanked him when he handed me my change. It was then that he spoke shyly, “I really hope you enjoy the rest of your day.”

My reply, “I hope your day gets a LOT better.” I walked away as Leather Man and Leather Woman kept grumbling and taunting but by this time I had tuned them out. I felt badly that I could walk away and that poor kid had to stay there and listen to them ranting.

Fast forward a week and a half later, I am back at the grocery store today and an employee comes by to collect the empty baskets and smiles at me. I didn’t recognize him at first and then he said, “that was crazy last week.”

I felt like I was seeing a long lost friend and told him how ridiculous it was and how I felt bad that I could walk away but he was stuck with them. He said that when I left he REFUSED to serve them. I wanted to hug this kid. They kept nattering on about people in “their country” when I left and he said he wouldn’t serve them.

“Did you send them to another line?” I asked. I was really excited at this point.

Said the young employee (his name is Gill – he was wearing a nametag) “it’s racial assault. We can refuse to serve them.” Yes, verbal assault…I was so proud of him when he was so quiet and shy at the time.

“They were told to leave the store and they’re banned from shopping here again.”

Sweeeeeeeeet karma, friends. Sweet karma.

If I didn’t fear it being perceived as physical assault, I would have hugged dear, young Gill. I told him I believed they assumed I was American when in fact, I’m from Canada.  Gill says his aunt lives in Canada and keeps telling him to move there because they are very accepting people.

“Is it a nice country?” Gill asked me.

“Yes, it is a very nice country. Where does your aunt live?”

“Winnipeg.”

I laughed what probably sounded like a crazy-lady laugh. Small world.

Just then I notice that my groceries are rung in and bagged and I see that I am $3.15 short. I only had $2o on me and asked the cashier to take out an item when Gill hands her a bill to cover my $3.15 despite my refusal and protest.

Tomorrow, I am going back to the grocery store with an envelope containing $5 and a thank-you note along with my email address should Gill want some help if he ever makes the move half way around the world to a new country.

What goes around, comes around, my friends.

 

 

 

35 comments

  1. Nicole H
    January 31, 2012

    What a great story. Good for you for standing up to them. And good for Gill for refusing to serve them! If he does decide to come to Winnipeg he will have so many friends here :)

  2. Megan Batchelor
    January 31, 2012

    Give him my email too if he comes to Winnipeg!!

  3. jpinese
    January 31, 2012

    Very nice story!!! What a bunch of jerks, but in the end good beats evil, and the universe is at peace. Lol.

  4. RebTee
    January 31, 2012

    This was the BEST story to read first thing in the morning. If Gil ever writes you, please tell him he’s got a fan club up here!

  5. Sandi
    January 31, 2012

    What an awesome story! I hope in that thank you note you send Gill the website address to this blog so that he can see it himself. There should be more people in this world like him! And more people like you too! “Pay”ing it forward!!

  6. MK
    January 31, 2012

    I’m saddened and shocked by this! Unreal!

    I know how much you would have wanted to punch them both in the face, nice restraint. :)

    … I’m curious to know about how that policy came to be at that store though… is it a regular thing happening there or did the young man just take it upon him self to refuse?

  7. Brandi
    January 31, 2012

    Wow what a story! I am so proud of you for being the bigger person and Gill for standing up for both of you. Shame on that couple!!

  8. Nat Lauzon
    January 31, 2012

    BEST.STORY.EVER. I love this – it gave me goosebumps! GO GILL, GO!!!! Really proud of you all ’round for standing up for yourselves – but bigger than that – OTHERS! yay!!!!

  9. sandy
    January 31, 2012

    what a truly great person you met with. I believe you made a significant impact on an already fine young man. Gil would be a most welcome addition to Winnipeg/Manitoba. Hope he comes here for a visit at least!!

  10. Mama Annie
    January 31, 2012

    Pay,
    Our family has enjoyed your talent from Treehouse to BT Winnipeg. Let me tell you a story of my childhood.

    I grew up in Grand Rapids Man. Till i was 9 yrs of age. First i should tell you i was adopted to a very whte blond blue eyed family. I was the opposite dark hair br eyes dr skin Spanish. In grand Rapids I was loved our family was accepted then 1989 came around and we moved to Dufresne Mb and schooled in Lorette MB. a very caucasian community. Well I was spit on chased to the bus and at one point raped. And the one thing that bugged me was i was called a Squaw a dirty Squaw. I went home one day crying and my mom asked whats wrong i said “whats a squaw mommy” with a shocked face she said a female native like in Grand Rapids.

    Funny thing living up north in a town with a reserve i never heard the word ‘SQUAW’ not till I moved to a a small town in south Manitoba ??
    Well im 31 now and i recently seen a few of my bullys who didnt recognize me what so ever well when i told them who i was and i told them what had happened NONE of them seemed to remember the lil brown girl they spit on and chased and taunted. I hope to never see these ppl again and do believe in Karma even if i dont see the Karma !!
    Sorry this happened to you Pay. you are beautiful and talented xoxo Miss you in the ‘peg

    • paychen
      February 1, 2012

      Mama Annie, I have always appreciated your comments to me on FB and knew very little about you and your past. What terrible things you’ve experienced. Glad to see you were able to rise above it all. Thank you for sharing your story. xo

  11. Lenito
    January 31, 2012

    Wow Pay day – look at you! Attacking Leather face and his wife! I actually feel sorry for closed minded stupidity like that. Am proud a fellow Canadian showed Class and Grace, Way to represent Pay Day and thanks for sharing!!

  12. Elaina @ Flavour
    February 1, 2012

    Oh my goodness Pay, what an incredible story! Good for you and even better for Gill to have stood up to that leathery old couple…. Those comments were completely uncalled for and I sometimes wonder what has angered people that much to say such things…let along to strangers…in PUBLIC! Bloody hell…

    Hope you’re meeting some nicer Auzzies along the way.

    xo

  13. Chris D.
    February 1, 2012

    Glad to hear the story has a happy ending. And wow, talk about a small world!

  14. Rick Parsons
    February 1, 2012

    Right on Pay excellent story miss seeing your smiling face everymorning on my tv

  15. SlypigJeff
    February 1, 2012

    What a great story! I, as I’m sure you do, wish I could have been there when Gill refused to serve them. He sounds like a great addition for Canada. I hope he reads this post.

  16. Cindy
    February 1, 2012

    As a former winnipeg paychen please give it a rest on your little problems. We had a husband in winnipeg who lost his whole family in a fire. Thats a concern and something to bitch about. Not some problem at a check out counter. Please think when you twitter on your little problems. Get in the real world paychen and get out of your fake one.

    • paychen
      February 1, 2012

      Cindy, nowhere in my blog do I discuss the size or importance of any issue or problem. Nowhere do I compare it to any other issue or suffering of any person. This is a blog where I share stories that I have experienced. There is much suffering in this world and never have I made it a point to itemize the level of pain experienced by people. I appreciate you using your time to point out what is worth bitching about. I hope you set all of Winnipeg straight that they should not bitch about other things.

      • Destinee from Winnipeg
        February 1, 2012

        Yes I agree with pay and might I add that if your not interested In pays lil storys then font read them sure if pay were here back home In Wpg she would share her heartfelt feelings about that situation

      • Cindy
        February 1, 2012

        Paychen sometime blogging is taken too seriously and that was my point. There is a fake social media world and then the real world.

    • Leanne
      February 1, 2012

      you know who we should be bitching about, Cindy? you.
      the fact that you would discount someone’s experience in favour of your own which, really, happens every day – people are born and people die and people deal with it, but it’s fact of life and can’t be changed.
      Pay’s story, however, exemplifies racism and general disrespect for your fellow human being (kind of like you’re doing right now, Cindy), a situation that can be changed, and by her bringing the situation to light, she’s causing people around the world that are reading this to sit up and take notice and, perhaps, change their mentality.
      It’s people like you that think YOUR life, which is probably so gosh-darn charmed since, seemingly, the only issue that you have is creating proper sentence structure, is more relevant and important than that of others.
      Welcome to the world of social media, where people share their stories and experiences and if you don’t like it, do the sensible world a favour and shut down your computer for good.

    • Action
      February 1, 2012

      Wow Cindy that is quite the response, good job! (Note the sarcastica font) Racism in any form is abhorrent and it is good to know that there are people in this world who can not only stand up for themselves but are willing to stand up to others and their bullying tactics.

      The gentleman who lost his family is indeed a sad story; however it is not something to “bitch” about [Sic]. Why? Because it is not something that was set deliberately it was an unfortunate accident. The racist attitudes that the couple in Pay’s story is not an accident, it is disgraceful, disgusting, and many other expletives I shall be nice enough to not utter.

      Frankly your reply is almost as equally disgraceful, no where is racism a “little problem” I would suggest that you take your own advice.

  17. Destinee from Winnipeg
    February 1, 2012

    I wanted to cry 😉 for some reason!! Great story and just let me say that breakfast television isn’t the same without you FOR REAL we miss you out here do you remember me you gave me destinee and Rene a shout out live on bt via facebook message and we had a baby girl named Avrie Renee newho keep enjoying your stay there and stay safe 😉 much luv destinee

    • paychen
      February 1, 2012

      Hi Destinee, yes I do remember you and saying “hello” to you on BT! Congrats on your baby girl. I wish your family much love and good health. xo

  18. Dee Brun
    February 1, 2012

    Sweet baby Jesus pass me a fosters…luv that kid…and you…good on ya for writing about it…
    I deal with racism through my 2 oldest children. they are Chinese Jamaican …
    I can’t count how many times I get asked ” where are they from” or ” where did u get them” I promptly answer…lfrom my Vagina…

    My fave is ” what bread are they”… This seems to be a fave of senior citizens…again I use humor and say Cocakpoo….

    Race aside for a moment from all this…I BLOODY WELL HATE RUTE ASS

    Keep your beautiful Asian …Canadian ….Winnipegian….Torontonian…head high and voice LOUD…

    There is nothing to be gained in arguing with ignorance…and those people embodied ignorance on so many levels…

    Cheers!!!

    Dee Brun

  19. Nat Lauzon
    February 1, 2012

    Cindy. Get a life. Your inability to see that the ‘problem at the checkout counter’ is representative of the bigger problem of racial hatred is very sad. Grow the hell up.

  20. Marina
    February 1, 2012

    Love this Pay, and how you handled it. Gill is a very mature and brave young man!

  21. Barb Yuel
    February 1, 2012

    Wow…Proud of Pay and Gil..can’t believe this happened Pay…Dee.. you expressed it perfectly..Ignorance….so sad.
    Loved this story..glad it had a happy ending…but food for thought…
    Miss you Pay! :)

  22. Cindy
    February 1, 2012

    Oh my goodness talk about a bunch of haters here. The fact a person says something you dont like , Do we need to yell racism all the time. Paychen you should know better. Remember a while back paychen when you claimed people of your nationality all look the same. Would that not be racism. Or is that okay because ,its okay to bash your own race. But dont worry ,paychen is the only one who has ever endured bs at a checkout counter. I wont be letting my child watch that dam treehouse show foursquare ever again.

    • paychen
      February 2, 2012

      Dear Cindy,
      I left your comment up because you have every right to express your opinions however I am making things clear: you seem able to read things into words that are not written. Nowhere did I say I was the only one who endured any BS at a checkout counter. You seemed to completely miss that I was writing about how proud I was of a well-brought up young man who knew what was being said to him was wrong and stood up for himself. No one deserves to be assaulted verbally like that. It is very much like bullying. I am sure that is a lesson you would want to teach your child; to speak up if they are ever spoken down to. You may notice from most of the comments that people were applauding the actions of this young man, yet you are diminishing them because you have a personal dislike for me.
      Also, you don’t need to write under another name like “Suzanne”. Since you’re so curious, I paid off my student loans 10 years ago.
      I do enjoy that you give yourself various personalities in the fake social media world you seem to be so tired of.

  23. Nat Lauzon
    February 1, 2012

    Cindy tell me: which part of “we’re not the same colour as them” negate a racial statement? Yeah, that doesn’t smack of anything discriminatory.

    The only hater on this thread, is you.

    As far as I’ve seen – Pay not only KEPT your comment up on her personal blog – and let you speak your mind, she also responded to you with respect and tact – which is more than most would have done, frankly.

    I hope the time and energy you exert boycotting kids’ shows from your living room is just as personally enriching for you.

    • Johanne S.
      February 1, 2012

      Amen.

  24. Cindy
    February 6, 2012

    Hi Paychen i havent been on this blog for days and i see many people were mad at me including yourself. I want to say i am very sorry if i offended you or hurt you in any way. So please accept my sincere apology. I also want to say to all your followers here, i apologize to all of you. I have thought about it for days how a person like you who has never harmed anyone shouldnt be treated in that kind of manner. The day i was so rude to you it shouldnt have happened. I was very mad and upset about my father being told he had less then a year to live. I was so upset and just took it out on anyone, which was you. Paychen once again im so sorry.

    • paychen
      February 6, 2012

      HI Cindy,
      Apology accepted and very much appreciated. Public words can be viewed by many and interpreted in just as many ways. I’m sorry to hear about your father and hope you get to spend some quality time with him.

  25. Sheryl
    May 1, 2012

    Hi Pay, Just came across your blog through Twitter. Fascinating account of your experience in Australia! I didn’t think there would be such a “culture shock” for some people who live Down Under given that there are so many ethnicities there. Reminds me of a poem…

    Nasty Nora, slams the Door-a
    Stomps her foot upon the floor-a
    I can’t handle too much more-a
    Nasty, Nasty Nora

    Did you ask her if her name was Nora 😉

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