You hear about these rants on the news. Angry airline passenger screams and carries on about wearing a mask. “Karen” loses it in supermarket. Man Lights Himself on Fire After New Year’s Rant Against Vaccine Mandates, according to Newsweek magazine.
How many of you have actually personally witnessed one of these crazy rants? Until yesterday, I was among the innocent who couldn’t quite believe that this can actually happen in polite society while checking out in Walmart. Call me naïve (it might have to do with not owning a TV) but it’s a little scary to come face-to-face with an angry self-rightous zealot preaching his irate truth while we shopped for Ziplock bags, smoked salmon and purple cabbage.
Twas the Monday after New Year’s weekend. We had traveled 45 miles north to Houghton to purchase sauerkraut, aluminum foil and bananas. Like a hundred other shoppers in Walmart we were minding our own business, perusing the Duracell alkaline batteries before heading to self-checkout when a long bearded customer began to shout, stopping many of us in our startled tracks.
“I WILL WAIT FOR FOUR HOURS IF NEED BE IN THIS LINE!” he bellowed. He waved his arms toward the self-service checkout line. “I WILL NOT GO THROUGH SELF-CHECKOUT!”
He continued to rant loudly about $12.50/hour Walmart employees, but I couldn’t follow his reasoning.
“CHANGE THE CHANNEL!” he hollered. “STOP WATCHING ALL THE FAKE NEWS!”
“YEP, JUST KEEP WEARING YOUR MASKS!” he fumed at the top of his lungs, spewing germs everywhere.
A nearby Walmart employee shrank down a little bit.
“Have you seen this kind of behavior before?” I asked.
“Welcome to our world,” she sighed sadly. “I just want to get out of here…”
“WHEN JOHN THE BAPTIST WENT UP ON THE MOUNT HE DIDN’T WHISPER!” the shouting fellow continued.
An agitated mask-wearing woman next to us in auto-checkout shouted furiously back at him, “WILL YOU SHUT UP?”
My heart pounded. My breath grew shallow. Two things happened almost concurrently. My mind flew to worst-case scenarios. The world is going to hell in a handbasket. The crazies are going to take over the world. There will be shooting and violence before this is over.
Fear threatened to overcome. I don’t want to live in a world like this. I am so scared. I hate out-of-control people. I hate him. I hate anyone like him.
Simultaneously something very calm and peaceful filled my heart. It became crystal clear in that instant that responding in anger or fear was not the answer. Those energies would just accelerate the angry vibe. What might tip the scales toward resolution, peace, healing? I had no intention of approaching the angry guy–but spiritual intervention might ease the situation.
I silently blessed our angry shouter. Please fill his heart with love instead of annoyance. Help him connect to his goodness, not his fear. Bless you, oh Walmart aggrieved. May your spirit heal with light and love. (And later I remembered to bless my own inner fear, hatred and upset. Bless you. May you heal. May you remember the love, Kathy.)
The shouting ceased. A Walmart employee accompanied him toward the door.
We continued to run our items through the self checkout. Avocado, bouillon, beer, mustard.
Our fellow shoppers and Walmart employees had plenty to say.
We heard no one supporting the ranter’s message.
“Well, it takes all kinds to make the world go round!” announced a fellow in the Walmart return line.
“You think he was bad?” we heard a woman ask her companions. “I get worse than that at home from my husband!
“Soon to be ex-husband,” she added darkly.
A very strange day indeed. Bless us all when events like these make us wonder where kindness and empathy has gone in our world. May the spark of healing shine in even the darkest and most angry rants. (And we continued into our day to meet with unexpected love and caring as every new door opened, reminding us that affection and goodwill are really alive and well in so many hearts. We can’t let the crazies get us down, dampen our spirits, make us forget the love.)
Have any of you readers personally witnessed anything like this outside of the news?