By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
‘Tis the season, right? Spread joy. Show kindness.
I’m afraid political candidates like Donald Trump are trumping the reason for the season. His hate-filled rants and absurd demands cannot be a good influence on our nation’s standing in the world or even on his supporters.
I have a shameful Christmas shopping story that could very well be tied into Trump’s clear racist remarks time and time again. I don’t know if the lady involved is a Trump supporter, but she clearly sees herself as “privileged.” She clearly doesn’t have the kind heart that should prevail at least during this time of the year.
She’s a real Grinch, which almost rhymes with what she really is.
This happened at a large department store where a friend’s 22-year-old daughter has a part-time job for the holiday season.
My friend’s daughter has had health issues her whole life. She still does. She watched her father battle cancer and lose the fight a few years ago. Still, she managed to graduate university with a social work degree – a profession where people help people. Really help them.
She hasn’t been in her part-time job long, and she’s still learning how to operate the registers. In the Christmas rush, the Bitc–er–Grinch, thought this smart young woman was taking too long to make an exchange. Then, as happens in our technology-dependent world, the registers crashed.
This made the Grinch even more angry. And she showed out. In front of her teenaged daughter.
To help this Grinchy woman, my friend’s daughter switched to a register in another department that was working.
“By the time a manager came to override the transaction so that you could have your $2 in cash instead of a gift card, you had gone full Hulk,” my friend said in an open letter on Facebook.
Here’s where it gets even uglier.
The Grinch “decided it would be apropos to make this young lady ring up nine more items for you, in nine separate transactions so that, in your words, ‘I will have nine different surveys to call in saying how awful you are …’ You stood there, with your teenaged daughter, continuously (metaphorically) slapping my daughter in front of a crowd of people. YOU managed to do, in nine transactions, what LIFE has not managed to do: You broke my daughter’s spirit!”
My friend said her daughter, for the first time, learned “that there really are horrible, vile people. I have had to deal with my share of them, and tried to tell her, but (she) got up every day, flashed that beautiful smile and went out to prove me wrong!”
My friend continued her open letter: “(Y)ou have taught your 16-year-old daughter one of two things: Either that salesclerks are sub-human; therefore, you don’t have to treat the with even a modicum of respect, unleashing your putrid spawn on an unsuspecting world causing people to hate you even more; OR you have shown her that you’re the worst kind of (Grinch), and she will grow to detest you. Either way, you lose.”
Of course, this haughty Grinch was absolutely wrong. And cruel. But in a country where the leading Republican presidential contender condemns all Muslims and most immigrants, in a world where vitriol and poisonous discourse have become the norm, what can we expect?
It’s sad anytime; it’s especially disgusting during a season that should represent grace and love.
Of course, we don’t know if this horrible Grinch is a Republican, but I have a guess. My friend’s young daughter won’t lose her part-time department store Christmas job; everybody witnessed the awful Grinch in action.
But let’s all try to remember: Be kind, especially to service workers during this hectic, chaotic season. And let’s reject those, like Trump, who try so hard to appeal to the very worst in us.
Trump’s example is not the one to follow. And neither is this insensitive Grinch who may have destroyed a young woman’s faith in humanity. I don’t think she did, because I know her. At the very least, she’s having an undeserved bad week.
Remember the reason for the season.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes this column every Wednesday for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected].