Monday, April 28, 2008


I was half asleep coming home on a train with one of my best friends Saturday night. We were in NYC at a goodbye celebration for another friend who’s moving to CA. It was now late and we were on the last train out of the city.

I could hear the group of young people who were seated near us. One of the girls and her boyfriend were relishing in a public display in the form of an argument. At first the girl was being cute with her insults toward him. I think she was trying to get a charge out of the people sitting around her more than she was from him. I could tell she liked the attention she was drawing.

I felt myself sinking in my seat as I started to fall asleep from the rocking motion of the homebound train when I could hear the loud, arguing girl try to “out cute” herself in her insults directed at her boyfriend.
“You have AIDS” she said to him over and over. A comment like this alone is harsh and ugly. Suddenly and to my surprise, my friend literally leaped from his seat and confronted the pair. Outraged he protested the exchange of insults. He told them they were way out of line with their comments and to stop. Now you have to know my friend to really appreciate this. He’s a schoolteacher that has a pretty cool demeanor.

The girl had a look of total shame. Her boyfriend, trying to save face told my friend to sit down. My friend stood his ground and again told them, in his most intimidating “schoolteacher voice” that their comments were out of line and unacceptable. You could suddenly hear a pin drop on the crowded car.

My friend’s point couldn’t be argued with. This was one of those moments when someone took a stand and spoke out against something they believed wasn’t right. He refused ti sit idle as these ugly comments were being made. He later told me that he shocked himself. He said he couldn't sit quietly anymore and listen to the thoughtless comments. It also showed that you never know who’s around you in public and how your comments could offend and even hurt someone.

A moment later the girl approached our seats and with tears running down her face as she apologized. She said she didn’t think of how cruel her comments were. She told us that she knows someone with cancer and that she woul feel horrible if she heard people making fun of them and that she was ashamed of her actions.

As she left the train at her stop the girl looked back at us with tears still in her eyes and smiled as my friend returned the smile and blew her a kiss. I think at that moment we realized that this train ride may have changed this girl for the good, even if it's in a small way.

My mom always told me "You are who your friends are." Unlike the family you're born with, you choose your friends and they choose you. I believe in my heart that I have an incredible circle of friends. They’re a group of people that I’m proud to call not only friends, but my family. They are my friends because of their heart and integrity. This is one of those times where that point shines bright.


Missy said...

Thank you for this post, and thank you to your friend! I am forever biting my tongue when inappropriate comments are being made. Your story is inspriring, and I only hope that your friend confronting this girl changes her attitude, and that of anyone reading this blog as well!

I've been lurking in your blog for a couple of months now. I can't even remember how I found your blog, but I enjoy it! Keep it up!

AZZITIZZ said...

What a wonderful post and what a wonderful friend, wish I had the guts to speak up like he did, things like that should happen more often and then the world may slowly become a better place with more understanding, acceptance and patience with each other.
Well Done your friend, give him a big hug from me!!!!