My father once told me that I should always respect people no matter what they look like, how they act, or how they speak. It doesn’t matter if their younger, older, or family, I am always supposed to be respectful to everyone even if they aren’t respectful to me. One specific thing that he always likes to remind me of is, “If you treat people the way you want to be treated then they will treat you they same way.” When I was younger, I never really understood the meaning behind this. I was always taught to be respectful, and people were almost always kind back, so I didn’t understand why everyone was so surprised when I made a nice remark or gesture.
But recently, I began to realize how cruel the world can truly be.
About a month ago, I saw a video online of a women that was buying some products at a gas station being served by a Muslim cashier. She seemed to be uncomfortable based on his religion, but instead of just ignoring it, buying her things, and leaving she decided to make a scene. “You Muslims need to get out of my country. You try to blow us up and kill our people. Well, guess what? We’re going to do the same to you!” she screamed. After she calmed down, the cashier politely asked if she could leave the store quietly, but before he could finish, she began to violently attack and grab him. Other people soon began to interfere in efforts to calm her down, and she later left the store. I have always been a strong believer that no one should ever get tormented based on their race, gender, religion, or sexuality and seeing this video broke my heart. Just because their religion was known to do bad things around the world doesn't mean that they are bad. This video added on to my belief that everyone is the same no matter what race or religion.
A personal experience that I have encountered this kind of behavior was a few weeks ago at school. I was at lunch when I overheard an 8th grader behind me ridicule a foreign exchange student. I began to feel really bad for the poor student who was just trying to buy her food, but I also felt angry at the other student who was being rude for no apparent reason. Part of me was tempted to turn around and say something about how what the eighth grader was doing was mean, but the other part decided not to because I didn’t want to get involved and make a mountain out of molehill. When I turned and saw the expression on her face, I could almost feel the pain of what that comment had enforced on her just by looking into her eyes.
I began to feel really upset knowing I could have done something to help her but had decided to become a bystander. Looking back on it, some people don’t realize how one little action can affect someone’s entire point-of-view. Both my and the other student’s actions that day negatively impacted that student’s life, possibly without either of us even realizing it. What I took away from these experiences is that not everyone’s life is a happy place filled with rainbows and unicorns. Some’s lives are like a dark loop hole that seems to drag on forever and ever, and when people say rude and unnecessary comments like the lady and the 8th grader they’re throwing another pitch into this person’s life, without knowing.