Written by: Chereen
Yesterday, I had an experience I want to share with you. I was in the restroom washing my hands while employees at the mall were getting ready to start their shift.
As they did their last-minute touch ups, a lady walked into the bathroom with her 15-16 year old son. She took him into the stall quickly, as he laughed and bobbed his head.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I instinctively pay attention to people’s faces. I look up from washing my hands to find one of the girls not uttering a word but her facial expression is one of disapproval, disgust, confusion, and it was clear that she had words for the woman once she got out of the restroom with her son. The others had mixed expressions. One was smirking, another was unconcerned, and one was asking her friend what was up. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So, I spoke up. “It’s clear he has a disability and she has to help him use the restroom. Next time try to be nicer about your reaction. She has every right to take him in. She’s not doing anything wrong. He has a disability and that should be respected.
They responded surprised by me and embarrassed, and then began to “Ooh” and “Aww” at a baby passing by. They realized they had no place to act or react. The art of minding your business is quite valuable, especially in cases like this one where you have no idea what the mother goes through on a daily basis.
I realized a few things. One is that I refuse to be a bystander when a sister needs my support. Speaking those words was truly a weight off my chest. I would have resented myself had I not said anything. It’s my duty to support a sister and not let her struggle due to someone else’s inconsideration or lack of empathy. She may not have known what I said or did, and that’s absolutely okay. Because I noticed her later at the grocery store laughing and being so sweetly playful with her son. And that absolutely reaffirmed why I said what I said.
May sisterhood and brotherhood never become a lost art. We need each other far more than we realize.