I am traveling on business and was enjoying my breakfast until I became aware of one of the restaurant employees ranting about Hurricane Issac and Katrina and the people of New Orleans. Normally I roll my eyes and ignore the person until I heard this: "Those people in New Orleans...deserved to die"
I am still furious and teary-eyed that anyone, anyone, could be so callous, so I thought I'd share my experience with you like-minded souls hoping to calm down a bit. I was just finishing up my breakfast when I became aware of one of the restaurant employees who was going on about how all kinds of people in New Orleans were probably going to die again because they are too lazy to do anything without the government's help.
She related how Bush kept begging and begging for New Orleans to take the help of the federal government but the governor kept refusing. She said they should have gotten out of town because, "just how far can you walk in 4 days?" The thing that set me off, however, was when she said, "Those people in New Orleans refused to help themselves so they deserved to die".
I walked up to her and said, "Excuse me, but you are incredibly misguided". The conversation went like this:
"How am I misguided?"
"Firstly, you shouldn't be saying these things so loudly. I was halfway across the restaurant and heard every word. You have no idea who might be hearing you and how they feel about the situation. Secondly, how far do you think someone who is elderly or disabled or has children can walk in 4 days?"
"Well they should have tried!"
"You know, many of them did try to walk out by the only safe route and were shot at by sheriff's deputies from the next parish forcing them to go back".
"I can't believe that's true"
"Really? You live in Arizona where border vigilantes shoot at people all the time trying to cross the border. You need to find some independent news sources and start paying attention to them".
"Well, like you said, I never know who might be listening".
"Yep, might be a bleeding-heart liberal like me. By the way, we bleeding-heart liberals believe that humans have inherent dignity and deserve to live even if they are black, poor and have very few resources with which to help themselves. Thinking they deserved to die just because they couldn't run fast enough for your satisfaction is despicable".
For the longest time, I would have become enraged and left without saying anything. But, I do think that we have to start calling people on this crap when we hear it. I was never shouting, didn't call her any names, although it was tempting. I just truly amazes me that someone feels so safe spouting off such crap within hearing range of customers. I'm sure I didn't change her mind, but at least maybe she'll be more careful in the future about going off in public.
4:27 PM PT: Thank you for the recs. I have decided to make sure that both the restaurant manager and Hilton are aware of what happened today and suggest that they review applicable policies with their employees, but I am not going to identify the person. I'd really hate to be responsible for someone losing their job, even if, in this person's own thought processes, she "deserves it".