I describe the first of my two racist incidents in this post. Note that I do not use the actual nword in this post and that I would object to the use of the actual nword in any comments made in response to this post.
Incident No. 1. I was working at a convenience store in what I would characterize as a "rough working-class neighborhood" on the Saturday night in question—note that it probably does matter that it happened on a Saturday night. I was trying to help a black man return a battery charger that he had just bought. I was a bit slow. The woman next in line started haranguing him. I saw what was happening from a distance but things happened too quickly for me to prevent the subsequent outcomes from occurring.
I don't know exactly what she was saying to him or exactly how the black man responded to her, but I definitely did hear her using the actual nword. The video shows him putting his hands up, which I take to mean "please stop." She didn't stop. Then he said words along the lines of "please shut up." She didn’t shut up. He then started yelling back at her. He then hit her hard, closed fist, to the left side of her jaw.
She recovered fairly quickly and bolted for the door. He followed her. I believe I was trying to slow him down and keep him inside the store, but he insisted on following her outside. She went to a car and started talking to the man inside the car, who was presumably her boyfriend or spouse.
The boyfriend comes and lays the black man out, hard. His head hit the ground. There was very clear video footage of this part. The video next shows that a guy came up, who I assume was just a spectator—a small crowd was starting to form.
The black man got up, blood in his mouth, and I tried to get him back into the store. Just as the black man was almost to the store, the boyfriend came up to him again. I had to literally physically insert myself in between them, facing the black guy, and I tried to get him back into the store. The boyfriend chose not to pick a fight with me, so I was able to get the black guy back into the store.
At some point in this process, I called 911. At some point, the night guy at the store pressed the emergency button to get a police response. The cops came within a minute or two. The girl and boyfriend left, possibly before the police arrived. The black guy was up and around, disoriented.
I would add that if the black guy had actually been hit near the door of the convenience store, he would likely have hit his head on the concrete step going down and might have been killed. While I don’t know how he eventually fared given his likely concussion, I’m thankful the outcome wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
My shift was over. I talked to a female police officer when I was getting ready to leave and drive home. She basically said words to the effect that "this happens all the time" and that nothing could be done. I'm not sure that a police report was actually filed, but I’ve asked for a copy.
Someone was saying that someone should call a cab to get the black guy home. It seemed to me that that wasn't quite feasible under the circumstances, so I decided to give him a ride home myself on my way home from work. I got some cardboard on the passenger side seat for him to sit on (his body had released bodily fluids when he was hit). He told me his address and we started on our way.
He realized, however, that we had just driven by his aunt's home not far from the convenience store, so he had me turn around and stop at her house. His aunt wasn't at home so we then headed to his house. This was unfortunate as I could tell he was likely concussed, so he would have been much better off with the care of his aunt. A victim of a concussion needs to stay awake as long as possible and not lie down. His aunt could have helped keep him awake and to stay vertical or at least just sit in a chair and try to stay awake. She could have done a better job of deciding whether he should go to an ER than I was able to do under the circumstances since she had a preexisting family relationship with the black man.
So, I drove him to his home address and let him out. There are some houses in the neighborhood that I saw, but I'm not sure exactly where he lived. I just have a general idea. I'm concerned about whether and how he survived the hit from the boyfriend and the likely concussion that he suffered. If he lives alone, I'm not sure that he survived. I never found out his name.
I have nothing more to say about this incident at this time.
I do want to provide a bit of additional background information on myself. I don’t really need a job. I consider working at a convenience store to be an “encore career” of sorts, a way to keep busy, while also making some money. I started looking for a part-time soon after getting home from a three-week vacation trip to Japan in June 2019. I bought a deck of playing cards in Japan, and I found myself bored and wearing out the card deck playing solitaire. It was an expensive trip and so I thought I would find a part-time job.
I applied for two jobs on the same day, a convenience store chain and LL Bean. I ended up getting both jobs. The LLBean job was just temporary, helping them deal with the holiday rush, but I’ve stuck it out at the convenience store. I normally work at an exurban convenience store location, which has a relatively well-to-do consumer base for the most part. But, I also work occasionally at other locations, some of which have a more working-class customer base, such as the convenience store in a neighborhood that I would characterize as a “rough working-class neighborhood," where I was working on the night in question.
COVID-19 has, of course, complicated the rationale for me having a job at a convenience store, but I’ve tried to be as careful and cautious as I reasonably can under the circumstances. I’ve been vaccinated and many of the store’s customers have been vaccinated so it’s arguably quite a bit safer to work there than it was earlier in the pandemic. I’ve had two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
, which is said to be about “95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 in people who received two doses and had no evidence of being previously infected.
” It’s easy to worry about so-called black swan risks
—low-probability events that are highly unlikely to occur but that would have major consequences if they did in fact occur. I continue to try to prudently mitigate COVID-19 related risks by diligently striving to apply customer-service best practices while at work.
It keeps me busy and out and about a bit and there is a great 401K for employees over 50 like me. For employees over 50, there is a “catchup provision” that means that the company matches employee contributions at a fifty percent rate up to 60 percent of the employee’s income. I contribute 60% of my income into the 401K, with a fifty percent match by the company. Thus, for every $10,000 I put into the 401K, the company matches it with $5,000. I consider this a great bonus and a great incentive for me to keep working.
I could and probably should instead be doing volunteer work helping people to navigate the medicare process, but I’m instead focusing my volunteer efforts on helping a few older clients in managing their financial situation.
Incident No. 2. To be continued…