So this happened today at Barnes & Noble: I went to take the kids to meet the Paw Patrol characters and this nice man approached me, told me how beautiful the girls are, and conveyed a heartfelt apology for the general anti-Muslim sentiment in our society today. He had tears in his eyes and told me that it must be so hard to turn on the news, that he feels awful about the bigotry my kids might one day experience, and that as a Jewish man whose parents didn’t speak any English growing up, he personally understands what it feels like to be rejected and discriminated against. I asked if I could give him a hug (he looked like he needed one more than me, but I guess I needed one too) and he wanted to reassure me that most Americans are decent people who don’t hate people like me or believe what they hear on the news. He then told me he’s turning 90 on Friday and insisted on buying each of the kids a present as a gift for himself and so they can have something to remember him by. I told him we should just take a picture instead so I can tell them the story one day (he accepted) but insisted on buying them gifts anyway afterwards.
After the experience I told my friend Jes and we both laughed about how it sounded like one of those heartwarming Facebook stories about random acts of kindness and that it even sounded a little too on-the-nose. She suggested I share it to add to what I guess is our modern day chicken soup for the anti-racist soul. I said people will probably think my account got hacked because it’s not nearly cynical enough but here’s a picture and it happened. And if you don’t believe me, .
Oh, and happy birthday, Lenny!