Mr. Bo Jangles
July 1, 2011Tom came back to the car visibly shaken. He had just gone in to order a chicken sandwich for his mother who was sitting with me in the car. That's all. But that's not all he got. Here is the rest of the story. At the counter under the Order Here sign were four men. Two Hispanic men, Tom, and an anonymous fourth man in a green shirt. One of the two young Hispanic man got his meal; the second was told his card was invalid. His order was not processed and the two went to their table. End of their story to this point. Tom ordered his mother's chicken biscuit and asked the server what the young man in front of him had ordered. One chicken biscuit, one order of French fries, one soda. Tom asked the server to please fill the young man's order and take it over to him. The order amounted to $4.00. A random act of kindness done. End of Tom's story to this point. When Tom rounded the corner, the green shirt man spoke to him. "Did you just buy that guy's meal? Don't you know that people like THEM work the system? THEY are scamming the system and THEY don't belong here! THEY are ruining things for US and you just encouraged it. You Bleeding Hearts!" There are many times and many places when I am proud of my husband. This is the newest place. He turned to Mr. Green Shirt and said, "This man is my brother and he was hungry. I would hope someone would do the same for me; I would hope someone would do the same for you." After Mr. Green Shirt offered a few more self-righteous rants, Tom simply told him the conversation was over and walked away. Doing justice is not easy business. In fact it is pretty unsettling when we speak good to evil. It's rattling to stand in the face of wrong; it's bold to speak kindness and justice in the presence of injustice and the evil that surrounds us. But good will overcome the darkness and one voice can make a difference. Even in fast food restaurants. The awakening of social consciousness happens when we awaken to the words of Jesus when he says, "For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; thirsty and you gave me drink.." and apply the kingdom teachings to the way we live our lives. All Jesus's words are not just some tidy Sunday School-felt board lesson. They are a call to radical risk-taking love that overcomes fear and suspicion and lays down the language of hate to see the world as one in which we are only a tiny part. Dear Mr. Green Shirt, come join the movement of hope. Dance!