As you probably know, I am the father of four adopted children. I’m white and they are all Hispanic and, being a single dad, I have a treasure trove of stories about people staring at me and my family, making casual rude remarks, or just generally being ignorant, but there is one story that I absolutely love telling because it is, without a doubt, my favorite story.
First of all, I will say this: The majority of people who I encounter are good people who, at the very least, leave us alone and mind their own business. Anytime we have encountered anyone who’ve caused us any measure of grief, they are few and far between and come in a variety of skin colors. I’m not singling out any race, gender, or ethnicity because, in my travels and experience, ignorance comes in many forms.
So, here’s my story:
When my kids and I lived in Fort Worth, we frequented this Chinese buffet called China Star where the food was good and plentiful and is probably one of the major reasons why I became such a lard butt.
On this relatively busy evening, I was trying in vain to coral four very hungry and excited children in vain. Although I was hardly a newbie at the parenting thing, I had only been a dad for a couple of years so I was still very inexperienced with the whole fatherhood thing. As a result, I lost track of a couple of them as they made their way around the buffet tables.
As the kids didn’t seem to be causing any trouble, I decided to concentrate on making a plate for my youngest, then a little girl of only three years old. She was sitting at the table like a good girl just like she was asked as she was too young to peruse the buffet on her own.
I gathered foods that I thought a picky three year-old would eat and, out of the corner of my eye, I see my son running full speed around the buffet. Xander was about four or five and suffers from severe ADHD and hyperactivity. He’s been told not to run in stores and restaurants, but often forgets when his impulsiveness takes over.
Like a ninja, or a fat Batman, I reach out and place my hand on his shoulder, stopping his one-kid stampede.
“Hey,” I said in a normal calm tone as raising my voice causes him to freeze up and go into a panic attack, “You don’t need to run in here. You’re going to run into someone and you could hurt them. Okay, buddy?”
He nodded and said, “Okay!” and then he walked off to go see what else he wanted to eat.
I turned back around and started loading my daughter’s plate again when his elderly gentlemen standing next to me remarked, “I’m glad you said something. Those goddamn Mexicans act like they own the place.”
I looked at the man, but honestly, I was too shocked to say anything.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to! My son returned, walked right up to me, and asked, “Daddy, can I have a cookie?”
“Sure thing, son,” I said, casting a side-eye to the man who had just gone a shade paler.
As Xander bounded off, the man dipped his head, muttered an apology, and put some distance between us.
Xander got all the cookies he wanted that night.