Friday, September 23, 2011

Stand for Truth and Righteousness

Several things reminded this week about an incident that happened in a pizza parlor 12 or 13 years ago, so I guess it's time to write about it.  My kids have teased me about this for years, but I still contend I did the right thing.

My family was enjoying pizza at the best pizza parlor in the Sacramento area, Roma's Pizzeria.  Suddenly, there was quite a disturbance from one of the customers.  This incredibly inebriated man was yelling at his wife.  The language was foul and abusive.  This seemingly never-ending disgusting diatribe was not stopped by the management--quite to my dismay.  This is a family restaurant, and there are always children present.  I don't know about that particular evening, but very often soccer teams and baseball teams will celebrate at Roma's, and there is usually a birthday party or two.  I know that my children were not the only children present that evening.

My husband and I hustled the kids to finish their pizza, and then we removed ourselves from the restaurant.  My family walked out ahead of me, and it was necessary to walk right past the offending party.  On my way out, I felt obligated to say something to this man (since management had failed to do so--or eject him from the restaurant).  In a calm voice, I thanked him for making my evening with my children so pleasant.  Then I walked out the door.  The man followed me and began to yell at me.  He tried to throw his beer at me, but my brawny defender husband walked out the door after paying the bill just in time to roar like a cannon as he flung himself at the beer-throwing arm, scaring the daylights out of this man (and I used the word "man" liberally).  Most of the beer was deflected, but I still had to have my coat cleaned--worth every penny.

Roma's owner and staff came out to investigate, and I gave the owner a tongue lashing for not removing this man from the restaurant.  He apologized to me profusely.  We avoided going to Roma's for two or three years after the incident, which made my children a little disgruntled, but I wanted the owner to know that we were displeased with the experience (and we had been very regular customers).  When we finally reappeared in the restaurant, we received red carpet service, and have never experienced another incident.

As I said in the beginning, I've taken quite a ribbing from my family about this, but I stand behind my actions.  The world is becoming increasingly evil.  There is right, and there is wrong.  At some point, we all need to take a stand.  We either are on the side of good, or we are on the side of evil.  There is no fence sitting.   That night I had two choices:  (1) Say and do nothing, which would have taught my daughter (8 or 9 years old at the time) that using the "F" word three times in a sentence is appropriate, and my teenage son that being abusive to your wife is acceptable; or (2) take a stand and teach my children that there are some things in life we are not obliged to tolerate, and a restaurant owner that he has a duty to protect his clientele from such abuse.

I took a risk that night that I might get hurt.  There are some risks worth taking for principle.  It saddens my heart that so many people are afraid to stand up and say enough is enough.  This is wrong, and I don't have to put up with this.  It is fine to teach children principles at home where the environment is quiet and peaceful (well, usually), but they will be out in a tumultuous world.  I wanted my children to be able to plant their feet on terra firma and say, "This is wrong, and I don't have to take this."


  1. Way to go for saying something! Situations like that particularly when the man is yelling at the woman or worse, a child, in such an abusive tone are hard to watch. I've called the police countless times when I've had my little ones with me and can't really get in the middle. But I agree, people shouldn't be so afraid to do or say something. The difficult part is knowing what will happen afterwards. Will the abusive person go home and further hurt the woman or child because he was reprimanded/embarrassed in public? Perhaps. And that is sad but what I think is that if the woman or child continues to see someone standing up for them, it increases the chances that one day they will be able to stand up for themselves, realize that this type of treatment is wrong, and call the police, leave the abuser, or if a child - tell a teacher, friend of the family who can help, etc.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Gabby. I thought about the wife a lot, actually, but I tend to agree with you. She needed to take a stand too -- and get herself OUT. I hope she eventually did, and I hope she didn't take further abuse because of what I did.

  3. I got into it with a couple in Wal-Mart a few years ago. This guy was telling his toddler to say things like, "Mommy is fat." 'Mommy is ugly." I said that was a great thing to be teaching his son and he had to be pretty pleased with himself. He got all rilled up and so did the woman. She said it was none of my business. I closed by saying to her, "Well, when you get your divorce, think of me!" I've always wondered if she thought about that later and if she has gotten a divorce.

  4. Good for you, Cheri! She probably did get a divorce, and I hope she did think of you!