The man, his wife, and their teenage daughter approached the self-checkout register. Their casual clothes were expensive and the father’s haircut must have cost a hundred bucks. He insisted that the girl operate the machine while he “coached” her.
“Hurry up, hurry up!” he said. She was rattled as she tried to move more quickly.
“Now put it down!”
“Scan the next item! C’mon, hurry!”
“No! You scanned it twice!”
“But dad,” she protested mildly, “you told me to.”
“Can’t you do anything right?”
I stepped over to assist.
“Sir, my daughter messed this up,” he said. “She’s acting like a child and can’t do anything right.”
I looked at the mom, who appeared tired and embarrassed. I turned back to the man and said I would be happy to help.
I wanted to say, “Sir, the only one acting like a child is you.”
No, that’s not what I wanted to do.
I wanted to grab him by the lapels, slam him against a wall and urge him to be nicer. But while that would make me feel better, it would make things worse for the girl and her mother. If I embarrassed, humiliated, or threatened the man, he would take it out on his family.
While I bent over the machine, I tilted my head a couple of inches toward the girl and I whispered, “You’re okay.”
The dad was too wrapped up in himself to notice. The girl didn’t respond. Her face stayed frozen in place, but I’m sure she heard.
It wasn’t enough but it was all I could think of. I hope the girl will grow up to be strong enough to deal with her asshole father. I hope she can replay in her mind that a large man in an apron once whispered to her that she was okay.
4 thoughts on “The Mean Dad”
Wow!!! The things we witness that we wish we could do more , sucks to say it bluntly cause my step father was like that 🤬😡🤬😡
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I’m hearing from others who say the same about their fathers.
I was just feeling tense about another encounter when I noticed David’s “Deep Calls” and thought, “I need that! David’s back at his register: All’s well.” (I picture you as a prince in an apron! When we were kids, our superheroes wore capes.)
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Thank you. When I was a kid, I was batman, and I used a towel and safety pins for a cape.