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The Confrontation

I yelled at someone today and I feel bad. But even more so I feel bad for not yelling at her earlier.

You see, I was in a store with a couple other customers when another customer came in and started yelling and swearing, complaining about a vehicle taking up two parking spots. They were quite vocal from the beginning and we all heard her loud and clear. They went on and on about it, and after discovering the other customer was a passenger of the vehicle, started complaining to them, even calling the driver names.

This went on for a good few minutes and I could hear the passenger replying quietly while the first verbally vomited all over them. They did not say much, but I could tell they weren’t too happy with how they were being spoken to.

I waited, hoping it would stop, hoping someone would tell them enough, but that person ended up being me. I’d finally heard enough to hit my breaking point.

And so I yelled. Well, actually, really I matched the level they came out of the gates using, and I was very firm. I told them enough. I told them we didn’t need to hear them anymore, they’d made their point, we all know how they felt, and none of us wanted to hear anymore of it. Through our “discussion” I called them out on how they spoke about it since they figured there wasn’t any other way to say it (I suggested a much calmer, non aggressive way that didn’t include the word douche-bag a few words into their initial attack which was repeated throughout), and even went so far as asking staff if we could please make them wait outside when they wouldn’t stop their obnoxious rant.

They finally stopped talking and the customer who’d been the brunt of it looked at me and thanked me more than once. It broke me a little looking into their downcast eyes. They looked so sad and I felt this wasn’t the first person to speak to them like that. I wish I had more time and privacy to speak to them and encourage them.

I stood there shaking afterwards, not one that ever tends to confrontation like that. It was quiet then as other people came and went. I wasn’t sure what to do next and tried to figure out how I could wish them a good evening. I was tempted to say that I hope their evening was better than their afternoon was but I wasn’t sure that was a good idea.

I noticed they were on their phone in the quietness and wondered if they were going online to continue their rant, now including me. I wasn’t sure what they were thinking to know what to say as I left.

When it came time for me to leave this person made a point of grabbing the door for me and telling me to have a good evening. I thanked them and wished them a good evening as well.

I left wishing I’d been more sincere sounding in my response to them, though I was by no means rude or short. I figure it might have gone a long ways if they could see I truly meant it. I did notice as we looked in each other’s eyes that all the anger I’d seen previous was gone.

I do wonder what happened in their day that caused them to be so angry and hurtful to a stranger simply over a poorly parked vehicle. I wonder how they feel now, if they feel badly about what happened. I don’t think they intended to behave in such a way today, but something sent them on that path. And just because they had poor judgement in this situation does not make them a mean or nasty person, just that they were having a bad day. If I saw them again somewhere and recognized them I would definitely greet them with a smile and start again.

So I felt badly for yelling at this person as I don’t believe it’s in my nature to confront people or yell at strangers, though it seems to have been what was needed at the time. And I feel so badly for allowing it to continue as long as I did before standing up for the other customer who so very much needed it.

What would you have done? Would you have ignored it and tried minding your own business? Or would you have stepped outside of your comfort zone and spoken up?

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