So I've been in Europe for almost two whole years. I've had people ask me if I have experienced any discrimination and I am happy to say that, until yesterday, I haven't had any issues and most people have been very pleasant towards me. BUT YESTERDAY! we're on a road trip through France and stopped to get food. The cashier let me pay for my convenience shop items but would not let me order from the hot foods menu. He literally dismissed me and started helping customers behind me. I know he speaks a little English, but with me, he all of a sudden only speaks French. While I don't know much French, I totally understood that he was not willing to help me out. I felt invisible. I asked several other cashier's if I was in the right place to order from the hot menu and they all said yes. I explained that this particular cashier was not allowing me, yet none of them helped me.
I stood there frustrated, as I watched this cashier help a ton of other people, even giving them items that I myself was trying to order. I start explaining the problem to Vic who was watching the kids at the play area. I'm speaking loudly and everyone in the market is just looking at me, including a bus load of other English speakers. Vic comes up to see if the man will even talk to him. Nope. The cashier continues to look past us and motion for other customers to step up. Then, the sweetest French woman, whose son is playing with Makenzie, steps up to us and with limited English asks if she can help. She finally gets the attention of the cashier and tells him what I want, in French. He rudely explains that only certain items are available. No issue there, expect this man never knew what I wanted, because he never gave me a chance to tell him. He finally starts talking our order, we pay, get our food and go. I thanked this woman for helping us and would have hugged her if I thought she would take it as a thankful gesture rather than creepy. The thing is, in situations where someone is experiencing discrimination in a public setting, it is very rare for a witness to step in and offer help; but this stranger boldly intervened!
You must know, we didn't just leave, because rest stops and food are hard to come by along the Autobahn. If you miss a rest stop it could be 30-40 minutes before you see another... AND I knew my kids were going to fall asleep after this stop and you DO NOT stop the car with sleeping kids; at least not with my kids lol. So, there I was stuck and forced to deal with this ridiculous man. It was the most uncomfortable moment of my time here in Europe. We've been to many other cities and countries and have had no issues. Most Europeans, even some with stoic demeanor, have been quite accommodating and helpful, despite the language barrier. I've never attributed any feeling of mistreatment to the fact that someone was racist. I just don't get that vibe over here. But yesterday, I experienced it first hand and I was frustrated, sad, and disappointed. I thank God for the Good Samaritan that stepped in and for the patience He allowed me to maintain so I didn't throw my water on him, or worse. I almost got out of character, but I when you can't speak the language in moments of frustration you're basically left to actions which typically lead to jail and I'm not about that life. I'll just say that man is lucky I don't remember much French from my early years in a French immersion school. I would have professionally cursed him out so beautifully 😂 On a serious note, being abroad is teaching me so much, even in these unfortunate moments. When I can't speak the language, I'm forced to be more patient than ever and lean on resources, other than my own. This makes me think of how I should always rely on God to come to my rescue, as he did even in this situation. I've even got another situation to share with you all when I get another moment to write. I'll just say, God is ever teaching and I'm ever learning. Finally, the reason I chose to share a pic of my children playing in this same gas market, is to show a picture of two children playing innocently, not even knowing what I was going through at the cash register. One day these two kids will grow up and I pray they never treat anyone the way this cashier treated me and my husband. I pray they are kind to everyone and don't mistreat others because of race, beliefs, abilities, etc. A little girl at Makenzie's Kindi(school) recently asked me why my whole family was black. I simply explained to her that God made us this way. She didn't know people were "made". I didn't go into any more detail with her, but I see that little Caucasian girl play with all races of kids every single day. She's kind to them all. She doesn't even know why some people look different than her. She sees it, but clearly she wasn't taught to treat these people any differently and I pray my children receive the same message. ❤️