• Dr. Stuart P. Stofferahn

Day #14: Wal-Mart

Day #14

The bus I needed to catch was at Wal-Mart.

I am not a regular Wal-Mart shopper, but I have frequented enough to build a healthy discrimination. And of course, like all discrimination, not rooted in fact or experience – more in hypocrisy and indignation.

I found myself sitting on one of the benches outside the store. You know the ones – where all “those” people sit, waiting for the mode of transportation the rest of us don’t have to take.


Among my seat-mates were a (mostly) toothless man, a woman with a physical disability, an elderly gentleman who had to hold his phone no more than a centimeter from his eyes, so he could see it, and a couple who didn’t look like they had two quarters to rub together.

I imagined all of them had demons they were battling – just like any of us. Outwardly, however, the conversations were not unlike any of us have any time of the day. One was calling a friend to inquire how he was doing, since he hadn’t seen him in a couple days. One was talking about the best ribs he had every BBQd, and the rest of us were enthralled with his description.

And I sat there and remembered how I have passed judgement in the past. I looked at them and thought it a good chance I have passed judgement on these exact people at one time or another. I wondered whether it was because they didn’t look like me, or if it was because they had to ride the bus, and I didn’t. Maybe both.

The more I thought, the more ashamed I became at myself.

I recalled the first person to help me when I got on the bus for the very first time. Don. He would “fit in” on this bench. Having never seen me before, he helped me. Didn’t even hesitate. I don’t claim to know him well, but I get the feeling that that’s just what Don does.

I wondered to myself if I would have done the same thing - or if I would have just sat on my high horse and remained silent.

I knew the answer.

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