This hasn’t been a great week. In addition to Prince’s death, I’ve just been really busy at work with some high stress-projects. And there wasn’t a good end to this week either.
I was walking back from lunch with my coworker, Anousack. We went through the skyway back towards the City Center building. There’s a small liquor store in one of the buildings by us. As we walked by I saw a man look like he was up to something. He snagged a beer from a six pack and shoved it in his coat. I was taken aback. Of course shoplifting happens, but how many times do you actually see it in real time?
He was about 100 feet ahead of us. He didn’t run or anything. I told my coworker about what I had just seen and if we should do anything. There weren’t any security guards around. We decided that it really wasn’t worth it to make a fuss over one beer. I didn’t know if the guy had a knife or a gun or something. It wasn’t worth the hassle.
And then we walked into our building, which usually has some security guards around. The guy was in front of us when I heard him yell, “That guy spit on me!” to some of the guards. He pointed at a Somalian guy who was dressed in a t shirt and jeans. (I should point out the other guy was white.)
I’ll say here that I don’t know for sure if the guy spit on him or not, but I’ll go with the Occum’s Razor theory here. He got the cop’s attention somewhere else, so they wouldn’t go after him. And who just spits on people randomly?
Three security guards slammed the guy up against the glass sidewall that separated the two escalators that went up to our offices. It happened just as we were going up. Anousack (my coworker) and I looked at each other stunned. Should we have said something then? We didn’t and just walked back into the office, dazed. We talked about it periodically throughout the rest of the afternoon, wondering if we should have said something.
I wish I said something. The stealing of the beer didn’t bother me. (Well, it did, but not enough to say something about it.) But the fact that some poor guy got shoved and cuffed just bothered me. I don’t think that would have happened if the dude pointed to a guy in a suit and said he had spit on him. As a white guy, I believe I have the privilege that people won’t assume that I’ve spit on someone. The thief picked a Somalian because it’s an easy jump to make.
I hope that guy who got ruffed up by security guards is all right. He didn’t deserve that. I hope that other guy gets what karma is coming to him. Even though this was a crappy way to end my day, it’s a good moment to reflect on what I have and what people can assume about me.