I was in a small eatery a few days ago with 2 friends. We were meeting to work on a retreat we are offering in August (more on that soon!). There are only about 8 tables at Cafe Media Naranja and I think only three of them were occupied. It is a cute place with one young waitress and a few women in the kitchen that day. It has two small rooms and is on the second floor overlooking a ‘busy’ intersection here in San Miguel de Allende.
We got our beverages and were awaiting our food. Talking over the details of the week long retreat, we were enjoying the laid back atmosphere. Then things shifted. We saw a tall older (mid 70’s) white man shove the waitress from behind and order her to go do something. Suddenly everyone in the place was focused on what had just occurred. We all sat awash in disbelief and a bit stunned. It was like we couldn’t believe it and didn’t know how to respond. Another man (in his early 30’s) walked over and spoke to him about his behavior being unacceptable. I thought ‘oh good..this is how it should be addressed…by another man.’
But I knew it wasn’t finished.
Tension just hung in the air.
A family left.
We got our food and began eating.
There was unfinished business. I got up and crossed the room toward the young waitress. I wanted to let HER know what he did wasn’t ok. I spoke to her in spanish. I told her I was sorry he treated her that way. That all of us believed how he had treated her was unacceptable. I tried to convey so much with my words and eyes. I returned to my table and my meal awaiting me.
A few minutes went by and the oldest woman working in the restaurant came out with her arm around the young waitress. They walked over to the table where the man who shoved her was seated with 2 other older men. The abuelita proceeded to tell him (in spanish) that he couldn’t push her. The young woman was crying and her head was down.
The guy stood up (he was very tall). He walked toward the young woman and put his hand on her arm, as he denied he had shoved her. He was looming over her in his size and presence.
From across the room I watched the interaction. My two companions were unaware of what was unfolding across the way. His intimidating, overbearing, threatening behavior was more than I could tolerate. I was out of my chair and over to the three of them in a flash.
I stood steadfastly next to the young waitress. He placed his hands on her again.
I took his hands off her and told him to keep them off. He continued to try and lay his hands on her and deny he had done anything wrong. I continued to remove his hands from her.
I wasn’t yelling, I wasn’t calling him names
(Considering this is what I wish I had done)
but I could NOT let him continue to physically intimidate her.
As he refused to back off, I stepped in between her and the increasingly aggressive man. That is when he said ‘Listen lady, you are getting involved in something that is not your business.” Right then is when Cat was at my side and said ‘well, WE are making it our business’. Then she added – ‘in the days of #MeToo movement it is in your best interest to keep your hands to yourself’. Somehow that sunk in – he said he was sorry and backed off and sat down.
My heart was beating so hard.
I am not sure it was the best approach and I am so grateful he didn’t hit me or the policia weren’t called.
First time I have ever done anything like that that in public. But I just could NOT sit by and allow him to behave in that way without standing up for HER.
As I am out on the streets, I so hope I don’t see that dude anywhere else. I am absolutely sure we made no lasting changes in his behavior toward women. But I do hope SHE felt supported. It could have been the first time in her life someone said – you do not have to let someone treat you that way. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR HIM TO DO THAT.
I am not sure what is happening in the world right now. Decay or Empowerment? But I am sure I want to end this life knowing I stood up for what I believed in. So back off disrespectful jerk I belief in RESPECT!