At the request of my mother I had to go to Walmart this afternoon. I have to admit, Walmart isn’t my favorite place but when my mother speaks…..we listen. My dad used to refer to my mother as “Mother Superior”. For those of you who have watched the movie “The Blues Brothers” you will recall the scene when the Blues Brothers go to visit the sister at their childhood school and she slams the door with just one look from her eyes . My dad used to say “your mother can move furniture with her eyeballs!” Just like in the movie.
When I got to Walmart, I walked past a young man who was standing in front of the seasonings aisle. He was clearly confused so I stopped and asked if I could help. He said he was looking for a seasoning that began with the letter “B”. He was going to prepare a meal for his wife but couldn’t remember the name of the seasoning. I asked “is it basil?” “Yes!!! That’s it!” I found the basil for him. He thanked me and began describing the lovely dinner he was going to prepare for his wife. He was preparing three different kinds of fish and a spinach dish that sounded absolutely divine! I jokingly said “yum!! Can I come over?” He answered “But of course you can. That is, only if you don’t tell me you can’t have sugar!!! I can’t have sugar so my wife is always watching me. I have to sneak sugar before I get home and I love potatoe chips!” He held up a bag of potatoe chips and told me how he sneaks eating potatoe chips before he gets home. He said he always carries mouthwash in the car so his wife doesn’t find out. No matter how hard he tries to conceal the smell of chocolate or chips, his wife always knows. I thought this was funny.
To describe this young man, he was a tall, good looking, African American from Jamaica. He was wearing a hat with his dreads tucked under a hat. He was dressed very nice and exhibited such a happy and respectful spirit. He shared his mother was a white, Jewish woman and his father was Jamaican. I’ll refer to him as “T”.
“T” and I had a lovely conversation. During our conversation he mentioned he had moved here from California. I asked him where in California. “T” said he didn’t want to tell me because he knew I wouldn’t believe him. I pressed any way. He finally told me he had moved here from Calabasas. I exclaimed “Calabasas?!!!” He replied “I knew you wouldn’t believe me. Would you have believed me if I said from the ghetto?” I said “I don’t know but…..Calabasas?!!! Isn’t that where those goofy Kardashians are from?!” “T” started laughing. He said he thought I wouldn’t believe him based on the color of his skin but the Kardashians?!! That was a first. He explained how people stereotype him and often don’t believe him when he says he’s from Calabasas.
“T” told the story of coming to America when he was young. He had always had a desire to study science after watching his aunt die from cancer. He studied science and now helps cancer patients. It sounded like his family came from wealth and importance in Jamaica. He had seen much violence in Jamaica growing up. Friends being killed among other things. Coming to America hasn’t always been easy. He explained how people had judged him based on the color of his skin, yet they knew nothing about him. He shared some of those experiences with me. I’ll just say, his experiences weren’t stellar. “T” explained that it never bothers him when he finds himself in a situation where he’s being judged based on the color of his skin. He said “they haven’t walked in my shoes, they haven’t lived my life or experienced my challenges”. Instead he responds by saying just that. He told me that he was a survivor and even if he was dropped in the middle of a desert, he knew he’d find a way to survive so regardless what others thought of him it didn’t bother him. He told me to never let what others think of me to bring me down and to always remember that those who judge me have never walked in my shoes. “T” had so many positive things to say that he was such an inspiration to me. When our conversation ended, I gave him a hug and thanked him for bringing value in to my life today. As I walked away he said “drive safe and take it easy sis!” I walked away with a smile on my face and a heart filled with gratitude.
“T” taught me a lesson today. He told me that no matter the challenges God would see me through and he reminded me that I am who I am and what others think of me is none of my business. I am me regardless of what others think or the color of my skin. What a blessing this young man was in my life today. Who would’ve thought a trip to Walmart would bring a chance meeting with an awesome Jamaican young man from of all places…..Calabasas, California…. Home of those goofy, caddy Kardashians, would make such a difference in my life?!!