When I was seventeen, I worked at a private golf club. Members only. Picture the club in Dirty Dancing — it was like that, except we didn’t have Patrick Swayze.
I have always believed in the good in humans. And, despite the news cycles and the social media newsfeeds and the awfulness of humanity lately, I still believe in the good in humans.
I have to.
But, back to the golf club.
I was a teenager.
And there was one night when an older man at the club asked me to turn to the side so he could see something.
And being the gullible, hopeful kid I was, I turned to the side.
He was a club member.
I was a waitress.
You did what the members asked. You didn’t ask questions.
So I turned to the side, and he laughed and smiled.
I still didn’t get it.
At the time I worked with two older girls who were sisters. They treated me like a little sister, and I learned everything I know about the restaurant business and hospitality and customer service from them.
As I was standing there, they stormed into the dining room, took one look at the situation, and told me to sit down.
They then proceeded to yell at this member.
Stop being such a creep, they said.
It was in that moment I realized he was ogling me. He was being a dirty, old creep.
For me, the most important part of this story, and why I still remember this story, is not the creepy patron.
It’s my coworkers, my friends, standing up for me.
It’s the fact that there were two women who had walked through so much fire that they wanted to save me from my own burns. And they cared enough about me to stand up.
Perhaps that’s what’s missing lately — the ability to care about a narrative that is not tied to our own. We can so easily push aside another human’s pain, so much so that we’ve forgotten what it is to care about someone — even if that person is not our family, our friends, our tribe.
To those who hurt in silence, I care.
To those who haven’t found the words, I care.
To those who don’t know how to trust, I care.
To those who want to trust, I care.
To those who feel broken, I care.
To those who want to love, I care.
To those who want to be loved, I care.
To those who try and make the pain go away, I care.
To those who wish it wouldn’t stay, I care.
To those who sit and wonder ‘why me?’ I care.
To those who have no more tears to cry, I care.