A few years ago on a warm summer night, I headed to a frozen yogurt shop in Tampa to do two of my favorite things: stuff my face with froyo and people watch. I’ve lived all the way from the Florida Keys to California and I must say, Floridians are some of the most interesting people to watch. That night I was really enjoying the show that was being put on right in front of me! A family was sitting in a large SUV, each person devouring a cup of frozen yogurt. All of the windows were down so I could hear them fighting and picking on each other. I was amused.
The young boy in the front passenger seat handed his cup to his mom, he said he was finished with it. Instead of getting out of the car and walking 5 whole steps to the trash can, she tossed it out of her open window into the parking lot. My mouth fell open and I waited for her next move, hoping she would suddenly realize that throwing a half-eaten bowl of frozen yogurt on the ground is incredibly lazy and rude. What a terrible example she was setting for her litter of children that were jam packed into the car. There is one thing that really disgusts me and that is parents who punish their children for acting exactly like they do. You don’t teach a child to be polite to others by screaming at him or her and you don’t teach a child to not hit by smacking him or her across the face.
A minute or two went by and the lady in the monster SUV didn’t budge from her throne to pick up her garbage. Like a horse chomping at the bit, I stared at the slowly melting froyo on the steaming pavement. When I couldn’t restrain myself any longer I pounced from my chair, adrenaline shooting through my veins. I grabbed her son’s discarded cup and walked to her car door. In a non-assuming and non-judgmental voice I said “oh here you go, I think you dropped something.” I wanted to give the lady a chance to redeem herself, a chance to take it from me and throw it away in the garbage bin. Instead, she raised an eyebrow and said “no, I didn’t drop anything.”
Maybe I’m a little bit twisted, but I suddenly grew excited. I felt another surge of adrenaline release and I smiled. “Yeah, you did. You dropped this”, and held the sticky mess just inside her car window.” The lady grabbed it from me and threw it on the ground again, this time a few feet behind me. She snarled and her eyes said “whatcha gonna do now, little girl?”
I knew that we were in a public place, not my personal living room, so it may seem a little silly at how heated this made me, but I felt the need to set this lady straight. If not for her, for her children. They needed to see that this was not okay. Maybe it’s the Aries in me, but when I latch onto something that I believe in, nobody better stand in my way.
I picked up the froyo cup and with perfect aim (I guess being a softball pitcher paid off) chucked it through her open car window. It hit the dashboard and fell onto the floor of the SUV. With a snarky tone and a more than likely crazy look in my eye, I said “yes, you DID drop something.” The boy in the front seat looked like he had just seen a ghost. His eyes were bugging out of his head and he looked scared, like he was watching a dead girl walking. His facial expression was enough to make my brain scream “flight not fight, flight!!!” Somehow I managed to turn and calmly walk back to my seat to finish my frozen yogurt.
The lady didn’t get out of her car, she didn’t mutter one more word. As she put the car in reverse and angrily backed out of the parking spot, I heard a few hysterical giggles coming from the back seat. I was pretty sure that the kids were all laughing at the crazy lady who threw frozen yogurt at their mom but I didn’t care, I felt good.
Now I look back on that day and laugh pretty hard, I can’t believe I threw frozen yogurt at a complete stranger. Would I do the same thing if given the opportunity again? In a heartbeat.