As many of you know, Mr. Boo is not huge on hair and nail cuts. He tolerates them at best. Today, Robert and I looked at him and realized he was more than sufficiently wooly. Clearly, something needed to be done. So, we armed ourselves with clippers and a bag of fruit treats. To our astonishment, Mr. Boo was thoroughly cooperative. He let Robert cut his hair without wiggling as I fed him treats. Afterwards, we brushed him off and escorted him to the tub, as he had hair all over himself. As he relaxed in the tub and I washed his (much shorter ) hair I noticed that his toenails looked like talons. This truly was the evening of miracles because he let me trim all ten toes without any complaint. Surely, this called for a reward. Robert and I got him dressed and headed for the nearest Wendy’s to give Boo an early supper.
The Wendy’s we frequent is near our house, in a mixed, middle class neighborhood. We have been bringing Boo here for nearly 14 years. As we went in, I noticed that everyone behind the counter were persons of color, as were the patrons, with the exception of one gentleman in the corner. I thought nothing of it. As we were getting Boo seated, two teenage girls of color approached Robert asking for money. He said no and they backed off. A few minutes later he got up to get Boo’s order and they approached me, asking for money. I calmly told them no. Instantly, things escalated. The younger of the two got in my face screaming profanities. I could feel Boo shrink back behind me. I asked her to leave me alone. She continued to curse at me. Robert turned around and asked her to leave. She accused him of getting in her face, though he was a good five feet away. The manager was standing there but claimed not to have seen a thing. We got Boo’s dinner for him but he was clearly subdued and not enjoying his meal. The two girls sat a few feet away from us, talking and cursing loudly about nothing in particular. We decided it was a good time to leave. We gathered up Boo’s dinner and hustled out the door, hoping no one followed us into the parking lot. Once we were home Robert called the corporate office to file a complaint. The woman who spoke to him was very apologetic and said someone else would be calling him in the near future. Boo Bear finished his dinner and then perked up.
This evening made me sad on multiple levels. Wendy’s was Boo’s safe place where we took him for treats. All I wanted to do was let my son eat his supper in peace. Though I felt threatened, I did not call the police on this girl. I refuse to be another white woman with a cell phone. Granted, this girl was not a paying customer, was harassing me, and had no business being in there in the first place, but I did not want to see what cops might do to an African American teenager. I wonder what is going on in her life that would cause her to be so hateful to an absolute stranger?
At any rate, Mr. Boo seems none the worse the wear for his experience. He has a nice new hair cut, neatly trimmed toe nails and got a burger and fries for supper. His world is good. I am left to reflect on the evening and wonder if there could have been a better outcome. I like to support neighborhood businesses, but it seems I need to find another safe place to take Mr. Boo for treats.