Shot In The Face

Charles Negre

Today we were waiting in line at our neighborhood Pollo Loco and the line wasn’t moving. I saw that the guy giving his order at the cash register was gesticulating impatiently.

Something was up. The guy was raising his voice but we couldn’t make out his words. I turned to my husband and said, “I hope we don’t get shot here, but I can actually think of worse places.”

I was thinking of CVS, where I happened to be during a very mild earthquake. I remember how glad I was not to spend my last moments in a CVS, crushed by products.

The guy at the front finally paid the cashier. We heard him explain that his jaw waas wired shut and he wanted to have his chicken shredded.

He moved aside to the salsa bar, where an older guy said something. The young guy, who was very tall and thin, said “I was shot in the face.”

Trying to compute this information, I heard the older say “blah blah blah small caliber?”

Men! If they’re not getting shot in the face, they want to talk about guns!

I could hear the older guy making suggestions, like getting “Ensure” for the protein and drinking soup. He seemed genuinely concerned. Now I had to walk past them and at that moment, the young guy pulled out his phone to show a picture of his x-ray – a skull with something passing right through the mouth.

I blurted out, “I’m so sorry!” and the guy turned to me. Now I could see how young he was, probably around 20. I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “I’m glad you’re here.”

He blushed and smiled. I saw a flash of smashed up teeth and metal. The older guy said, “Me too.”

We found a table and I felt shaken by the encounter. Witnessing simple human kindness is  always so moving to me. It is nearly unbearable, in fact. I thought of how painful life is for so many people, all the suffering in the world and how hard it is to let yourself care or to stop from caring too much. I wished I could give the face-guy a blender. I wished people could stop killing Syrian children. I wished the loved ones I have lost would come back.

Suddenly there was a commotion at the counter. The face-guy was angry and wanted a refund. I guess they hadn’t shredded his chicken. He stormed out empty handed.

I went to get some salsa and saw the Korean manager yelling at the Mexican cashier. He was gong on about the refund, ranting about how it would throw everything off. He could not have cared less about a guy getting shot in the face.

I’m not sure what my point is here. But I’ll say this: If a guy gets shot in the face, he deserves some goddamn shredded chicken.


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8 Responses to Shot In The Face

  1. Tom I. says:

    Beautiful post. Exactly! Human kindness is the most important thing in the World. The guy should’ve gotten his correct chicken, the Mexican cashier should be treated with respect (and if really screwed up too many times, then fired I suppose and get a job he can do well), etc. Sister Joanne Wolf, you acted perfectly. I would’ve shed a tear watching the whole thing. Every kind act helps someone and adds something to existence (just as every bad act hurts and subtracts). We are powerless in so many ways but being a good person who does what he or she can for other people in any circumstance, is something we can do. This Syria debacle is driving me crazy too. And let’s not even get started about what if Israeli drops a little bomb and the entire World (and all our FB friends) erupt in righteous indignation, yest nary a word about the absolute atrocities in Syria at this very moment on total innocents. Anyway, acts of kindness, small or large, make the World go round. Good work, Sister Wolf.

  2. Dj says:

    Ok. I’m in Paris right now. There are so many families/individuals on make shift foam mattresses on the very busy main street near me, it is heartbreaking. I have seen homeless in major cities, but they were usually single men, old, probably mentally ill. You knew who your homeless person was on your block and did your best to make his day a little better. But, families? Some with pets? Breastfeeding in front of everyone on the sidewalk? I can’t bear it!! I’m trying to figure out how I can distribute money/goods to two or three sets of these people just within blocks of where we are staying, worried that I’ll miss Someone! What is wrong with this picture!! What is wrong with the world sister??

  3. Suzanne Myers says:

    Beautiful post. Encounters like this are the best. Just sorry the restaurant treated this man that way. Thankfully, he was shown kindness, though. You have a wonderful heart.

  4. Miranda Mitsouko says:

    Word, sister. Word.

  5. Kellie says:

    One kindness at a time. Thats all we can do. And just think if everyone did the same thing!
    I am sure you made that mans day. How does one even begin to get over something as traumatic as being shot in the face? I dont know how you would move forward from that.
    Good vibes to you !

  6. mark-E of 5.Brown says:

    Trump is polluting all my thoughts.

  7. Aly says:

    I don’t have anything really interesting to say but I wanted to let you know that I was really touched by this story and I am really glad you are here, too.

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