So I was going to Denny’s with my family for a late night snack, as all middle class SoCal-asian families seem to do– getting really excited to have enough fat and sugar enter my body to last me a short happy, albeit uncomfortable, lifetime. Oh the joys of being American.
I was getting out of my mom’s Lexus.. or my dad’s Benz, one of the two (not too shabby, don’t you think?), when we were approached by a man stationed outside our local diner* asking for change.
**Yes somehow the Denny’s chain has made itself a homey staple of late night talks and memories instead of being considered a chain that ruins dreams or something millennial like that.
He spoke to us with an endearing and reasonable, “Hello, could I please have a dollar?” For some reason, we did not want a confrontation with the scraggly, smelly, homeless man sitting at a Denny’s parking lot at 11pm, so we walked by with a calm nothing. Sure it tugged at my heartstrings a little, but what’s the point in feeling empathy, right?
Suddenly I hear words that feel like a smack to the back of my neatly-pony-ed head.
“Go back to Japan!”
If I weren’t so busy being shocked I would have been impressed that he didn’t opt for the usual China.
I don’t know if this counts as me being judged, and I wonder what he would’ve said if we looked more like him: white and male.
But this question didn’t plague me long, as seasoned fries and nachos and lava cake and coffee and milkshakes and chicken quesadillas made way to my table.
I wonder what that man is doing now, and if he ever found kindness in some asian family like mine.
I could hear it now:
God Bless You, Thank you So Much.