February 18, 2010
Yes, another Blogger with an R-word story. How timely!
I haven't had any "R" word experiences. You'd think that with a nearly-12 year old child with Down syndrome that I'd have come across it more often.
Well, I guess that isn't true. I have had occasional friends or acquaintances slip and use the word, but with a quick apology they have shaped up without much intervention.
But Tuesday night Hannah and I went to 5 Guys for our annual allotment of grease and calories. I have been to 5 Guys one other time, when Chris was craving a burger during a long hospital stay for broken vertebrae.
The first thing I noticed was that there was a hand-written sign on the door.
"We cannot except credit cards at this time since our machine is out of order."
This irritated me of course, not because I didn't have cash, but because of the incorrect usage of "except". I'm such a snob.
We entered the restaurant, and were greeted at the counter by a polite young man, probably about 20 years old. A similar sign excepting credit cards was on the counter. After a friendly greeting, I teasingly said (though perhaps shouldn't have), "This bothers me--the word is "accept", not "except". I am a teacher, and this should be corrected." The young man didn't really understand the difference between the two, but trying to appease the customer, offered up, "Oh, that was _____'s sign. She's retarded."
I knew he was using the term as popular culture does. In a friendly way I said, "Excuse me? Did you say retarded? That is not a word to be used. You need to pay attention." He was confused until I nodded my head towards my daughter (who was oblivious to the entire thing as she was studying the menu). He immediately apologized, looked me straight in the eye and said, "You're exactly right. I won't use that word again." I said, "Thank you. The word 'retarded' is just as bad as other words, you know, like the n-word." (I figured I'd play this card since he'd be sensitive to someone using that word.)
He apologized again and vowed to never use the word.
And then he gave us free fries.
After enjoying our dinner, we were ready to leave. He called out, "I meant it! Really! Have a good night!"