I recently had an interesting experience on a train in a dining car where a young woman of color was sitting next to me and the waiter was being so condescending to her, that I stood up for her. I wrote a post on Facebook about the experience and received over 100 likes and really great comments.
From that post, I created a personal power statement using the letters to STAND UP to explain how to find your own inner power and not wait for someone to show up and save you. It has taken me MANY years to understand my broken experience of people not standing up for me..and the shining lights of those who have..and realizing..that I have to do it for myself. I have to be my own hero.
Stance-You have as much power as anyone else. Believe it.
Trust in yourself to have the courage to say no, how you wish to be treated and your ability to walk away.
Ask for help when needed, but depend on the inner knowledge that you carry the strength yourself.
Never put up with anyone who causes you shame, pain or makes you feel less than.
Direct your energy to take care of YOUR soul first
Understand that people have different perspectives that you may not agree with, but everyone deserves kindness and respect.
People pleasing will suck you dry
Here is the post from my experience on the Starlight Express:
The universe did so much to conspire against me to help me get on the 3 pm train today it was crazy. By the time Google maps sent me to the wrong place twice in getting back to my cousin’s house today, I knew something was coming. I don’t know about you, but when I am trying so hard to be somewhere and inexplicable road blocks keep popping up, I take that as a sign.
I missed the 3 pm train by 5 min. My cousins were sad for me, but I knew there was a reason and I went with the experience. So, a few people told me to make a bee line for the dining car and get the view.
I got on the train, the conductor checked me in and I wobbled down the hallway, as the train was swaying back and forth. I got to the dining car just as a young woman was heading there, too. We opened the door and the maitre d said there were only a few openings left for the 5 pm reservations. He told us to wait outside until it opened. So this young woman asked me, how much did I think it would cost to eat in there. I said, probably $17.
So we go in, thinking that we would each dine alone. But no. The waiter said that not only would we be sitting at a table together, we also had to sit with two other people, as well, as the reservations were tight. So we sat with a retired couple from Juneau, Alaska. You know I can talk to anyone, and traveling retired folks are my favorite since I see them every day in Kona.
But I could tell our new young friend felt uncomfortable with this “forced seating” arrangement. So, I told them about my time at Travassa Resort in Maui, who has no TV’s or wifi, but a darn good fire pit. It “forces” people to meet and talk to strangers, in a relaxing environment. She got my gist and settled in to stories of life in Hawaii and Alaska and I shared my thoughts on not waiting to live your life until you retire as you may not get there. Then the waiter asked the young woman for something to drink after we all ordered wine. She did the “unthinkable” and she asked how much the glass cost. This young woman was probably hapa African American. Sitting with older white people. To say he was condescending was an understatement.
When he basically shamed her, I said I would buy her a glass of wine. He asked for her ID and made her feel “less than”. And when he returned, he handed her a plastic glass and gave me the little bottle and not her. So, I poured her a glass and the other couple joined in to cheers us all on a fine journey on a fun trip. The couple ordered a plate to split and was harangued by the server about splitting plates and held their ground until he agreed to it. We all pretty much knew that we all were not living lives of luxury.
During dinner we found out our young friend traveled alone to Portland from Seattle once a week to visit the city and be near the water and get her energy fix. That sounded so much like my friends in Kona who are expert at dealing with children.
I asked if she liked teaching, as it just seemed like a fit. She said, “Yes! I want to teach special education “. The nice retired couple shared that she was a special ed teacher for 30 years and he was a teacher in the masters programs and they chatted about scholarships in Alaska for teachers. And I told her about Teach for America. She was shocked that you could get scholarships for teaching in places she would love to visit, and I shared that 23 year olds were teaching special ed in Kona. The mean old waiter showed up and the nice couple asked that my young friends tab be placed on theirs.
Then I ordered flourless chocolate cake for everyone. Our young friend was relatively shocked by all of this, having only eaten from the snack car on prior trips to Portland where she did’nt know she was being drawn to feed her soul for adventure and being near the water. Then we gave her our contact numbers if she found herself in Kona or Alaska needing connections.
The couple left to finish their adventure of a scavenger hunt at McMinn hotels and I suggested to my new friend, McKayela:
1: Chase down those teaching scholarships
2: Hold her head high and she has every right to be in a fine dining car as anyone else, even if she orders water.
3. Know she has balls to sit with strangers and this will serve her well in life
4: The kindness of retired people wanting to help a young person reach a goal is boundless
5. This dinner was a gift to her to provide valuable information.—go Google “Teach for America” and University of Alaskas scholarship programs.
She left with my card, an unexpected dinner, a smile and three people who felt good lending advice..and a server who was mostly perplexed and will be getting a review on Yelp.