On my way into the grocery store earlier tonight, and as I’m walking in smoking my ridicously expensive cigarette, out of the corner of my eye, I catch this Hispanic man talking on his cell phone in Spanish. I work in a call center with lots of Hispanic customers near the Mexico-Texas border, so at this point, I’m used to Spanish, and I don’t think twice about it.

I grab a shopping cart and start pushing my way around. As I look at my list on a Wendy’s napkin written in purple highlighter — living the true college experience — I found myself debating whether or not to buy Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea. Not convinced I’ve made the right decision after I’ve wandered for about five minutes, staring at my notated napkin, I fought myself over types of pasta. Grocery shopping by yourself really should be illegal because you look like you’re crazy as you argue with yourself over what type of insert-random-food-here that you’re going to buy. When you’re talking out loud about it, people tend to stay away from your aisle, in case you go postal and pull out an AK47.

At the end of the aisle is the Hispanic man I saw earlier talking on his cell phone outside. His head is down on the grocery store Zamboni looking as if he was going to cry. As I weighed the two types of pasta in my hand, I weighed the ethical dilemma in my head. When confronted with that situation, is it better to confront it head-on? Or is it better to walk away?

As I walked through the grocery store, I could not help but thinking to myself that I affirm the values and the importance of each person in society. On the other hand, I didn’t know the man. I had never seen him before in my life, and I probably wouldn’t ever see him again (minus the four more times I saw him in the grocery store). When we say we affirm the hand of friendship to all individuals in society, does that mean to just the ones we know, and if we don’t double-check someone isn’t crying, are we hypocrites or realists?

Are the potential tears of that one unnamed person more important than our public embarassment — especially if you’re not sure if they speak English? People call in to our call center who we have to translate for, and I didn’t have a Spanish-speaking person at hand. I guess I could have called Michael, but what a weird phone call. “Michael, honey, translate for me; I’m not sure if this random person is okay.”

Thinking about it as I paced through the walls of Cheerios on one side and peanut butter on the other, I eventually decided that he was just tired. It was after ten o’clock, and he was working. I justified my lack of connection with $60 of groceries, still uncertain of whether I made the right decision.

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