Racist Man Insults Black Man at Gas Station, Learns His Lesson an Hour Later – Fiction Story
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance in this fiction story to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
A man arguing over a place in line at a gas station uses a racial slur and ends up regretting it when the man he insulted proves he is a better person.
Jeff Seffrin was an impatient man, and nothing irritated him more than waiting. Yet here he was, at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, waiting in line to get some gas when he should be on his way to his daughter's birthday party.
His whole day had been spent running to and fro, from one meeting to the next, juggling problems that ran the whole range from personnel relations to production mess-ups in their factories in China.
Jeff gripped the steering wheel and swore under his breath. The next place at the pump was for the man in the big red pickup with smoked windows next to him, but he seemed to be distracted...
Jeff eased his car forward a fraction, and as soon as the car in front of him pulled away from the pump, he edged in in front of the red pickup. There! That would teach him to be fiddling with his radio while he waited!
The driver of the red pickup honked his horn, but Jeff stuck his hand out of his window and made a rude gesture with his hand. The door of the red pickup opened and a tall black man in a business suit stepped out.
He walked over to Jeff and leaned into his window. "Excuse me, but you just cut me off! I was next in line, and I've been waiting here a lot longer than you!"
Jeff looked at the man disdainfully. "Well, boy, I reckon you'll just have to wait some more!"
Despite Jeff's provocation and insults, the man acted according to his principles.
The gas station attendant approached Jeff's car but the man waved him back. "No, Sir, I won't because you are going to back up your car and let me through!"
Jeff spat out of the window, and the man jumped back, "That will be the day when my pa's son steps back for some uppity black man in a fancy suit! You go back to picking cotton with your ma and pa, boy, and learn to respect your betters!"
The African American man was visibly struggling to control himself. "You think you're my better because you're white?" he asked angrily.
The gas station attendant placed a hand on his arm. "Sir, he's not worth the aggravation, Let me just serve this man and send him on his way. Please, just ignore him.
The black man nodded, "Yes. Yes, you are right, This man isn't worth it." and he walked back to his pickup and got in.
Jeff was overjoyed. He had stood his ground, had his say, and forced that arrogant black to back down. His dad would have been proud of him! He watched gleefully as the black man parked his car and walked into the diner next to the gas station.
The man was too scared to even stay in line! Jeff paid for his gas and drove off, but his glee was short-lived. Fifty miles down the road his car started spewing a dense cloud of smoke from under the hood, and Jeff discovered he had no battery left on his phone.
He got out, set out his warning triangle, and tried to flag down one of the cars passing by, but the drivers just speeded up and drove on when they saw him. It was already dark when Jeff saw a car slowing down and stopping behind him.
Relieved, Jeff walked over to the car, but when he got closer he saw that it was a big red pickup, and the driver was the same black man he'd tangled with at the gas station.
The man come closer and said: "Are you alright? Anything I can do to help?"
Jeff said diffidently: "I think my engine overheated, or the cylinder head gasket burnt...I think it's done, but my phone is out..."
The man smiled. "No problem." He reached into his pocket and handed Jeff his phone. "Want to pop the hood? Let's see what's going on."
Jeff opened the hood, and the man peeked inside. "Man, you need a tow truck!"
Jeff sighed. "Yeh...I'm calling one now..." he spoke to the service and then asked. "Listen, do you mind if I call my family? I'm already late for my daughter's birthday..."
The man grinned. "Go ahead, man. My wife would fry me over a slow fire if I didn't call in!"
Jeff was feeling worse and worse by the minute. The man he's reviled and insulted was helping him, a help he knew he didn't deserve. He felt a hot wash of shame tint his face. "Listen...Thank you...I was here nearly an hour, and you were the only person who stopped to help..."
The other man shook his head. "Don't thank me. The people you should thank are my mother and father. They brought me up right, taught me to treat everyone with dignity and respect."
Jeff felt even worse when the man added with a smile. "You were quite right, they were poor, and did pick cotton, but they made sure I knew that a good man never walks away from anyone who needed help."
The man stayed with Jeff until the tow truck arrived, and then insisted on driving home so he would be there in time to kiss his daughter good night on his birthday. It was a lesson Jeff never forgot.
What can we learn from this story?
1. All men are created equal. That is the constitution's founding precept, and no one should think that their color or their wealth gives them the right to feel superior to anyone else.
3. Be true to your values. Despite Jeff's provocation and insults, the man acted according to his principles and proved that he was the better man,
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