Thursday, October 30, 2008 | By: Tonya Keitt Kalule

My Daily Trip to Wendy's

Like clock work, I stop to the Wendy's on Ventura near Fallbrook in San Fernando Valley almost every morning while I am driving my bus route on the way to the Thousand Oaks area. No it is not the food that I stop for it is the facilities. I am have been doing this since about June of this year. With my job we change our routes every six months and the first thing a driver does is find out where on the route there are clean and easily accessible restrooms. Wendy's has been one of those places for me. In this Wendy's there are 2-4 retired people always sitting at the same table and like me they are there every morning. After about the second week of my coming in, they would say good morning and make idle chat as I rush in and rush out. One particular morning they saw me pull the bus up in front and proceed to the door of Wendy's and one of the gentleman had squatted down on the inside while holding the inside handle of the door so that I was not able to just snatch it open. Once I saw him there through the class of the door I just started to laugh and then he let me in. The other guy was standing in front of the ladies restroom door with his arms stretched open so that I couldn't pass. Again I just laughed and they got a big kick out of teasing me this way. It was just so funny until I couldn't say a word. It was just all in good fun.
Every since that day they tease me as I run in and out of the Wendy's and I also tease them about having nothing better to do than get up in the morning to harass the bus driver. They are really very nice people. They tell me that they look forward to seeing me in the mornings as I look forward to seeing them, and when I don't come in they miss my doing so. In the brief seconds of my going in and out we are able to exchange information about our kids, home towns, vacations, etc, this exchange has been quite interesting and uplifting.

This morning one of the gentleman who is always leaving about the time I stop in front of the store, was at the counter purchasing something to take out with him and he walked out with me as I was rushing out and told me about one of the other gentlemen that is sometimes there in the mornings; that he was a little rattled by our brief chat the day before. He is also retired with longer grey hair that he pulls back in a ponytail. He is actually the quieter of the four and I will call him the fourth one because he is not always there in the morning. The day before I was teasing, the fourth one, about being really quiet and that maybe he needed another cup of coffee or need to get his coffee else where, because the Wendy's coffee is just not working. He sort of smiled and kept his eyes on his coffee.
So this morning when I was leaving, the gentleman that walked out with me started to tell me that I almost got into it with the guy with the pony tail, yesterday. He told me that he never talks to him because he doesn't like him, and then he told me that this guy really hates me because I am black. Well I was really surprised to hear that, but of course not shocked. I told my friend that this guy obviously has a problem, and it is just that, his problem. We laughed and I told him that whenever I see the fourth one, I am going to make sure to speak to him specifically, but being careful with my teasing, and just be over the top with personality and attention, and let that anger eat him up or it may just ease him up.
There was a time that this sort of thing would have angered me, but not anymore because I am blessed with what God has given me and those who harbor hatred usually are not even aware of why they are angry. They have been taught to do so, and losing that anger would mean losing a part of themselves. I find it a very sad situation. I know how hard it is to harbor resentment toward someone that has actually done something wrong to me. Having to remember my anger whenever their name is mentioned and or when I am faced with them. That is just way too much energy for me, so I can only imagine what it takes to hate an entire race of people. They must be exhausted.

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