Since our boy was a wee little offspring in preschool, the trips home on Fridays have included a short stop for a drink & a snack at some local stab & grab on the way home. When we first started, it was called Yoo-Hoo day, because we would grab Yoo-Hoo’s at the Wilco up the street. These days, we stop at Mohammed’s for an Icee and some donuts.
Now, before you go yelling at me and thinking I’m some kind of bigot; the guy behind the counter is actually named Mohammed, so that’s why we call the place what we do.
The thing you’ve got to know about stopping at Mohammed’s is that they’re not really friendly to begin with. Honestly, I can’t really blame them. They have to deal with all sorts of crazy crap working the counter at the biggest gas station on the busiest road running out of town, so I can see why they’d have a default expression of “Hey, don’t screw around in here.”
But, we’re regulars, so to speak.
After our third Friday in a row, they started to soften a little bit. It began with a smile and then slow respect as I no longer needed to be prompted into the operating secrets of the debit card machine. (“Green button first”). They’ve always greeted the offspring with a smile and some small dispensation of wisdom to him that only older immigrant males seem to possess.
As we go through the store, I gently steer him away from the magazines and remind him to be respectful of the guys and look them in the eye when he speaks to them — not to stand his own ground, but to show them that he is honest and respects them as more than nameless people behind a counter. Gradually the smiles have turned to bigger smiles and a friendly tussle of the hair.
They’re just the old guys at the store to him now; no fear, no racial BS — just our regular weekly routine and that’s cool. That’s the way it should be at our own little microcosm of the world at the Buy & Go on College Rd. If only life would always be this easy.