A Muslim Woman’s Kindness

I saw an incredible gesture of kindness, reconciliation and forgiveness at my neighborhood McDonald’s recently which I like to share with your readers. A man standing in line in front of a Muslim woman in a headscarf suddenly turns to her and starts yelling that “her kind” are not welcome in this country. He went on a mini-tirade against how his values conflicted with the values of her faith and that she should “go back to where she came from”. The poor woman in front of us was taken aback by the unprecedented verbal assault, but seemed to remain calm and tried to respond patiently. He ignored her and did not want to have anything to do with it, so he turned around to the cashier and began to place his order. And here’s where it gets really interesting: he went to pay for his rather large breakfast meal order when his card was declined, even after several attempts. Talk about karma! He protested to the cashier that his family was waiting for him in the truck outside and that they needed to get on the road and were hungry. He didn’t have any cash on him and was trying to convince the poor beleaguered employee to give him his order for free. When that was refused, he began to storm out of the restaurant, ashen-faced and embarrassed – glancing ferociously at the Muslim woman behind him as he brushed past her. And here’s where my faith in humanity was reassuringly restored: the Muslim woman immediately pulls out her card, pays for his order and tells the man: “Hey, I’ve got your order. Don’t leave yet”! The man turned around in shock just as he was about to exit the restaurant and stood at the door sheepishly, not knowing what to do or what to say. Not only that, but the cashier was so genuinely surprised by this woman’s sudden and spontaneous gesture that he gave her his employee discount on the order and winked at her that he appreciated what she had just done. When the order was ready, the Muslim woman carried it over to the man who had verbally accosted her just moments ago, gave it to him and said: “I wouldn’t feel good about myself if my neighbor started his day hungry while I was full, so here you go. You don’t owe me anything – just pay it forward and may God go with you, my brother”. The man looked at her incredulously, mouth-wide open, turned around, walked over to his truck where his family was waiting for him, dropped off the food, muttered a few words to his wife and came back inside. He walked up to the Muslim woman, stood up straight and tall and – to the surprise of everyone watching this drama unfolding – he asked for her forgiveness, gave her a very audible “thank you” for all to hear and leaned forward to give her a big burly hug. He then turned around and quietly left. The entire restaurant exploded with clapping and cheers. What an incredible thing to behold!!
Zafar Sadique Choudhury,
Austin, Texas, USA

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