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Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Would You Do?

Have you heard of the ABCNews program What Would You Do? They set up public scenes with actors in different scenarios and see what unknowing bystanders would do in certain situations.

For example they've had 2 airline pilots drinking at the airport and talking about their upcoming flight - does anyone report that they've been drinking?

A woman at a bar is very intoxicated and a man is trying to lure her to his hotel room - does anyone step in and stop him from taking advantage of her?

Last night one of the scenarios involved an actor with Down syndrome playing the role of a bagger. Other actors, from a woman, to teenagers, to an intimidating-looking man, berate and harass the bagger by calling him names ('are you r*tarded?') saying how slow he is, he shouldn't be working there etc etc. Verbal abuse at its finest.

The cameras captured other customers in line and whether they came to his defense or not.

I'm sure scenarios like that do happen, but maybe I'm naive to think people aren't actually that rude, loud, obnoxious, disrespectful in a public setting like that. I can't imagine being in line at the grocery store and hear another adult verbally assault a bagger like these actors were doing. Not saying things like that don't happen; I just imagine it would be much more subtle and not so in your face as these actors were being.

It was interesting to see the reactions of the customers who, of course, didn't know these were actors. A few of them didn't say anything because they didn't want a confrontation ... but for the ones who did step in, they were awesome.

Some of my favorite quotes from these customers:

The lady who said "If that was my child I'd deck you!"

When the actor was complaining that people like that bagger shouldn't be hired another lady said, "He's got rights too."

Yet another lady to a teen "Are you kidding me? Cause if you're not I'm getting ready to punch you out."

The special ed teacher to the intimidating male actor "You are disgusting. How would you feel if that was your son. He's a person just like you and me. He's a person with feelings." The actor replied, "Yeah well they have places for r*tarded people" and she really let him have it, "They should have places for people like you that are rude and insensitive and cruel. Everyone deserves an education. Everyone deserves a job and every body deserves a chance in this life. And you should be ashamed of yourself." I wanted to clap after her fiery speech!

There was the guy who heard the verbal abuse while in the aisle, not even in line, and came all the way up to the cash register to tell the teen to get out of the store. Turns out he has a sister with Down syndrome. You could see the passion in his demeanor when confronted with the situation and later talking about his sister - he almost had me in tears. I imagine Lucas being like that.

One thing interesting to note was time and time again the females were the ones to speak up and come to the bagger's defense. Time and time again the males looked away, kept their head down, didn't say a word. I wonder what that means.

The only other male they showed who even said something was on his way out when he told the abuser, "You need to chill out bro."

Watching scenarios like this make you think about yourself and what you would do in different situations. My personality is more like the lady at the beginning who said she didn't want to get involved in a confrontation. I admit to that being like myself - I don't like to cause a scene or be in the middle of a public confrontation.

However, after having Kayla, if I ever find myself in a situation like that I'd like to think I will find my voice and give a forceful, passionate speech like the special ed teacher did.

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Bailey's Leaf said...

I would be the one to say something. I wouldn't hesistate. Sometimes it just has to be that way. When speaking up, you don't have to be rude. You just have to remind people (politely, but firmly) that the world includes more people than just them.

I admit that I didn't see this piece, but I've seen a bit here and there of that program.

Thanks for writing about it!

Christina said...

I just watched this piece on another blog - it was very interesting! I was cringing every time they said the "r" word. I loved that last teacher who spoke up!

Becca said...

The caring and compassion displayed by the folks who stood up in the bagger's defense had me completely blubbering. They were truly amazing. And I was wondering how I, myself, would react.

heather said...

I was in tears watching it and I don't think the tears were from the mean words but from listening to the few that had the courage to stand up for what was right. Oh, I know how I would respond in that situation. There is no way I wouldn't have said something even if it wasn't my check out line. Andy is the bagger at my grocery store and I wouldn't ever let anyone talk to him like that!

The VW's said...

I watched this and I was crying my eyes out! It saddened me to see so many say nothing, but what really touched me were the ones who did stand up for him!

I am positive that I would have said something.....I probably wouldn't have been very nice about it either, only because my emotions would be fired up!

I'm just glad that there are still people in this world who care enough to stick up for others in a bad situation! I also noticed that it was mostly women as well.....hmmm?

Sandra said...

I actually watched it last night and was so disgusted and so angry with the insults and even though it was staged, it just still bothered me.

I would have been one of those woman threatening to deck them.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I have said things before. I've never been in a situation where it was so verbally abusive as that, but when there are emergencies or when I feel someone is in danger, I always step up. And I would consider the boy being verbally abused by someone like that to be dangerous.

Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

good recap of the show - i saw it too and mentioned it on our blog. i like what you had to say at the end of your post, that even though you do not want to have a confrontation, you hope you would be like the special ed teacher's reaction - i hope i would be like that too, but i am like you, i do not like confrontation... however; with having whitney i think in situations like this i would DEFINITELY speak up!